Road Trip IV, Days 47-49: Fish Camp, California to Medford, Oregon
Wait, where does Yosemite come into it? Just give me a sec.
First of all, Fish Camp (unfortunately the mental images the name conjures up don’t really fit) is the final outpost of private land approaching Yosemite from the south, and we stayed there for three nights with some friends, spending our days in the park.
Second of all, since Medford, OR is only a (long) day’s drive from home, you’d think I’d be writing about that right now. Home. The place we’ve not seen for 49 days. Not to mention our poor dog…although she probably doesn’t miss us one bit since she’s being spoiled rotten by our wonderful friends on the mainland. She may even be a little bummed to see us.
“Oh, you guys? The ones who make me sleep outside at night? Yeah, hi. Welcome home. When do you hit the road again?”
But that will have to wait for my next post, because I need to write about Yosemite.
Have you been to Yosemite? Wonderful! Then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Have you not been yet? Give yourself this gift, sometime in your life: GO.
I believe there are three locales which every American should visit:
The Grand Canyon
DC is pretty self-explanatory. It’s our Capitol, it contains the (arguably clogged) arteries of our unique-in-the-world form of government, and hell, we pay for the place, right? Every nook and cranny of DC, from the great and obvious Lincoln Memorial (I DARE you to read the Gettysburg Address out loud in front of that massive, sad figure and not choke up) to the innocent-looking curved facade of the Watergate Hotel, reeks with political history…the story of who we are.
OK, the ol’ history teacher’s getting a little fired up here. Down, girl.
But why do I list the Grand Canyon and Yosemite as American birthrights?
I’d like to say, “Just trust me on this.” But that’s too glib even for me. Both these parks are soul-stirring testaments to the power of geology, or the grace of God, or whichever mixture you prefer. Both stop you in your tracks on first view. Both will make you say, “I’ve seen it on calendars before, but I never thought…” and then either run out of words, or need to swallow to get some moisture back into your hanging-open mouth.
Neither need be out of reach for any American, either physical or financially. Both can be appreciated, in exactly the way I’ve just described, from a motor vehicle (although of course I would not recommend that if you can manage more). Busses go there. Both are possible as day-trips, though again, if you can find a way to stay…you will want to.
Yes, both are in the West, therefore harder to get to for Easterners. Too bad. Y’all can get to DC more easily than the rest of us.
Crowded? Yes, they are–and will be more so if everyone takes my advice. I don’t care. When you are standing at the base of Yosemite Falls, looking up to where the water begins its barely-conceivable 1,500-foot drop, thinking of the glacier that cleaved and carved and polished that endless granite wall…you are, in that moment, entirely alone.
If you can get to the Yosemite back country, or down in the canyon’s depths, on the Colorado River? You’ll never be the same.
But if you can’t–go anyway. If you’re an American, this is YOUR great gift. Give it to yourself. And remember to say thank you, and you’re welcome.
Folks who have been to these places, do you agree, or not? Would you add any other venues to my list of American Birthrights?