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Yosemite National Park’s Secret Visitor (Audio PostCard)

Please visit the dramatic Yosemite National Park through the magic of this Audio PostCard. Please click on the audio player above

“It’s another thirty-five miles t’ the valley floor,” the Yosemite National Park gate keeper drawled.
Free of Fresno, the drive up to this point took us past hazy, crushed-velvet hills and mesas still tinted with California’s late autumnal colors.

Thick-coated black cattle wandered among time-sculpted tree trunks and careless billboards.

These were the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, the precursor to the wonders of Yosemite Park in winter’s off-season.
The narrowing road gave way to rock-studded gulches and deepening canyons (4000ft).
Late afternoon light lengthened the shadows of towering Ponderosa pines, and painted the mountains a salmon pink.

The switchback drive was dizzying in its challenge… and its beauty.

“Thirty-five more miles!”
“Yup. It’ll take ya a good hour, but y’ll get there by dark…barely.”

The ranger’s time sculpted face was strikingly similar to those of the surrounding trees.

But she knew her stuff.

Yosemite itself is the iconic image of a national park made famous by Ansel Adams and his obsession to capture in dramatic photographs the magical play of light falling on cedars and shadows.

And winter’s off-season is a terrific time to visit.

Frost-glazed grasses catch the sunlight and fragment it into a thousand mirror images of the stone cathedrals that form the vaulting mountains and cliffs, pink-hued in the late afternoon sun.

Waterfalls cascade in arched silence from snow-encrusted mountain faces.
And there are no crowds or traffic.
Just silence and wonder.

The Ahwahneechee Indians were the first to give voice to the majesty of Yosemite.
They understood its power and majesty, and saw the faces of maidens and the long-lost souls of ancestors in the waterfalls, mountains and sculptured valleys of frost and light.

They’re gone of course, but the ground is still hallowed.

On the day we left, the sun was up, but the ghost of a moon clung stubbornly to the flawless blue sky.
Out of the stillness of the valley floor, suddenly rose a chorus of coyotes’ cries, their sounds echoing off the canyon walls rising and falling in complex layers, filling the space with a deep, uncertain feeling.

Powerful Ponderosa Pines reached toward the blue dome of the heavens, and it was clear that Yosemite had lost none of its appeal to the great spirit.


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