Yosemite National Park is a DREAM! And in the winter, it’s a winter wonderland! I’ve been to Yosemite as a child but jumped at the chance to take a private day trip with White Wolf Private Tours. What I thought was going to be a trip to remind me of the beauty of nature. Turned into a visual representation of the beauty of advocacy.
Our first stop was the viewpoint Tunnel View. This was the most accessible place for people with mobility issues to take in the view. El Capitan is on the left and Bridalveil Fall to the right. My White Wolf private tour guide was super knowledgeable, telling me about each peak. In addition to being my Insta-husband for the day. So shout out to Dylan, you the real MVP!
It’s incredible to be able to look through history and find so many similarities. That’s exactly why preservation is important. Preservation allows us the chance to learn from and relate to history.
I felt myself falling more in love with Yosemite by the second. And quickly learned about Galen Clark, one of the first Guardians of Yosemite. Clark is known as one of the first to write about its giant sequoia trees and Yosemite’s beauty. In other words, you could consider him an OG Travel Blogger.
Clark hosted botanist John Muir during his first visit to Yosemite in 1968. The two continued to work together as conservationists for years. Clark spent the next 50 years of his life promoting and protecting Yosemite. He must’ve been a type A planner like ya girl, because he dug his own grave near Yosemite Fall and planted seedling sequoias from the Mariposa Grove sequoias. Today, visitors can stand at Clark’s gravesite in the Valley Cemetery among those sequoias and gaze at the results of his hard work.
Obviously, no one “discovered” Yosemite as there were natives living there when the Mariposa Battalion visited in 1851 during the Mariposa War. However, John Muir is most known for the work he’s done to preserve Yosemite. It was his advocacy work that convinced then-president Theodore Roosevelt to deem Yosemite a National Park.
Muir had the deepest love affair with a place I’ve ever witnessed. He wrote numerous books, letters, and essays describing this majestic place. Two articles he wrote for The Century Magazine were instrumental in the U.S. Congress passing a bill in 1890 and establishing Yosemite National Park. This is a testament to the power of our words. For me, it’s a powerful example of how advocacy work can change a nation.
Yosemite Lower Fall
The bill Congress passed was a good start. Muir wasn’t satisfied until Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove were protected parts of Yosemite National Park. So when he received a letter from Roosevelt on March 14, 1903, asking to “…drop politics absolutely for four days and just be out in the open with you.” Muir saw this as an opportunity to convert the president into a conservationist and it worked! This three-night camping trip is considered the camping trip that changed America.
Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite. Library of Congress.
The trip to Yosemite changed President Roosevelt. He soon after established the U.S. Forest Service a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the sole responsibility of looking after the forest reserves. He created national monuments, parks, and wildlife sanctuaries preserving 230 million acres of public land.
It’s a cycle. Clark exposed Muir to Yosemite’s beauty and Muir did the same for Roosevelt. Roosevelt learned the importance of conservation and paid it forward by protecting valuable and beautiful lands. Therefore, I am able to share the glory of this magical place with you. As a writer, it’s humbling to think that words written by Lafayette Houghton Bunnell, Galen Clark and John Muir were the catalysts for keeping these lands protected for over 100 years.
You already know I’m extra AF! So for full transparency, I want to share that I was freezing my ass off in every single photo. Because a big puffy coat doesn’t scream FASHION like a faux fur cardigan does! I also want to show you proof that we aren’t the first to do it for the gram! Kitty Tatch and Katherine Hazelston were doing high kicks on Overhanging Rock in 1900. How extra were they!?
In conclusion, my trip to Yosemite National Park taught me to open my eyes to nature’s beauty. Even in the winter! This trip reminded me why my advocacy work is so important. The time, tears, and effort I put into promoting size diversity and travel inclusivity helps people now. But my dream is for fat girls and boys of the future to see how the work of many has changed the reality of even more.
Disclaimer: Although this trip was gifted by White Wolf Private Tours all views are my own.