'There’s something sacred about this place'

obama-party-yosemite-nps.jpgObama party in Yosemite Valley on Sunday. National Park Service.

President Obama and his family spent Fathers Day weekend in Yosemite Valley and appeared to be appropriately blown away by the surroundings. They arrived late Friday by helicopter in Ahwahnee Meadow — I count at least four military helicopters landing in the valley, which had to put up a heck of a racket in the granite walls. Aircraft are generally not allowed to operate in Yosemite National Park, for obvious reasons. The Obamas apparently stayed overnight at the hotel formerly known as the Ahwahnee, and before leaving on Sunday had visited at least Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Bridge, Happy Isles and the Mist Trail, which leads to Vernal Fall. Accordng to the White House press pool report, on Saturday the Obamas were driven up to a trailhead on the Glacier Point road and hiked down to the valley floor. Park visitors were kept off the trail while the president, first lady and daughters Malia and Sasha hiked down.

Before going on the Saturday hike, President Obama gave a speech at Sentinel Bridge about the 100th anniversary of the national parks. He mentioned how climate change is already forcing adaptations to the native range of species in Yosemite and causing the park's formerly largest glacier to be almost gone. I probably wasn't the only one who wish he would have announced an executive order striking the name Majestic Yosemite Hotel and whatever they were forced to rename Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village.

It was the first weekend of the summer season and no doubt there also were many displaced or inconvenienced tourists — and one whopper of an Obamajam.

Friday's late afternoon arrival via the Fresno Bee.

The family's Fathers Day card.

Former LA journalist Guy McCarthy's photo of Highway 108 on Friday, in the Sonora Union-Democrat.


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