Yosemite Valley Floor - Part 6


Satisfied with myself and the growing up I've done, everything feels lighter. After 20+ miles of staring at the ground, watching my step off-trail, finding routes around the flooded meadows, rage-hiking through boulder fields and over rotting trees, I finally look up.

El Capitan.

When you're hiking amongst trees that are 80+ feet tall, sometimes these majestic slabs of granite just sneak up on you. El Cap snuck up on me and took my breath away.

I learned in the visitors center that this whole valley was formed underground a bazillion years ago. And thanks to the magical forces of erosion and other geological processes that I can't recall the names of in this moment, now we get to enjoy ourselves here.

I also learned that this land was stolen from the Miwok people. This whole place is problematic, actually. We went through the "Indian village" exhibit which was hella educational and also cringe-worthy.

I read of structures and homes and parts of this community being "razed" and had to look that word up. That means destroyed. Burned to the ground.

But that doesn't read well, so they pick a word that I would imagine most of us skip over, don't Google, but don't know the meaning of. And so a chunk of their history is worn away.

Unless we take it upon ourselves to read through the white-washed history lessons in these visitors centers, we go about our merry way, assuming that the lessons being shared with us are the whole truth.

Let's be clear, there was nothing kind about how the white folks came into this valley.

The Valley Floor loop goes through some traditional caravan routes from the "early days" of the park, but make no mistake, Miwok called this land home for thousands of years before we got here.

So I stand at the base of El Capitan, and I look around. Mostly white folks. I think about our hikes so far. Mostly white folks.

And at the base of El Cap, I swore to raise hell and do whatever I can to support #diversifyoutdoors.

I vow to do whatever I can with the privilege I have to make sure everyone feels welcome out here.

Because this park has radically changed my life and how I see myself, and EVERYONE should be able to have that experience.