Tag Archives: America’s Best Idea

Recap of Yosemite 2010, Days 1 and 2

As you read this, Jason and I will be en route to California and my beloved Yosemite National Park! Despite the bumps in the road, we are so excited about this trip. Not only will we be returning to Yosemite, this time to explore some new areas, but we will also be visiting two more national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Let the next installment of my national parks adventure begin!

During last June’s trip, I traveled with our netbook and blogged right from Curry Village in Yosemite Valley. This time around, there will be no computer (heck, we’ll be electricity-less for the first half of the trip). Last year, I spent about a half-hour/hour blogging after breakfast each morning, most of that time spent complaining about slow or inaccessible wireless. Basically, each morning I removed myself from the environment I wanted to enjoy to immerse myself in the world back home. This year, I’m cutting myself off…from full-blown computers anyway  😉

So this year, I’ve planned a few recap posts of our Yosemite 2010 trip while we’re out making new memories. I hope you enjoy!


Day 1 – June 5, 2010

Our first In-N-Out Burger experience. It’s no Culver’s, but it was still pretty darn tasty. (And it’s on the itinerary for today’s travels, too!)
First In-N-Out Burger Experience

The drive to the park was beautiful!
We're Getting Closer...

Beautiful, but intense!
Curvy Road? That's an Understatement!

There's More Road...You Just Can't See It

Finally, we arrived at our destination.
We've Arrived!

I teared up at our first view of the Valley. It was an indescribable moment.
First View!

We've Arrived!

Upon entering the Valley, our first stop was Bridalveil Fall.
Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Tunnel View
Tunnel View

We stayed in one of Curry Village’s tent cabins. They were actually quite comfortable, and I’d definitely recommend staying there.
Home for the Week

When Day 1 ends with this, you know it’s going to be a good trip.
First Evening View of Half Dome


Day 2 – June 6, 2010 (Our second anniversary)

We saw A LOT of deer over the next few days.

Up first: The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Grizzly Giant is one of the most famous trees in the grove.
Ahead: The Grizzly Giant

The roots of the Fallen Monarch.
Fallen Monarch

My 6’6″ husband didn’t look so tall around here.
Tiny Jason

Next on the itinerary: A drive up to Glacier Point.
Hello Half Dome!

The views were incredible!
On Top of the World

Nevada & Vernal Falls

Yosemite Falls

Half Dome

Since we were celebrating out second anniversary, we went out for a nice dinner at the Mountain Room Restaurant in the Yosemite Lodge. I enjoyed the Chicken Piccata (so good!), while Jason had one of their steaks.

Dinner was followed by a showing of “This Is America,” a mini-documentary from Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea PBS film. It was presented by Shelton Johnson who was part of the PBS series. I was actually a little star-struck meeting him, and only have a blurry photo to show for it  🙁

This Is America

It really didn’t take us long to fall in love with Yosemite…


Latest Read: Gloryland

My Read for the Trip

Jason and I are in love with the PBS documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. While we both have wanted to visit many of our country’s national parks, watching this series simply made the desire stronger.

One of the NPS employees featured throughout the series is Shelton Johnson, who became a personal favorite of mine. I was thrilled when I learned that he is a ranger in Yosemite AND when I saw that he would be presenting a program while we vacationed there this summer.

We attended his presentation of This Is America, a short film that focuses on the stories of diverse individuals who influenced the national parks idea. It was beyond incredible to be sitting in a theater in the middle of Yosemite Valley, listening to the thunder of Yosemite Falls, watching this film derived from our beloved PBS series, all in the presence of Shelton Johnson. Amazing!

Photo of me with Shelton Johnson. Sad that it’s blurry, but it is what it is – this was pre-photo workshop 🙂 .
This Is America

There was no doubt that I had to buy his book, Gloryland.

Gloryland is the fictional story of Elijah Yancy, a young African American man who leaves his hometown in South Carolina and heads West towards real freedom. He joins the U.S. Calvary and is eventually assigned to Yosemite National Park. It is there where he finds true peace and freedom.

Shelton Johnson’s career in Yosemite has focused on telling the story of the Buffalo Soldiers who patrolled Yosemite in the early 1900’s, and this book is one more outlet for his work. He created the fictional Elijah Yancy for Gloryland, much like he created the fictional Sergeant Elizy Boman for his ranger program in Yosemite.

Apparently, Shelton’s ranger program is amazing…but he wasn’t presenting it this past summer. When one of the people in attendance at This Is America asked why, Shelton’s response stuck with me. As he put it, being in the frame of mind of an African American man at the turn of the last century, after the Civil War but well before the Civil Rights Movement, every single day, really starts to mess with a person after a while. He needed a break from his personal portrayal, but the story still goes on through Gloryland.

Shelton writes with such eloquence. I found myself riveted by the story of Elijah Yancy, just as I had been riveted by Shelton’s stories on America’s Best Idea and in person in Yosemite.

Reading Gloryland while camping in Door County. See – Riveted.
Serious Reader

To get a sense of Shelton’s telling of the Buffalo Soldiers’ story, be sure to view The Untold Stories Project: Yosemite’s Buffalo Soldiers video online.

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