Stateside: Nightmare In Yosemite National Park
Nightmare In Yosemite National Park
We interrupt the previously scheduled travelog to bring you the Nightmare that is Yosemite National Park on a summer's day.
First up, when the hell are those gas-guzzling, exhaust-venting shuttle buses that circle the valley floor going to be replaced? I realise they're already replacing part of the steady stream of cars circling the valley floor, but could they at least run on lpg or cng? Better still, let's have three different types of transport - one that accommodates adults with children who need strollers; one that accommodates those people who can't necessarily step up 15 inches to get on the bus; and one that lets the young and hale sit on the outside, after the fashion of San Francisco cable cars.
There is only one word for Yosemite, and that word is "scary." Not only is it scary to see so many people and so much traffic there that you'd swear it was a city - some four million people visit Yosemite every year - but its scary to look at and be in.
Those granite rock faces carved by glaciers are monstrous, man. (It takes three days to rock climb El Capitaine.) The boulders that have fallen down into the valley floor as recently as 1999 are humungous. The depth to which the floodwaters rose in 1997 is way over my head. The acreage that gets ravaged by fire is beyond imagination. And those roads leading out are so narrow, and those trees are so close...
What can I say about visiting Yosemite, except "don't!" Wait until virtual travel becomes a reality and you can be awestruck by nature without ruining it at the same time. Because if things keep going the way they are, Yosemite is Mother Earth's revenge just waiting to happen.