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The Park in Yosemite is like a shrine. It still represents the best of the Park System and the American ideal of conservation. I was in shock however viewing the mile after mile of standing dead timber from the multiple megafires. There were enormous accumulations of dead organic matter on the forest floor of the green forest. There were huge old snags everywhere. After 150 years of protection the park looks terrible.
But the fall is the magic time to be there. The cottonwoods and willows are bright yellow, and the Pacific dogwood has turned pink and pale orange. The park is quieter and the Valley is still just as spectacular as always. A trip to the Merced Grove of sequoias was quiet and tranquil. A giant old growth forest of ppine, Douglas fir, white fir, incense cedars and about 25 huge sequoias. There was a small perfectly built log cabin on the route, used by park superintendent as a refuge. The cabin was built with saddle notches and so perfect that no chinking was needed. We saw one other person and some mountain lion scat on the route.
At night around the campfire, we watched the full moon rise over the huge ponderosa pine, sugar pine and incense cedars. Each night I would take some coals from the fire with a shovel and put them in the wood stove in the old wall tent. Lying on my cot reading John Muir, I could watch the shadows of pine branches and cones move slowly across the the white canvas roof. The stove popped and crackled and hissed softly. With my dog Ruby at my side, I quickly fell into peaceful slumber.