Rediscover your youth and say hello to a new grove experience in Yosemite.
By Nicole Prentice Williams
If you were planning to visit Yosemite this summer, you may want to postpone until fall and be among the first to see the newly renovated Mariposa Grove. The awe-inspiring sequoia grove that inspired the first National Park made changes to protect the massive, shallow-rooted giants and a local animal from the weasel family, the Pacific fisher, from traffic. The major change is that guests will now be shuttled from a parking area two miles away to keep cars from the Grove. Visitors can stroll new pathways and natural boardwalks with displays that better tell the story of the sequoias.
During our visits, the children were incredibly impressed standing next to the massive trees, especially those that had come down and were lying on the forest floor. Spying deer in the grove and a bear in Yosemite Valley were probably the most memorable moments. Hiking to a waterfall is also a must-do and the Vernal Falls trail is one of the easiest. But the highlight was the “can’t miss” tour with Park Ranger Phil Johnson, a descendant of the Miwok Native American tribe that lived in Yosemite Valley in the 1800s. The children learn what playtime without technology is all about. He shows them how to play an elderberry flute and spin tops made of acorns. They get to hang out in replicated teepees and Phil even lets them make the beginnings of a fire by rubbing wood together until it begins smoking. This kind of culture-meets-adventure will make memories that last a lifetime.