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    Shutting Down or Opening Up? Reflections from Yosemite on the 16-day Government Shutdown

    By Ron Kauk

    Yosemite_Kauk_2
     
    I stood in wonder during a walk through the valley, at day 10 or something, as the exaggerated drama played out once again in this microcosm of America – a seven-mile long, mile-and-a-half wide sacred place on earth. It was as if the place could hear itself think, or simply just talk the real language of thousands of years between trees, plants, animals, rivers and rocks.
     
    I was in awe of this feeling, the power of such a place that hosts over 4 million people a year. At the end of every summer, I feel as though it’s becoming harder and harder for the valley to absorb the impact of human stress and disconnect.

    [Above: El Capitan peaks out of the trees. All of the photos in this story were taken by Ron Kauk (himself a Yosemite resident) while the park was closed to the public.]

    Continue reading "Shutting Down or Opening Up? Reflections from Yosemite on the 16-day Government Shutdown" »

    Yosemite Dispatches with Ron Kauk: Sacred Rok Summer

    Sunrise_fire

    It’s been a nice summer.  Sacred Rok had four camping trips, two in Yosemite Valley in May and June and two at Tuolumne Meadows in July and August.

    Editor's note: Last December we started a new series, Yosemite Dispatches,with longtime Patagonia ambassador Ron Kauk. In his April dispatch, Ron described a new summer project called Sacred Rok. Today, Ron fills us in on how the summer went and how Sacred Rok affected the young people who visited Yosemite Valley, many for the first time. Stay tuned for more summer stories all this week on The Cleanest Line.

    On our last trip, we had seven teens from Merced County foster care. We camped at Tuolumne Meadows Campground. I got to share, with those from the group who got up early, my ritual of greeting the sun with my campfire. It was good to see Rafael smiling and enjoying the fire and the sunrise, something that he might not forget for a long time.

    [Ron Kauk watches the sun rise on another day in his Tuolumne Meadows camp. All photos courtesy of Sacred Rok]

    Continue reading "Yosemite Dispatches with Ron Kauk: Sacred Rok Summer" »

    Yosemite Dispatches with Ron Kauk: Sacred Rok

    March 31 079 2 

    In today's audio dispatch, our friend and ambassador Ron Kauk introduces a new non-profit project he's been working on with Kenji Hakuta, professor of education at Stanford University.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to "Sacred Rok" (MP3 - right-click to download)

    Sacred Rok provides the chance for small groups of young people between the ages of 14 and 21 to get to know the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park. To find out more, visit Sacred Rok and check out their Activities page and FAQ. You can keep in touch with this new and evolving collaboration by subscribing to the Sacred Rok Newsletter.

    Music: "Slow Recovery" by Sus Corez. If you live in the Ventura area, catch Sus playing at Great Pacific Iron Works on April 17 for the Art Walk event with Patagonia's T-shirt artists.

    [El Cap on the morning of March 31, 2010 ... springtime in the Valley. Photo: Ron Kauk. Apologies to Ron for the long production time on this dispatch.]

    Yosemite Dispatches with Ron Kauk: Learning to Walk Again

     El_Cap_Jan_2010_3

    Climbing and yoga are often compared for their ability to transport us into the moment. In today's dispatch, Ron touches on both disciplines and another activity that connects them.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Learning to Walk Again"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - music: "Chuya" by Sus Corez)

    Return to Balance: A Climber's Journey is available through the Ansel Adams Gallery.

    ["A few days ago, enjoying the base of El Cap during our ongoing storm." Photo: Ron Kauk]

    Yosemite Dispatches with Ron Kauk: The Next Hold

    image from www.patagonia.com

    At the age of 14, Patagonia ambassador Ron Kauk left for a 20-day backpacking trip through the Sierra with a high school group and the hook that would tie him to large, expansive spaces was set. After that trip, he didn't want to ride bikes with the other teenagers. He wanted to rappel. He traveled to Yosemite in 1972, signed up for a rock climbing class and has been living there ever since.

    Ron has been pushing the limits of free climbing worldwide for three decades: from the first ascent of Astroman and Midnight Lightning in the late '70s to the first 5.14 in the Valley in the '90s. Focused and passionate, he is a minimalist, well-grounded in all aspects of the rock. And when he's not climbing, Ron works to protect Yosemite from over-development and abuse.

    "It's important to me to inspire people to get out in nature," he says. "I like to question: What's influencing them? What will get them out there? That's what I'm interested in."

    Today we bring you the first in a series of audio dispatches from Ron and his home in the Yosemite Valley. Some of you may already be following Yosemite Bob on Twitter. Now we have another voice in the Valley and another way to keep the magic of Yosemite a little closer to our hearts and our daily lives.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Next Hold" (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Music: "Big Sur A.M." by Sus Corez

    For more from Ron, check out his DVD Return to Balance: A Climber's Journey available through the Ansel Adams Gallery.

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