Dear My Family,
This year marked an important milestone for us, our last Christmas in Yosemite. For those out there that don’t know this FunFact, I was raised within the confines of America’s first preserved natural space, Yosemite National Park (yes, inside the park boundaries, my parents worked there). Every Christmas in my memory has been the same. My family always gathered at my parents’ house to eat too much, drink too much, and then go on long, guilty walks to work off that post-holiday fat feeling. This year we lucked out with a ton of snow, which always contributes to a Merrier Christmas. Because I grew up in the snow, I’ve never been comfortable with the snowless Christmases we have down here in LA. There’s something off-putting about decorating your tree when it’s 80 degrees outside (which I have done multiple times).
Next year, my parents will be leaving the house I grew up in. In all honesty, I’m not super excited about their move, I’m going to miss our house and Yosemite. But next year will bring new opportunities and experiences to our family. Also, they’re moving to Sonoma County so at least I’ll still have a pretty place to visit. Below are some images of Yosemite as I saw it over the many winters I spent there. It’s truly a magical place and I high suggest you spend a winter holiday there sometime.
This is our street, covered in snow.
Our house (if you look hard you can see Yosemite Falls in the background).
The old apple orchard near my house. When Yosemite was first founded, the settlers had livestock and farmed. Clearly, the agriculture went against the natural preservation of the park so it was later removed, but back then it was a long horse ride (or hike) into the valley so it made sense to grow food up there.
The bay laurel tree is native to Yosemite, you can see one from our dining room. Its leaves are great for soup. Or tea if you like gross tea that tastes like bay leaves (my boyfriend does, I don’t get it).
My sister and me at the Ahwahnee Hotel, which always has glorious holiday decorations (see below).
The chapel where my brother got married. In related news, my sister can’t get married to her (female) fiance there because only unions sanctioned by the US government are allowed at the park’s only chapel. Rude.
A few more Merced River shots:
And finally, this Ansel Adams image (entitled “El Capitan in Winter).
This image captures perfectly what winter in Yosemite means to me. Beauty. Wonder. Tradition. I’ll miss all of these things when my parents move away. But at least I’ll have these photographs to remember them by. Here’s to a New Year of making new memories in new places. New places like Sonoma County, where they have lots of delicious wine. And to a new year of being thankful for the memories I’ve spent my life creating.
2013 or bust!