Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presethello!  we’re recently back from a most splendid trip to yosemite full of so much spectacular nature and cozy knitting, both of which i’d like to share in some photos below.  first, i wanted to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to read my last post and leave such thoughtful and thought provoking comments.  there are several avenues by which one can enjoy blogging and partaking in the blogs of others, but it’s so rewarding to take the time to write a time and brain intensive post and get feedback clearly demonstrating others are making the effort to engage.  you guys are wonderful, seriously.

anyhow, we were very privileged this past week to take a really amazing trip to yosemite, and experience it in a way we never have before, staying at the historic ahwahnee hotel right in the valley floor.  the park is so massive, while it’s all very beautiful, trips tend to involve a LOT of transit time getting from point a to point b.  this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to stay right in the center of the action, and it was fantastic.

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vscocam-photo-3a few months ago, i was talking to grandma j about our recent trip to yosemite, and she confessed she’s always dreamed of spending christmas in the ahwahnee hotel, but the travel and reservations were too complicated.  i had a feeling we might be able to pull some strings and make that dream more or less come true, and some phone calls later, we were gifted the most wonderful family trip for an early christmas.

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 presetwe went in with no real plans other than to enjoy the valley floor and the hotel itself.  the weather cooperated for the most part, warmer in the early part of the week, then a light dusting of snow while the rest of the region experienced an apparently record breaking storm, and crisper temperatures.  my first ever visit to yosemite was in january two years ago, and i think i’ve got a special place in my heart for yosemite in the winter as a result, even though generally i don’t like the cold.

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Processed with VSCOcam with c3 presetit’s easier to appreciate in this majestic place than in most others the fleeting beauty of the day.  i started each morning with an early run around 7-7:30, when it was quiet, devoid of people, and full of animals.  i stopped constantly to take photographs; it seemed every few steps the same picture would transform into something even more beautiful as the light moved across the mountains and trees, mist rose from the river, melting snow glistened on the branches like golden dew with the warmth of the rising sun.  i met with many creatures on these runs, mostly deer who are intrepid and accustomed to people there, and one pack of coyotes, yipping and howling on the banks of mirror lake.  we watched them for half an hour, rolling and wrestling and fighting for dominance just like dogs.  as early risers and lovers of nature, we have witnessed many remarkable sights in our travels, but the coyote pack is easily in the top three, particularly when one ran right between us to join his friends.  if i ever get around to loading it, i have some great footage of them.

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Processed with VSCOcam with s6 presetwe took some gentle strolls around the valley floor to catch classic views of half dome, el capitan, and the various falls, which are finally flowing again after a dry summer.

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on the only day of unsavory weather, with slush falling from the sky and chilling our thin california blood, we spent a fair amount of time in the various museums to thaw our fingers and dry our clothes.  we have always enjoyed the exhibits in the visitor center, and on this trip, i paid my first visit to the native american history museum.  i’ve done some reading about the history of yosemite, and ken burns has a nice series about the national parks that includes an episode about yosemite, but i know there’s much more to learn.  particularly now that i live so close to this sacred place and plan to spend much of my life in it, i feel compelled to learn as much about the history as possible.

i’ve been very interested in native american culture since my childhood, and interestingly, that intrigue has resurged alongside my recent rediscovery of creativity and craft.  as an adult in a a consumer heavy culture, and one who seeks ways to reduce that consumption, i have both a profound respect and a raw curiosity about native american life, sustainability, culture, ethos, knowledge, and survivability.  from what i understand, i deeply relate to and admire their incredible resourcefulness, born of both necessity and respect for the land and nature.  truly, we should all aspire.

of the many topics i’d love to delve into, native american culture probably tugs on me the most forcefully.  i’ve already got a few books i’d like to read, some of which i’ve already begun, but i would really love recommendations on native american textile texts.  i would love to learn more about various art forms and motifs…i have dreams of doing my own navajo inspired weaving and translating other traditional patterns into quilts…

anyhow, we spent a long time at the museum, examining the exhibits, and reading with the children about miwok life in yosemite prior to the gold rush, and miwok legends explaining so many of the sights and experiences we continue to witness there today.

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ironically, the ahwahnee hotel, now an historic landmark itself, stands in the phenomenally picturesque site of the former native miwok village (ahwahnee is actually the miwok word for the yosemite valley).  i wasn’t able to make one of the historical tours as i’d hoped, but the architecture, huge collection of beautiful textiles, giant roaring fires, sweeping cielings, chandeliers, native art, and stained glass were incredibly charming to soak in over several days.  we spent quite a bit of time in comfortable chairs knitting/reading/coloring/making puzzles by the fire.  i would, however, be very interested to hear the story of how that location was obtained from its original inhabitants to create a venue enticing to the “affluent and influential traveler” as it was billed in its inception in the early 1920s.

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the smallest fireplace in the ahwahnee
aerial view of the lounge, maybe half of its full size
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tiny bit of the incredible mural, oil painted on linen for the hotel opening in 1927
dining hall

anyhow, i got a fair chunk of knitting done on this trip as well, and am only two sweaters and half a blanket shy of finishing all the samples for my collection!  maybe i can do a little work in progress post to talk about inspiration for the collection and the ups and downs of first time designing.  in the meantime, i hope you enjoy these pictures (99% iphone photography!) as much as i loved taking them!  if i’m not back again before next week, very happy holidays to you all.

6 Comments on postcards from ahwahnee

  1. Wow, you were channelling Ansel Adams there!
    beautiful images. I’ve always thought North Americas national parks would be the drawcard that would entice me to travel there. This looks like a wonderful place to visit, at a magical time of year.

    • that’s very generous of you, but i think it’s more that it’s impossible to take a bad picture there. everywhere around you every second is gorgeous. north america is incredibly large…you could do a pretty spectacular trip down the west coast and hit a lot of parks that way!

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