“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves…”
John Muir, the famous American environmentalist, naturalist, traveler, writer, and scientist is, however, probably best remembered as one of the greatest champions of the Yosemite area’s natural wonders. It was this one man’s Herculean effort to protect the serenity of the primordial world from Alaska to Yosemite, from Redwood Forests to Kings Canyon, from Giant Sequoia to the California Sea shore.
One fine Autumn morning, Kaniska Mandal and Saurayan Chaki venture into Muir’s most favorite place, Yosemite, and play the wonderstruck tourists as they train their cameras on Nature’s Grandest Temples in granite.
That’s why John Muir reminds us: “People ought to saunter in the mountains not hike. Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter’? It’s a beautiful word. Back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply “a la sainte terre (to the Holy Land)”. And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
As we venture in further, words fail us. We have no option but take resort to Ansel Adams, once again. “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence… A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.”
So we give up and decide to restrain from describing the immense beauty of Yosemite National Park and the mesmerising effect that it exerts on the travellers.
But then there are things that must be recorded, to be told to less fortunate ones who haven’t yet had the opportunity to set foot in this Heaven on Earth. We pick up our pens, again.
A hundred years back John Muir had discovered this hidden beauty. And this is an attempt to recreate the vintage moments … a tribute to the saviour of Yosemite!
Again, to borrow from Muir: “No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening — still all is beauty.”
And, again from Muir: ”When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
Yosemite has a strange resemblance with our very own Yoshimath (including the name) which is the gateway to Himalayan wonders like Auli, Valley of Flowers, Badrinath, Mana Village, Brambha Kamal and so on. The same way, Yosemite Valley unlocks the chamber of secrets like the Tunnel View, the Glacier Point, the Toiga Pass, Tanya Lake, Mono Lake, Alpine Meadows and the list goes on…