I packed my clan into the minivan at Mammoth before sunrise and headed north, hauling a borrowed tent-trailer and a stack of bikes strapped to a thirty-dollar rack I got on Craigslist. Deep quietness settled over me as we pushed up the 120 off 395, east of Lee Vining. The kids were sleeping. I was chugging Italian Roast from a Thermos watching the RPMs groan toward the 4's and 5's crawling up the road at 30-40 mph. The sleepy mountains watched me, like body guards, as I cut a timid trail through their muscular formations leading toward camp.

My heart swelling with coffee and mountains.


Beauty is essential to God. No—that's not putting it strongly enough. Beauty is the essence of God.John Eldredge


First Light on Red Mountains off 395 East of Lee Vining

First Light on Red Mountains off 395 East of Lee Vining


The mountains are calling and I must go.John Muir


Thankfully, I married into the legendary ritual of camp acquisitions established by my Father-in-Law. A process as solid and reliable as the granite formations that bring me back to Yosemite time and time again.

Camp Guardian: Bald Eagle in Tuolomne Meadows

Camp Guardian: Bald Eagle in Tuolumne Meadows

Dawn at Tuolomne Meadows

Dawn Patrol Camp Site Scouting at Tuolumne Meadows

Enjoying the View, Sipping on Half Dome California Wheat: Smoke from the El Portal Fire and Rain Clouds

Enjoying the view, Sipping on Half Dome California Wheat: Smoke from the El Portal Fire and Rain Clouds


Madness does not come by breaking out, but by giving in; by settling down in some dirty, little, self-repeating circle of ideas; by being tamed.G.K. Chesterton


This year's trip was new. It was new frontier because I had not been to Yosemite with an awakened heart until this time. I'd always loved Yosemite. The lush beauty of thick pine forests receding to expose the Earth's balding bulges of granite. But this time I had a greater awareness of God's playfulness and constant effort to engage me through beauty, through the outside. His shameless, persistent indulgence in extravagant beauty surprised me countless times throughout the week.

And it was more than (fill-in-the-blank). It was unpredictable. Saturated with life. Like a sponge that never dried out.

I still feel the residual rest, right now, while I'm writing about it.

Brookie, I think. Small, but Mighty. He took a Blue-Winged Olive Ext-Body

Brookie, I think. Small, but Mighty. He took a Blue-Winged Olive Ext-Body