I first believed in god after my initial glimpse of Yoesemite Valley from the road to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park.
I was struck by the clarity with which I could see the power of glaciers that sheared off Half Dome, carved the valley to Mirror Lake and Tuolumne Meadows, and created water ways from the Sierras to locations like Vernal and Bridal Veil Falls. I know the geological mechanisms that continue to shape the topology of this National Park. I also felt the presence of something much larger than myself as I entered the park for a six-day car camping trip in 1999.
The last 24 hours in the Park I went backcountry camping through the the Wawona region, in the less traveled southern part of this national treasure. At the start of strenuous 8.2 mile hike, through endless switchbacks to the curvy Chilnualna Falls, I fell in love with the gorgeous ingenuity of the manzanita shrubs that covered the mountain side. At the end of the first day of hiking, tent pitched in a dry creek bed, I had the privilege of seeing the Northern lights, confused at first for white fuel-induced visions. The beauty of the earth and the sky, along with my own triumph at having accomplished the hike, only reinforced my sense of a power greater than that of any single species.
The blog post was written in response to call for stories about the National Parks. Share your story with the National Parks Conservation Association.
Photo credits to The Cachegetter.