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Wawona - Try It

August 03, 2013 Posted by: JJ - Park Ranger (Wawona)
The early morning sun in Wawona tells me there's something very special about this place. Hearing the flow of the South Fork of the Merced River is calming, smoothing, and refreshing. Sitting quietly in the Wawona Meadow and closing my eyes creates another dimension of Wawona.

Wawona, Yosemite's Sleepy Hollow, is like no other place in the Sierra. The Sierra has cliffs, domes, waterfalls, and more, but Wawona smells like peaceful wildness and adventure. Unlike other parts of the mountains, Wawona is accessible and peaceful; a walk in any direction reveals its secrets and beauty.

Try it. Walk along Forest Drive, but instead of going to Swinging Bridge, turn right at Koon Hollar Rd. Follow it until the pavement ends and take the dirt road up Bill's Hill, beyond the water tank; now you're alone in a wilderness and peace will find you. Or, as the sun sets, head to the South Fork of the Merced to find a flat rock and have dinner – it's quiet and peaceful. Then return in the morning and find that same flat rock to see the sunrays glistening through the trees and over the water. It's like a new life and a new meaning of life. 

I say this because I live in Wawona, if only in the summer, and it alone has warmed my heart and soul and is my antidote for the high-tech, high-energy machine of the city. It's accessible, available, and enjoyable. Stay away from the crowds at the store; instead walk across Wawona Road and follow the trail adjacent to the golf course. Again, you will find a kind of wilderness; peace will find you.

Wawona: try it. It won't take you long to find yourself a part of Wawona and within a quantitative peace. It's no secret that Wawona is Yosemite but Yosemite is not Wawona. It stands alone and by itself as a meadow, a river, and a peaceful adventure.

At night when the parking lot is empty and the Moon is out, look to the sky. The many trees create a negative space for the Wawona moonlight. The evenings are astonishing in Wawona and filled with love. There is a song sung by Tom Bopp, a famous pianist and vocalist who specializes in vintage music: Wawona Moon. Try it.

Wawona moon above
You're smiling down on me
You know that I am in love
Your light brings ecstasy
A gleaming through the pines
Your golden face I see
Oh, shine forever my Wawona moon
Upon my love and me

Wawona Moon (1925), rediscovered by Tom Bopp  
Wawona Sunrise

Ranger Notebook, JJ, Wawona

3 Comments Comments Icon

  1. Maggie - Novato, CA
    September 26, 2013 at 10:12

    I am looking forward to my first camping at Wawona starting this Sunday. I visited there briefly this past summer and decided it was the place I wanted to come back to, to spend time alone with with Nature.

  2. CL - Glendale, CA
    August 06, 2013 at 05:20

    Thanks Ranger JJ! I tried it and Wawona's wonders surrounded me with breathtaking memories and made my heart race with wonder. I look forward to filling more "negative space" with inspirations that Wawona and you have to offer. Peace!

  3. Jeff - Santa Maria, CA
    August 06, 2013 at 08:23

    Thanks for sharing "A Day in the Life of Wawona."


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Did You Know?

Sierra Sweet Bay

In Wawona and downstream, the South Fork Merced River provides habitat for a rare plant, the Sierra sweet bay (Myrica hartwegii). This special status shrub is found in only five Sierra Nevada counties. In Yosemite, it occurs exclusively on sand bars and river banks along the South Fork Merced River downstream from Wawona and on Big Creek.