Last updated: September 9, 2012
Stop Looking At Your Feet - Lessons from the Alpine Mammal Survey, Part Two
Hiking in Yosemite is a great way to see the park. More than 94% of this park is designated wilderness and there are many adventures and great views to be had. Hiking will take you off the road, but you still won't see much of Yosemite if you are staring at your feet. This is something I noticed during the alpine mammal survey that I assisted with this season. I was required to walk sections of trail while constantly watching for the target species we wanted to record. In order to do this you had to have two things, a good pair of shoes because stubbed toes were common, and patience. Walking slowly was the best way to observe the wildlife and, with quick glances at the ground, the only way not to trip and fall during the survey. Normally, I would be hiking much faster to get to a destination, and not seeing much in between. The adjustment to my pace opened up a whole new world to me, the trail itself became a destination. It allowed me to marvel at the seamless transition from exposed granite to forest to meadow and back, to enjoy the changes in plant communities that were growing along the trail, and to see much more wildlife than I would have otherwise. The miles of trail between you and your next scenic view should not be a barrier or an inconvenience. They are a story of their own, waiting for you to take the time to read them.