Yosemite preserves adventure, history

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. — Jack 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.

By |2015-03-24T00:00:00-07:00March 24th, 2015|Destinations, Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hotel Edison

GroupHotelDay2Ryan King

The Feather staff poses in their hotel lobby after the production King and I Tuesday at midnight, March 17.

The Feather staff poses in their hotel lobby after the production King and I Tuesday at midnight. After that the staff went to Applebees and then went back to the hotel to work on articles and presentations for the next day at Columbia University, March 17.

The staff is staying in the historic Hotel Edison on Times Square located in the heart of Manhattan.

For more photos, visit Econ fair today and Worship time.

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By |2015-03-18T00:00:00-07:00March 18th, 2015|Destinations, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mystery Spot lives up to hype, expectations

FullSizeRenderSara Peterson

The Mystery Spot is a destination that has both puzzled and amazed its visitors for 75 years. The attraction is centered around a gravitational anomaly in the forest near Santa Cruz, California with tours beginning in 1940.

The Mystery Spot is something that has both puzzled and amazed its visitors for 75 years. The attraction is centered around a gravitational anomaly in the forest near Santa Cruz, California.

Tours began in 1940 and have remained successful since, the Mystery Spot is a circular area of 150 feet that questions the laws of physics and gravity. A small cabin was built to enhance the effects the Spot has on it’s visitors.

The short hike to the cabin proves to be about three times harder than one would expect. This is occurs because the closer one gets to the center, the harder gravity will push them out. Once the uphill climb is over you look down and realize you can see your feet much farther in front of you than usual.

The tour guide then goes on to place a wooden board on the window sill of the house, clearly slanted down. He placed a pool ball in the center and to everyone’s amazement rolled up instead of down. Once inside the cabin there is a lead ball that is much easier to push one way than the other and handles to hang from that display a slanted hang rather than straight up and down.

Once entering the cabin all sense of balance and depth perception were challenged. Merely walking from one room to the other proved to be quite the struggle especially considering the ease our tour guide displayed. There were multiple interactive displays built into the cabin to demonstrate the effects of gravity in the mystery spot on human bodies.

After touring the cabin, a final demonstration was performed. Volunteers stood on a log from shortest to tallest and then vice versa, and the effects were buzz worthy. Once the shortest and the tallest person switched positions the shorter person then appeared taller than the tallest man. Each patron received a free Mystery Spot bumper sticker.

From the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk it was a quick 13 minute drive. Admission is $6 per person, and $5 for vehicle parking. I was very happy with the pricing and experience I received. The tour guides were very experienced and capable of captivating an audience for the entirety of the tour.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @namoodnhoj.

For more reviews, read the Jan. 9 article, Featured app: Octagon.

By |2015-01-27T00:00:00-08:00January 27th, 2015|Destinations, Uncategorized|0 Comments

England vacation brings about an epiphany of gratitude

image3Courtesy Nick Fontes

Senior Nick Fontes traveled to England over Christmas break to take in a English football game and many of the top sites.

Over Christmas break I had the awesome opportunity to travel to England with my family to spend Christmas and New Years with my relatives whom are fortunate enough to call that magnificent country their home. My aunt and uncle moved to England this past spring and wanted to spend the holidays with their relatives that they have not been able to see in a while; my family happily obliged to go.

My journey began when my father and I traveled to London on the 22nd of Dec., eager to meet up with my mother and two sisters who had all arrived the week earlier. I was extremely excited to visit England and observe the sights and culture that the country offers up readily to wanting travelers.

Upon arrival, my first couple of days were spent mostly at my aunt and uncle’s house, reconnecting with family and celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas, respectively. Even while simply staying at home the first couple of days, I was able to absorb small parts of the British culture, the most notable being driving on the opposite side of the road, eating a grilled goose for Christmas dinner (as is the custom in Britain) and listening to the accented talk of the locals I met.

After those days of resting, reconnecting and feasting were done, I went on my first cultural foray into the city of London, which came in the form of going to a professional soccer game. I was quite thrilled about this as I am an avid soccer fan and was pumped to see some of the greatest players in the world masterfully play my favorite sport.

The game was Chelsea vs. West Ham, two clubs that were part of the Barclays Premiere League (the top football league in England and possibly the world) and two teams that were rivals and hated each other. The atmosphere was incredible beyond my imagination.

I have heard rumors that soccer fans are the craziest sports fans in the world, and these rumors were more than confirmed during my experience at Chelsea’s stadium. Throughout the game the sea of blue Chelsea supporters and the small section of West Ham supporters duked it out in a chanting insult match that was almost as entertaining to listen to as the actual game was to watch.

Throughout my experience I was also able to try many of the foods that England is famous for such as bangers and mash, meat pies, fish and chips, crisps, goose, and a popular stadium food, bacon buns. The pinnacle of my culinary experience, however, was when our whole family dressed up and went to a very fancy, very British, afternoon tea. While the food was very satisfying, I felt that a lot of it was pretty bland, as the British tend to not add salt on their food. — Senior Nick Fontes

Expletive laced chants, jeers, and songs about every Chelsea player and coach were exulted from the small but boisterous crowd of West Ham supporters, followed by more toned down, but still resounding cheers from the winning Chelsea side. This was truly an awesome event and one that was made just as memorable by the hooligans in the stands as the superstars on the pitch.

The very next day, I had the opportunity to go to another extremely anticipated sporting event, the likes of which I have never been to before: a rugby match. Though I understand very little the intricacies of the sport, I was excited nonetheless to witness the brutal game that was one of England’s most popular pastimes.

The atmosphere here was a lot more friendly and jovial than that of the soccer match the day before. The stadium in which the match was held was sold out and 82,000 fans attended, which is more than the average NFL game here in the U.S.

While I did not really understand what was going on at all times, this did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying myself. At the rugby game, I felt like I was truly experiencing something unique to British culture, an event I would not find anywhere else in the world.

The next couple of days, my family made several forays into London itself to see the landmarks and sights that made the city so unique. We were able to see or tour the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and my personal favorite, The Winston Churchill War Rooms. While seeing all of the landmarks that London is known for was incredible, I specifically enjoyed this less known attraction because I am a history buff and through this I was able to learn about one of WWII’s greatest heroes.

Throughout my experience I was also able to try many of the foods that England is famous for such as bangers and mash, meat pies, fish and chips, crisps, goose, and a popular stadium food, bacon buns. The pinnacle of my culinary experience, however, was when our whole family dressed up and went to a very fancy, very British, afternoon tea. While the food was very satisfying, I felt that a lot of it was pretty bland, as the British tend to not add salt on their food.

The final thing of renown that I did in the U.K. was tour the Warner Brothers Studio where they filmed all 8 Harry Potter movies. I have been a fan of this film franchise since I read the first book when I was 12 years old, so this experience was very eye-opening and, pardon the irony, magical.

At the studios I witnessed all of the behind the scenes action that explained how they brought the fantastical world of Harry Potter to life. I was able to walk through the actual sets and look at the actual props and costumes used in the films. Seeing how enormous of an undertaking this was by the filmmakers gave me a new and deeper appreciation for the film that I had already loved.

For me the coolest part of this was being able to witness the prolific use of green screen and after effects that I was naive to beforehand. Seeing how detailed and arduous the process of creating 8 movies basically a computer blew my mind. Advanced rigs, mechanics, and movie magic, created the monsters, flying, and landscape so iconic to the films.

After this my time in England came to an end. Sadly we bid farewell to my aunt and uncle and proceeded to the airport for our way home. Or so we thought.

Our travel home was completely thrown off track when on our flight from London to Dallas, a fellow passenger suffered an appendix burst. We were diverted to the nearest airport so that the man and his family could get off and get medical attention. The main buzzkill was that this airport that we diverted to was actually a naval base in Iceland that we were forced to stay at for four hours.

Once we were finally off the ground we could not fly all the way to Dallas so the airline decided that we would land at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City, and then after getting a new crew, we would continue to Dallas. This massive delay would cause us to miss our connecting flight in Dallas and ended up adding another 16 hours of travel. Luckily we arrived home safe and sound and miraculously, with our bags not lost in the kerfuffle.

I loved going to England and I believe that the trip not only allowed me to experience new things, but also opened up my horizons and changed my perspective on living in America and, more specifically, Fresno. The more countries I go to, the more I realize how special we are in America to have all of the blessings that we do.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @NickFontes1.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 12 article, COLUMN: Causes, consequences of terrorist attack.

By |2015-01-12T00:00:00-08:00January 12th, 2015|Destinations, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Be an Olympian in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

trevorCourtesy Trevor Beal

Senior Trevor Beal traveled to Steamboat Springs, CO, to ski the Olympic-style runs over break.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the land of legalized marijuana and winter Olympians. The average yearly snowfall in Steamboat Springs is over 349 inches. Coming from sunny California imaging what over 29 feet of snow looks like, is a daunting task.

I made the journey to Steamboat over Christmas break and did not know what to expect. Of course I had done my research and watched videos of the locals “shredding” the ski area but I was still in a confused state.

Steamboat is home to the most winter Olympians per capita in the North America. Normal people walking main street may have been atop the giant slalom, or ski jump in Sochi, Turin or Calgary.

It is no accident that so many expert winter sportsmen and women hail from the area. Steamboat Mountain Resort, nearly in the center of town, provides nearly three thousand skiable acres.

As a first time visitor to Steamboat many of my expectations were met and exceeded. The ease of travel was the first, I left Fresno Yosemite Airport on a United flight to Denver International, flight time was just over two hours, then on to Hayden Regional Airport from Denver on a brief forty minute flight.

Shuttle and private car service pick up were abundantly available at the airport. Go Alpine private transportation was my choice, in twenty minutes I had arrived at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort: a winter wonderland.

The area in which the Resort is located is called, Ski Time Square, because of the plethora of shopping, eating establishments and Mega Hotels within walking distance.

I was transported to a flow state in which nothing else entered my mind. Skiing highlight reels had become an obsession of mine while still in Fresno, as I wizzed by white Aspen trees I could not help but think I was the star of a film. –Senior Trevor Beal

The Sheraton Resort itself offers many different levels of accommodations, ranging from Morningside Villas to regular hotel rooms. I had the great experience of staying in the Morningside Villas at the Sheraton.

Nearly 1800 square feet the villas rival any hotel room I have ever stayed in, surpassing the Bellagio and Aria in Las Vegas along with the St. Francis in San Francisco, none compare to the Sheraton.

The one area that surpassed even the outstanding accommodations was the quality of snow and abundance of trails. Over 60 percent of the 165 trails were open and covered with a base of 40 inches and topped off with 30 inches of powder in five days that I was there.

The trails are broken into beginner, intermediate, and expert categories, Steamboat is one of the most challenging mountains I have ever been too. More intimidating than any hill in in Park City, Utah, or Tahoe, California.

While standing at an elevation of ten thousand feet atop stormy peak, staring down triangle three trail, the enormity and seriousness of my situation was truly realized. To locals of the area the expert runs sometimes become boring, unbelievably to a newbie like myself. But the back county is the true hidden jewel of Steamboat, Aspen trees populate the area and provide a challenging natural obstacle.

I learned how to ski at the age of five, and my home mountain during my younger days was China Peak. Generally snow in the Sierra Nevada range is very moist and turns to ice very quick, Steamboats “Champagne Powder” was an absolute marvel to me.

Watching my feet disappear in the light snow was at first, very distracting. After a couple hours I had the hang of it, and never wanted to ski anywhere else again. It was like I was an Olympian in Steamboat Springs.

I was transported to a flow state in which nothing else entered my mind. Skiing highlight reels had become an obsession of mine while still in Fresno, as I wizzed by white Aspen trees I could not help but think I was the star of a film.

Then I realized why Steamboat is the Winter Sport Wonderland, nothing has a negative effect on the people there. A more perfect Mountain and ski area could not be dreamed up, even in the imagination of an Olympian!

That is why the Mountain has produced more Olympians than anywhere else in the world. I will be back to Steamboat soon, as soon as possible, maybe I might stay there forever.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Beal2015.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 8 column, COLUMN: Sophomore attends Rose Bowl Game, gains new experiences.

By |2015-01-09T00:00:00-08:00January 9th, 2015|Destinations, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Student travels to Taiwan over the holidays

P1080848_FotorRyan King | The Feather Online Archive

People come all the way from Japan and stopped by Jiquing Village to enjoy the lights and Christmas spirit.

Despite this being my fourth year of study in United States, each year during Christmas, I have never spent my holidays here in the States. Although people in Taiwan know about this holiday, people rarely pay attention to this holiday.

This year I left early for Christmas break to be reunited with my family. During the time I spent with my family, we decided to explore this island that we have lived on for decades and in search of different cultures in Taiwan to help others who have never visited the place I called home.

Regardless, the plane landed at the Taoyuan International Airport, and my journey began. The first stop I arrived at was the Taiwan High Speed Railroad Station in Taoyuan, and the price of the ticket at only three dollars. I arrived in the heart of the country, Taipei. Although Taipei city might seem small on the map, this city contain one-tenth the population of Taiwan.

After arriving home from the, Taipei Metro, I set down my luggage and begun my trip. One of the first buildings we visited was Taipei Arena. Opened in 2005, this large multi-function gym provides more than 15,000 seats and allows different varieties of sports to play indoor without the disruption of the weather. This arena also has the ability to freeze the floor for ice skating.

When people asked me what the most special part of Taiwan is, I have to say the food. Shillin Night Market, one of the many places people have to visit, has held the title of representing the food of Taiwan for many years. Famous for many different foods, I could not even named all of them. Some as simple as fried chicken, shillin sausage, oyster omelette, cold noodles and even stinky tofu could be the most delicious dishes one could ever have.

On Nov. 29, my dad and I traveled to Pingxi and visited another popular tourist hub in Taiwan. Well known other than food, Pingxi is the only place the government allows people to release sky lanterns. Because I did not want to miss this unique chance to truly become involved with the Taiwanese culture, we bought a lantern and released it into the sky with wishes written on the lantern.
The first day of the December, I traveled to Tamsui, a harbor that used to be the biggest port in Taiwan and also had the name of Eastern Venice. One thing that stood out in Tansui is the street artists who gathered there from all over the place. Singers, artists, buskers and people who make molds of your hands. Beside all of these special characters of Tansui, my favorite part was the sunset. Sitting beside the ocean with the breeze coming from the sea, I spent the most delightful time watching sunset with Tansui special gigantic ice cream that is over 20 inches tall.

On Christmas Eve, I found the place with the most Christmas spirit was next to our village. In Jiquing Village, a tradition of decorating houses with Christmas lights has once again drawn tourists from many places to feel the holiday spirit. People came all the way from Japan and stopped by this romantic place under the lights and Christmas spirit to enjoy the special day of the year.

Soon after Christmas, my family and I took the THSR to Kaohsiung where my dad originally came from and visited his two uncles since this is most likely the last time I can travel freely back and forth between United States and Taiwan. The next day I visited my mother’s family and then we head on to the airport and back to the United States.

Although it is hard to feel the spirit of this huge holiday, this visit to Taiwan has become the most valuable memory for me. Even though I have lived with this culture over decades, it is now that I realize the opportunity to go back has now become harder and harder. But with the new friends here at FC, I believe there are many more beautiful memories waiting for us to create together.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @fmichael_0501.

For another opinions article read, the Dec. 15 article, College Corner: Financial Aid

By |2015-01-06T00:00:00-08:00January 6th, 2015|Destinations, Uncategorized|0 Comments