August 4, 2019

We drove from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park at around nine that morning and arrived just before noon. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, set up camp, and drove to the visitor center in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite boasts not only some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes - granite cliffs carved over millions of years by glacial melting with waterfalls still pouring over the cliffs and into the basins in the valley far below where they meet the flowering meadows that feed wildlife such as bears, deer, bobcats, and bighorn sheep among others. Yosemite also has more recreational options to enjoy these gorgeous views than many other parks, with organized hikes and stargazing every day, wildlife discovery tours, art classes and theatre shows, and many others. In Yosemite Valley around the visitor center you can find all of the organizations that work to create and put on these various recreation activities, of which we signed up for two classes and made plans to watch a show and take a wildlife tour that would be happening in our campground over the next week. We stayed in the valley that day until the show “Yosemite through the eyes of a Buffalo soldier,” which was put on in the theatre by the Yosemite Conservancy which raises money the public which it gives back to the park in the form of grants. The benefit of giving this money in grants is that it gets to ensure that the money is being best spent to benefit the public and the park for decades to come, whereas money given directly to the park might be spent based on the agenda of the administration (ie the president) that is currently presiding over the fate of the park. The play was amateur but educational, which is to be expected when you’re attending a show of this nature. I walked away understanding who the buffalo soldiers were much more than I had before. Prior to the show I was under the impression that buffalo soldiers were, like a vast majority of the military at the time, white men, and thought that they were sent there to drive Native Americans off of their land so that the federal government could lay claim to it. Rather, ‘buffalo soldier’ was a Native American given name for a group of black soldiers assigned to protect the park after the land had already been taken. Just as with most American history, there were large pieces of the story missing.

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