Yosemite1Yosemite National Park has a way of making first time visitors feel like old friends. The beautiful landscape that is Yosemite has been changing the hearts and eyes of its visitors for thousands of years. Some would describe the place as The Incomparable Valley.

I recently visited the Wonder Valley a couple weeks ago with my boyfriend for my birthday celebration. I had not been since I was a little girl, so it was a pleasure seeing it through older eyes of mine.

We tooled around the valley and went wherever our adventurous hearts desired. We took a small hike up to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, walked around meadows, and visited the chapel in the heart of the valley.

Jack Moriarty, student at Clovis Community College, accompanied me on this trip, in fact, it was his idea to go. He shares a bit of why he chose to visit a land so dear to his heart:

“Yosemite is a home for the homeless and a cathedral for the lost. It’s my home,” Moriarty said. “It doesn’t change, but your memories do. So many things in life are moving and changing, but Yosemite is constant. It’s a part of my heart, and so is Kathryn, so why not put those two together and create something wonderful?”

A little side note: there was a journal on a side table where you first walk into the church and it looked like people had been writing in it, so Moriarty and I started reading a few of the things people were writing, and many people from all over the world that had been married in that church, or just visited over the years, and they kept leave messages like, “Ring the bell!” or “We rang the bell! God is good!” So we decided to ring the church bell together and then documented our journey in the little journal on the side table. It was the coolest, most exhilarating thing I had ever been apart of. If you ever get the chance to ring the bell, do it.

The Ahwahneechee, one of the seven tribes that are well known today that descend from the original tribes from before the 1800s, lived there for generations; which shortly thereafter followed by European travelers (by horseback or stagecoach) in the mid to late 1800s. In 1907, the railroad from Merced to El Portal made the journey a little more doable for newcomers and visitors, thus increasing population. Each and every day we can uncover new stories told from our ancestors who walked the very steps we know so familiarly.

Yosemite is a home for the homeless and a cathedral for the lost. It’s my home. It doesn’t change, but your memories do. So many things in life are moving and changing, but Yosemite is constant. It’s a part of my heart. —┬áJack Moriarty, student at Clovis Community College

Within the history of Yosemite, different variations of communities had thrived in the little big valley and dispersed over many nations, leaving their mark. From early lodging establishments, such as the Wawona Hotel, which gave visitors an archaic setting for when they traveled, to historic miners and their mining sites during the gold rush. Yosemite preserves adventure, history of the region, its peoples and culture.

There are details of the Mariposa Battalion entering the Valley of Yosemite in 1851 in recent history books. The result of Euro-Americans coming to the valley meant the removal of the Ahwahneechee native tribe. Travelers in the early years came on foot, horseback, and train. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting California the Valley of Yosemite and Mariposa Grove. It was not until 1890 when Yosemite National Park was established.

A Yosemite museum flourishes and thrives with remnants of the past and evidence of the valley’s ancestors. More than 4 million items fill its quarters. A research library is maintained with more than 10,00 books relating to the Valley of Yosemite. In recent years, the National Parks Service (NPS) has collected an oral history project of interviews of people’s stories and experiences related to Yosemite.

The NPS is devoted to preserving the Yosemite Valley to honor it’s history and culture and to keep it at its original value throughout the years for visitors, newcomers, and old friends.

Research and Studies:
There is ongoing research about the history of the park. Researchers and land lovers come from all over the world to see what there is to see about the beautiful land that is Yosemite and uncover facts, new and old, for people like us to discover.

There are events coming up in the future, courtesy of the NPS:

Oct. 1, Yosemite will be celebrating 125 years of being a National Park.
Aug. 25, 2016, the NPS turns 100 years old.

Moriarty has visited the National Park of Yosemite four times in the past month, and looks forward to “return home” soon; as do I.

If you have not made it up to Yosemite recently, or at all, I would urge you to take that jump and go. Like all earthly things, it will not be there forever, and neither will we, so why not see all the beauty there is to see in this world while we are still able to?

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Kamschend.

For more opinions, read the March 24 article, College Corner: Fresno State Standards Changing.