February 24th, 2010

One of the understandings that I have with our beloved general manager is that I should try not to use this space to tell you things you’ve already heard a million times before. Fisherman’s Wharf, for example, is a perfectly nice place to be, especially if you like crowds, but we don’t feel a big need to take responsibility for you getting to it. Thousands of people find their way out there everyday without our help and you probably could too.

But I can’t help myself this time, I’m breaking the rule! I am speaking now to those of you who come here on business and have weekends off. Do you understand how very close you are to Yosemite when you’re here with us? Do you know that it’s more beautiful than any photo ever taken of it?

So often the most famous tourist attractions leave me humming Peggy Lee’s classic depressive ditty, “Is that all there is?” Maybe you can relate. Lots and lots of pretty cool things have been so diluted by crowds and merchandise and deep-fried edibles that the only possible experience one can have is generic tourism and the sense that there’s no wonder left in the world. Yosemite is so different! Yosemite is grand enough to swallow all its visitors, to let each individual guest revel in the magnitude and magnificence of its glacier-cut valley, to let every single person have a private experience of nature.

Forgive my exuberance. I’m just back from a week in that shocking valley, having not been in a couple of years. It’s better than anything I could write about it. Better than anything even John Muir could write about it. It’s better than any photo Ansel Adams ever took of it. You must go!

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