Take Time to Smell the Roses (or whatever flower is handy) - Lessons from the Alpine Mammal Study, Part One
As we travel through Yosemite National Park, most of us will be trying to fit in as much as we can. In a park the size of Yosemite, it can be overwhelming to try to see it all. Just the same, we will be rushing from one scenic vista to another in an effort to make our limited vacation time go further. There is another way to experience Yosemite, but you have to slow down. I recently worked on the alpine mammal survey that was conducted at various locations around the park. Part of this survey required that I stand in one place for 15 minutes and be as observant as possible. I was looking and listening for only four species of alpine mammals, but I saw and heard much more. I found that if you take the time to get to know a spot, it doesn't have to be the best view you have ever seen to be rewarding. Truly knowing something, something intimate, about any particular place is very powerful. Take the time to notice how the spider webs that are between the ridges in the bark of the red fir in front of you have collected pollen and appear as though they are dozens of little golden hammocks, moving gently in the breeze. Observations like this will connect you in a deeper way to this great park and they may be the best memories you have when you leave. I encourage everyone to spend a little time using all of their senses to observe something somewhere on their journey through Yosemite. You may be surprised where it will take you.