A Visit to “Paradise”

There’s a sense in which Yosemite is paradisiacal: almost too much grandeur for the human mind to encompass. So many of the park’s features, of the valley in particular, would be awesome alone. El Capitan, the 3000 ft. granite monolith on north, and Cathedral Rocks on the south, over which Bridalveil Creek tumbles in glad abandon, no doubt make the grandest “gate” to any park in the world. (Of a different sort is the living gate to the Mariposa Grove of mountain redwoods near the southern entrance of the park: several huge sequoias.)

Centered between El Cap and the Cathedral Rocks at the east end of the valley is another monolith that too would be a feature to draw an endless stream of fair-weather visitors: Half Dome. Refreshingly cool and ever-changing Merced River runs through the middle of it all, adding just one more beauty feature to this picture of paradise (painted often by the great Hudson River School of artists) in the 19th century. “Founder” of that great cadre of grand landscape painters, Thomas Cole, captured the value of such beauty to the human soul. Cole hoped his paintings would give city-dwelling admirers a yearning for the outdoors where they too could discover what he had—that “in gazing on the pure creations of the Almighty, he feels a calm religious tone steal through his mind, and when he has turned to mingle [again] with his fellow men, the chords which have been struck in that sweet communion cease not to vibrate.”

Albert Bierstadt, 1865

The chords of my soul still vibrate from this grandest of outdoor experiences. Though photos of Yosemite can never even approximate the awe created by this wonder of God’s creation, I am posting below some photos of the falls and watercourses of the great national park—with thanks to our forebears who had the foresight to preserve this global treasure and to those living today who seek to preserve it by managing well its millions of visitors. One knows that it is indeed a global treasure by the many international visitors whose different languages lend still one more pleasantry to the experience. Here, in fact, it seems that Babel is reversed: instead of a manmade tower set in defiance of our Creator and resulting in linguistic confusion and dispersion, we have God-made towers that draw people of all languages back together—a congregation in praise of the Creator (whether or not recognized). It’s just one more reminder of paradise past and paradise future. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below.”

[Click on the photos to see them in a larger size.]


El Capitan and the Merced River

Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point

Upper and Lower Nevada Falls


Alder Creek

See you outdoors,