We are trekking to California this week to admire the beauty of Yosemite National Park in Travel Freak’s Wild Wednesday Column. It is here where photographer Ansel Adams, and other’s found their inspiration, and we follow their footsteps as we celebrate 150 years of Yosemite history with the California Historical Society.
photo via Gold Country Visitors Association
While wildfires often blaze through Yosemite each season, new life then springs from the ashes. Each year, Americans rediscover the majestic landscape of the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove, which President Abraham Lincoln dedicated “for public use, resort, and recreation… inalienable for all time.”
Yosemite became a National Park in 1890, and its rich history is the highlight of the California Historical Society’s six-month exhibition that includes over 250 items through which the stories of Yosemite are revealed. Among the items are rare photographs, videos, artworks, historic objects, stories and an enhanced eBook called Yosemite: A Storied Landscape will also be available.
“We are honored to bring Yosemite, one of the most beloved places on earth, to the city, and share its stories of inspiration, heartbreak, and poignancy,” said Executive Director Dr. Anthea Hartig. “The history of Yosemite is as complex and diverse as California itself, and this exhibition, engaging educational programming, and stunning enhanced eBook created for the anniversary help celebrate the birth of a national park in new and dynamic ways.”
Those interested in California’s history will discover the Historical Society in San Francisco has one of the top research collections. Within the collection are over 35,000 volumes of books and pamphlets, more than 4,000 manuscripts, and as many as 500,000 photographs documenting California’s social, cultural, economic, and political history and development, including some of the most cherished and valuable documents and images of California’s past.
The California Historical Society’s six-month exhibition gives those who have visited Yosemite the chance to explore the broad collection of stories that unite the old tales you may have heard with new ones. If this is your first introduction to Yosemite this is an opportunity to uncover the entertaining connections between the famous and the unknown stories related to the park. Among these stories are the inspirational trip to Yosemite’s high country by artist Chiura Obata in 1927, and the Christmas-time hijinks of the photographer Ansel Adams, who’s works brought the park’s remote beauty closer to home.
“For over 90 years we have worked to preserve and protect Yosemite and enhance the visitor experience today and for future generations. This is a wonderful way to look back at its history and bring to light some of the stories of those individuals who have been changed by their experiences in Yosemite,” said Yosemite Conservancy President Mike Tollefson.
Along with the California Historical Society’s exhibition, there will be events within the region that include special exhibits at the Gallery Yosemite and Timberline Gallery. The Gallery Yosemite is a new venue for creative artists to express their love for Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. And the Timberline Gallery, which has been a community-centered art institution for 28 years, will host two shows this year that are dedicated to the grandeur of Yosemite.
Embrace the Beauty of Nature: Admire Yosemite’s Natural Beauty and Starry Skies
Last week we marked our calendar’s for the upcoming Star Parties and Gazing Events at the Acadia Night Sky Festival in Maine, and the night sky at Yosemite is just awe-inspiring. So, be sure to enjoy at least one evening in the park when you’ll find the star-filled night sky a stunning site to admire. Yosemite’s park rangers also offer full moon hikes and sunset talks, and Stargazing Tours to Glacier Point, Full Moon Bike Rides in Yosemite Valley, as well as the “Starry Skies” program that takes place in the meadows of Yosemite Valley and Wawona.
Of course, one of the most popular activities for many visitor’s to Yosemite is photography. Imagine, you’re walking in the footsteps of photographers like Ansel Adams, and others who, just like you, love Yosemite for its ever-changing natural beauty. Whether you’re capturing the starry night or a deer grazing in a grassy field, Yosemite offers photographer’s amazing scenes to capture.
Be sure to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, where you’ll learn more about the photographer and painter, who spent countless hours in studio that is now a destination for photographers to embrace the craft. Brush up on your photography techniques with the help from instructors who reveal everything from the basics of operating your camera to recommending locations to photograph.
Whenever you visit the majestic Yosemite National Park you’ll find the timeless beauty will take root in your soul. Enjoy!
Make Plans to Experience the Yosemite Exhibition
The California Historical Society is located at 678 Mission Street in San Francisco, CA. The exhibition is open every Tuesday–Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. through Mid January 2015. California Historical Society members and children are admitted for free., otherwise the cost is simply $5.
For news on events and program schedules visit the California Historical Society or Yosemite Stories. While on the website you can look for the enhanced eBook, Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, which is a collaboration between the California Historical Society and the award-winning digital publisher 36 Views, a San Francisco-based company that helps enrich people’s experiences of art, nature, travel and history through multi-media publishing. You can also follow the California Historical Society and Yosemite: A Storied Landscape on Facebook.
To explore area attractions, recreation, festivities to enjoy, and to plan your trip visit the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau website. Or, visit the California’s Gold Country website to explore area adventures, history, and festivals to enjoy within and around Yosemite National Park.
To explore more of the nation’s National Park’s visit the National Parks Foundation.
Wild Wednesday Facts:
- When visiting Yosemite during the peak summer season, plan on early entry through the park’s gates to avoid queues. Visit the Yosemite Valley floor either early or later in the day because it can be very busy between 10 am and 2 pm on the weekends.
- Yosemite National Park’s Valley canyon is 7 miles wide, and home to El Capitan, the world’s tallest granite monolith, and one of the world’s top rock climbing destinations. The Yosemite Valley Loop is a moderate trail to hike, and while it totals 11.5 mile, you can try the 7.2-mile half loop, which crosses the river at the El Capitan Bridge and heads east back toward Yosemite Village.
- The National Park Service was established on August 25, 1916. And, the United States was the first country in the world to set aside its most significant places as national parks for preservation and enjoyment.
What is your favorite memory of Yosemite?
images via National Park Foundation unless otherwise noted