Yosemite from glacier point. California, USA. 2006

As I have mentioned in several posts previously I have spent quite a bit of time in the USA.  Lived there for two years during the early 1980s, and I have been back there four times since on various holidays. 

One of the things that really gets my backup is when people automatically dismiss America as a travel destination because of its foreign policy or the fool who is currently in power over there.  Although it could be argued that American foreign policy and politics are a manifestation of the national will, most Americans I’ve met don’t support Bush’s deranged and rapacious ways.  Sure, Bush stole the election fair and square, but the majority of Americans did not vote for him. 

As a matter of fact, a majority of Americans don’t vote at all because they have no interest in the candidates. The two party political system has left a great deal of the population feeling they aren’t being represented by either the Republicans or the Democrats, so they just don’t participate in the election process. 

Americans that my wife and I met were very concerned about foreigner’s opinions of America.  So often, the people that we spoke to (without us instigating any conversation about politics) actually apologised for Bush and made a point of telling us that they did not vote for him. 

The average American that I’ve ever encountered is a very polite and friendly person who is happy to meet people from overseas.  I was treated with nothing but courtesy and decency (with a few notable exceptions), in all the times that I have visited the States.

Some other people seem to think that because America has the largest economy in the world that it must be some big industrial wasteland and there are a quite few places like New Jersey (the “Garden State”, what a joke!), that do fit the bill, but on the whole it is an incredibly beautiful country.  I particularly like the south-western states, but there is beauty to be found across the whole country.  I have been to about 45 of the states and I feel that I can say this with some authority.

My favourite place in the US is the Grand Canyon (I’ve been there three times), but my second favourite place is Yosemite.  

Yosemite valley from Glacier Point

Because of its beauty, Yosemite is usually very crowded for most warmer months of the year.  My wife and I visited Yosemite in the late summer, early autumn of 2006 and the park was almost empty. 

Apparently, most people go to Yosemite in the late spring or early summer, because the melting snow creates numerous waterfalls, off the steep rock faces of the valley.  There were no waterfalls when we visited Yosemite but it was still amazingly spectacular.  When I was younger and I used to rock climb, I used to fantasize about climbing at Yosemite and after visiting there, I found it easy to understand why the place was such a rock climbing mecca. The whole place is just stunning.

3 thoughts on “Yosemite from glacier point. California, USA. 2006”

  1. Watch yourself with the NJ comments, my wife is from the Jersey shore and we lived there for over a year after college. It sounds like you visited the Newark area or anything near NYC. Very misleading. That area is pretty industrial, but the central, south, west, and shore areas are far, far different. We lived in the city of Red Bank, a beautiful waterfront metro at the north end of the shore. It’s expensive, but it’s a better looking than the reputation NJ has.

  2. I have to admit that I haven’t seen all of New Jersey but what I did see was pretty bleak. I can remember thinking that the car licence plates with “garden state” written on them were so ironic in comparison to what I had seen.

  3. I’ve travelled quite a bit, and Yosemite is my favorite place. It feels right to me. I’ve hiked over much of it for days on end. My friend works in the park and is a climbing instructor who once worked with Outward Bound. The Sierras are his backyard and he has shown me some incredible things. But I tell you that coming back to the Valley is always a treat. The Bush administration has made many changes in the park that I deplore, increasing traffic and hot dog stands. I want people to go and see Yosemite, to see bears and deer and waterfalls and rivers–all of it–for they leave changed by the experience, their hearts more attuned to the wilderness, and they are more likely to vote to save such places. But now they go to a Mall version and do not come into contact with the wilderness. The kids stay in the lodge and on the internet. In the hotels, they watch videos of what is only hundreds of yards away. I read a statistic that said ninety percent of the visitors never go more than a mile from the road. I’ve always argued that that was OK, that they could have an outdoor experience in Yosemite Valley that they would never forget. That is no longer possible.

    It has become New Jersey.

    Just kidding Brooks. Outside the cities, you New Jersey is a big, beautiful surprise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.