Yosemite National Park

"When I entered the sublime wilderness the day was nearly done, the trees with rosy glowing countenances seemed to be hushed and thoughtful, as if waiting in conscious religious dependence on the sun, and one naturally walked softly and awe stricken among them. I wandered on, meeting nobler trees where all are noble, subdued in the general calm, as if in some vast hall pervaded by the deepest sanctities and solemnities that sway human souls."
John Muir

After the intensity of Orlando, Boston and Loveland, we two wandering sadhus were hosted for a day at America's First National Park, Yosemite, decreed as such in 1864 by Abraham Lincoln. The geology was a combination of the uplifting of the Sierras some ten million years ago, followed one million years back by glaciers (up to 4,000 feet thick) which carved the valleys as they moved.

It's an amazingly beautiful area, startlingly so. We camped with simple tents and were kept warm by a small campfire that Sadasivanathaswami tended, with all gathered around to keep the cold at bay.

How cold? We were at 9,000 feet elevation and it snowed on this last day of the 2014 camping season. The ten-year-old twins had seen snow but never been in a snow storm, and Mayuresh had not seen or touched snow before. He made his first snowball, as you can see below.

Dasan Mahadevan was our hero and Noble Leader, bringing important survival gear and guiding us along all the best trails, including along the mountain river.

Chandran and Sahanadevi Param drew on their many camping years, and created foods more like a gourmet restaurant than a forest dwelling. Their boys, Bhajana and Jeyendra, provided stability and the spirit of helping others, while young Bodhi and Bela, just turned ten, gave the joy and wonder to the adventure.

Ravi Visswanathan and son Mayuresh were on their first camping outing ever, and so every part of the experience was new. Ravi, especially, proved a strong right hand for any task that needed to be done.

Note to self: Take more than tropical sandals when camping above 8,000 feet in the fall, and maybe even think of packing gloves and a jacket.

Thank you, everyone, for a quiet moment in the midst of our busy mission on the Very Big Island. Off next to San Francisco.

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