Yosemite’s last grizzly bear?

I love Twitter. I’m not on it all the time, but sometimes it’s amazing the cool things you read and discover there. This came from YosemiteSteve, the talented creator of the Yosemite Nature Notes films who apparently has a Grizzly bear project kicking around his mind. I’m hopeful that we’ll all get to benefit from that eventually, but for now, I was just interested in the story of what might have been the last grizzly killed in Yosemite, back in 1887. Steve posted a link to the original hand-written letter from RJ Wellman to Joseph Grinnel, and the rough transcription that I made of it is below.

A few things that caught my attention:
– Although Wellman has a great deal of respect and admiration for the grizzly, his thoughts about wolves and cats aren’t nearly so generous.
– Two guys milled a tree, packed the lumber on a mule and built a scaffold 10 feet off the ground in one day, and I wonder what kind of tools they were using.
– Wolves and wolverines!
– The letter written on April 20, 1918, was finally received June 19. I wonder if they thought a two-month transit time was fast or frustrating.

Notes on the transcript:
I tried to preserve the spellings where I could make out the letters, and things I couldn’t figure out are noted with [brackets]. I could probably have figured out more, but was more interested in the spirit of the story, which I think comes through clearly regardless.

Read more

Yosemite Nature Notes evening presentation

Yesterday I did something that I rarely make the time to do – I went to one of the Evening Programs put on by either NPS or DNC Interpretation. After a long day at work, it can be hard to motivate for anything other than a relaxing evening at home. However, this program was being … Read more

Stories of Yosemite People

I had the good fortune, a few months ago, of running into Lynne Joiner, an Emmy-award winning journalist and author who was visiting Yosemite and had the kernel of an idea to write a story about the people living and working in Yosemite after stumbling across one or two employees with an interesting history. She … Read more

Tuolumne Snow

Lately, the weather keeps conspiring to precipitate on weekends only. Tioga keeps closing, and then re-opening in the sunny 60-70 degree weather during the middle of the week while I’m working. Fortunately, this weekend, the rain/snow forecast was a bit late in coming, and even though we slept in until almost noon, the road stayed … Read more

NaNoWriMo musings

I finished! During the month of November, I and more than 32,000 other people around the world each completed 50,000 words of fiction. This was just over 19% of the people who signed up. Collectively, according to the NaNoWriMo stats, the word count of everyone who participated and uploaded their writings to the NaNo web … Read more

Pumpkin Prince

With Halloween coming up, with the ever-looming prospect of kids with too much candy on their hands, I thought I’d share a brilliant idea that a co-worker told me about. When she was growing up, she and her brother were allowed to eat as much candy as they wanted Halloween night, but then, all the … Read more

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle boils down to a book about a boy and his dogs. Edgar is born mute, to a family of passionate dog breeders, dedicated to breeding the perfect companions – selecting dogs for certain elusive qualities that make them soulmates – or something else that is just beyond defining. Trouble starts when Edgar’s uncle, Claude, returns to town. Edgar’s father, Gar, dies mysteriously, and then Claude starts to manuver into his place, capturing his mother’s (Trudy) affections. Edgar is forced to run away into the Chequamagon with 3 of his dogs – learning to survive in the woods on his own.

It’s a good read, not the kind of book that I can’t put down at night, but it moved along quickly and easily for a volume or its size. I finished the book tonight, was surprised by the ending, and am still trying to make sense of it. It will be a good book to discuss at our book club, whenever we get around to officially reading that one.

Spoiler Alert: if you don’t care

Read more

Types of Stories

I’ve been thinking about storytelling lately – to the point that I’m ready to commit to writing a NaNoWriMo novel in November (although who knows how committed I’ll be by the time November actually rolls around). So, I was especially interested when a conversation with an accomplished film-maker turned to story archetypes.

Read more