WALK AROUND ANY MEADOW... or along any ridge or through any valley or along any creek in Yosemite National Park and point at anything that isn't a squirrel or a pinecone or a leaf and proceed to guess the age of what you're pointing at. Rocks? They're old. Lakes? Ancient. Glacier Point? Hoo boy, we hope you have a powerful adding machine on that one, because that's going to take you back a few years. Yosemite has logged some years, is what we're saying, and you could easily add a few zeroes to pretty much a whole swath of the natural wonder, in the "how old?" department, and you still may not be journeying back to the correct point of origin. So to say that Yosemite National Park is about to mark its 125th birthday can make you drop your adding machine, and drop your jaw, in comical tandem. How can that be? Your own grandparents or great-grandparents may have been born before 1890. Surely a destination absolutely oozing (in the poetical sense) timeless cliff faces has a few more decades under its beautiful belt? Well, surely, yes, it does. But Yosemite officially gained lasting protections on Oct. 1, 1890, meaning a birthday celebration is in order. That celebration is kicking off on the first day of October with a remembrance of the man who did so much for the area: John Muir.
"SPECIAL FREE PERFORMANCE": Actor Lee Stetson, known for portraying Mr. Muir, will appear in the Yosemite Theater on Oct. 1 to bring us back to the time when the Yosemite advocate created positive change for the park-to-be. Other activities will be going on, if you find yourself there, but if you feel like a peaceful party, just pay the park and its history a kind thought during your high-country hike. If you prefer a more physical way to love on Yosemite, consider arriving on Sept. 26, National Public Lands Day, when entrance will be free. The physical part? You can join the Yosemite Facelift, when loads of park lovers pitch in to do a little clean up after the busy summer season. Think of this as cleaning up before the party, rather than after, as is tradition. Your host, which would be Yosemite itself, would very much appreciate your help on the pitching-in front. Do note that the Yosemite Facelift runs for a few days, and not just Sept. 26, if you can't make that exact day.