Yosemite National Park
In addition to World Heritage Status, the Yosemite Valley contains a number of sites on the National Historic Register. The Valley has been inhabited for thousands of years by The Ahwahneechee tribe of American Indians followed by European settlers in the mid-1800's. Here are some upcoming events commemorating the heritage of Yosemite Valley June 30, 2014: 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Sept. 3, 2014: 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act Sept. 28, 2014: 30th anniversary of the California Wilderness Act Oct. 1, 2015: 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park Aug. 25, 2016: 100th anniversary of the NPS The trip to Yosemite got off to a rough start in late October with a flaky ride situation from Portland, OR to Merced,CA that fell through. A last minute Amtrak ticket solved the issue with a drop off at Curry Village in the Yosemite Valley, a rather felicitous occurrence given that I was traveling with 500g of Sunrise Sweet Curry powder as part of the merchandise. Before long I was setting up at my camp site in Upper Pines campground. Columbia Sportswear generously donated funds for 40 campsites, of which I shared one with some truly inspiring folks. All together the Facelift attracted around 400 people from around the world to clean up and contribute to the stewardship of Yosemite National Park. It was truly a tremendous experience to perform music for audiences with such epic backdrops as Cathedral Rocks, Half Dome and El Capitan. One which I am incredibly grateful to have had.
Inspiration is Everywhere My camp mates for the week were the O'Neill brothers, Sean and Timmy, Mark Wellman and the intrepid folks from the Access Fund. As I got to know them it became apparent that they were all up to very big things. Mark Wellman stood out as a particularly inspiring individual. This caught me a bit by surprise, I had gone to Yosemite for the natural beauty. Mark lost the use of his legs, yet hasn't let that prevent him from tackling obstacles in his life and inspiring others to do the same. Mark Wellman is an accomplished athlete and has competed in the Paralympics, was the first paraplegic to ascend El Capitan and even lit the Olympic Torch in Atlanta. I left Yosemite inspired not only musically, but in life as well.
Water When taking time to convene with the elements it's hard not to include the most enriching of them, water. Yosemite is no exception. Despite the dusty dryness of the valley floor, it's plain that water is a significant force. The Merced River runs through the valley and is joined by multiple creeks cascading over the canyon walls in spectacular waterfalls I spent a day hiking to Vernal Falls and sitting beside Emerald Pool working on compositions as well as making a full moon trip to Happy Isles in the Merced River. Choosing to visit Yosemite during Facelift was a highlight of the year for me and I am certainly looking forward to going back next year to record the music I wrote while there. The Rangers were incredibly helpful and enthusiastic in suggesting locations to use. I met some great folks and laid the groundwork for some awesome projects with outdoor enthusiasts to come. Also, look for a performance at the Ansel Adams Gallery, in the Yosemite Village.