Valentine’s Day approaches again and our thoughts turn to romance with a special someone. Yosemite is a marvelous place for human relationships; thousands of weddings and honeymoons happen here every year. The landscape is uniquely grand, with Bridalveil Fall and Cathedral Spires adding to the nuptial flavor. For some people Yosemite itself is a significant love interest. Conservationist John Muir wrote that Yosemite Valley was so structured, “as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.” How’s that for romance?
- The romance of Yosemite
Former park ranger (though not in this park) Edward Abbey said it differently: “Nature may be indifferent to our love, but never unfaithful.” I agree that this place always provides something whether we deserve it or not. Rain, snow, sun or nighttime: it’s not hard to get away from the crowds and connect with this place. If your eyes are open to the romance, Yosemite will deliver.
Many people find or make romance with a stay or a fancy dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel
in Yosemite Valley. It is a grand example of ‘parkitecture’ – a building designed to fit into a wild, woodsy landscape. It probably hosts 200 weddings and/or receptions each year.
On the far end of the spectrum from the Ahwahnee are those couples who love life out on the trail with backpacks and boots. A pair seeking solitude and uninterrupted conjugal time in a beautiful place will do well in Yosemite. There are 800 miles of trails in Yosemite, and hundreds of gorgeous campsites that will inspire connubial bonding for the outdoorsy types.
In between, some Yosemite visitors would say that the Wawona Hotel
is the place for a romantic interlude. In the quieter south end of the park, this historic structure speaks of another era. The Wawona Hotel’s rustic charm has an effect on all her guests. Tall pines and white columned buildings, time and place work their magic. The giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove are not far away; it’s a place that inspires awe, humility, and urges a closeness to the people you’re with.
Whatever your tastes, you can find some romance in this big mountain park.
Some updates: the Big Oak Flat Road has reopened, so there’s no hold-up getting in or out of Yosemite Valley from the northwest.
The Village Store
is closed for remodeling; it reopens on February 16.
Badger Pass Ski Area
is open with a light base. There are some bare spots on the Glacier Point Road that cross-country skiers will need to step around. Weather is very mild this week and we see no storms in the forecast.