Yosemite became a National Park in 1890, 200 million years after the granite rocks formed within the earth; 20,000 years after glaciers eroded the gritty granite; 4,000 years after Ahwahneechee Indians were caretakers of the meadows; 2,000 years after Grizzly Giant, one of the largest and oldest sequoias was a seedling; and 41 years after gold was discovered in California. The rugged geography of Yosemite Valley kept it secret and isolated for many years. Only in 1851, when early miners and settlers felt their livelihood threatened by Indians, and vice versa, did white man intrude upon the valley. To some, Yosemite is a place to check off their list, sights to be seen or mountaineering routes to scale; for others, Yosemite is a destination of solitude, peace, and escape. With the large number of people visiting the valley each year, how do you avoid the crowds at peak times and find the true beauty of Yosemite? Change. Change your timing and your focus. You can stay on the beaten paths, but travel them early or late in the day, or find the trails less traveled. While others are looking up, cameras clicking to capture the familiar falls and formations, change your focus to find what they are missing, the fragile ferns at your feet, the black and white crystals peppering the rocks, or the ripple in the stream. John Muir instructed "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."More
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