Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was flooded in 1913 to create a reservoir that would bring water and energy to the sprawling cities of California as far south as Los Angeles. In 2006 I made my first trip to this part of Yosemite. A few weeks later I found myself in the central valley of California near the Salton Sea after being in Joshua Tree National Park. In this part of the state where the land is basically desert and doesn't naturally support growth of anything substantial lies vast swaths of land that is developed for industrial agriculture that feeds on the water of Hetch Hetchy. This water is transported almost 400 miles to grow food for over burgeoning populations. Not forgetting of course the use of large amount of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. In the space of 2 weeks I was seeing the water at both ends of it's journey. From the crystal clear fresh snow melt waters of Yosemite's majestic Tuolomne River that roars through granite canyons until the O'Shaughnessy dam disturbs it's flow, to the fields of unnatural food and industrial farms that defy nature. An industrial complex that will ultimately defy us as we abuse it. If we lose our connection to the source of the food and water that sustain us we fail to understand a basic rule of life.
These pictures were taken on a 4 day hike on the weekend of June 13th 2009 into the backcountry of the Yosemite wilderness. we went into an area called Jack Main Canyon and our final destination a place called Wilma lake. We covered a total of 46 miles round trip starting at 3815ft and reaching just under 8000ft at Wilma. Many areas were water logged as we were still in melt run off season. Twice I had to wade in water and there was plenty of bushwacking. The toughest part of it was climbing out of the mouth of the canyon on the way back out. The first night at Backpackers campsite was marked with what I thought was a strobe light going off in my face and then realizing no I was not in the studio anymore. That was a nice bolt of lightning. 3 seconds later it was followed with one huge crack of thunder right over our heads. I turned to my backcountry partner and gave him a little smile. Despite it's obvious danger in the mountains I do get excited sometime by a darn good electrical storm. It's the elements. Mother Nature doing her thing. The storm clouds lingered for the whole entire time we were there, menacingly overhead, but the storm never came. The rain began to drizzle down on our last day when we were only just a mile from our exit from the wilderness.
No bears at all on this trip which has to be the first trip in a long long time into Yosemite that I have not seen a bear somewhere. Managed some twilight visits from deer to our camp though. One was a big guy with horns and he wasn't shy. He looked rather stately.
There isn't much that a walk into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada can't do for me. It challenges me on all levels and gives me the space, solace and comfort to think about who I am, what I want out of my life and how I want the planet to be and finally to accept everything that comes my way no matter how it comes. It revitalizes and it inspires. When I walk in nature, nature walks in me and life is good.