More memories of Yosemite, John Muir and Maine Unity College

“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter”

How I enjoyed a wonderful trip to the USA when I retired from the RAF. I was invited out and had a great 3 months looking back it was incredible. I was at the Unity College in Maine where I was there key note speaker at their weekly lecture. It was an incredible insight into the life of this environmental college.




At Unity College, we’re giving students the tools to become environmental professionals. We’re focused on the imperative of sustainability science—in the classroom and in the real world. Unity provides students with an exceptional education that meets the demands of an earth and an economy in crisis. We are America’s Environmental College.

Our emphasis on experiential learning is rooted in a framework of sustainability science. No matter what your major, you’ll learn to consider all of the angles through our transdisciplinary approach to education. At our college of environmental science, we pride ourselves on turning our students into the problem solvers of tomorrow.

– See more at:


Unity Coledge Maine

Unity Centre Maine – a great 6 weeks.

After this and it was a story its own I visited my brother in Bernuda for two weeks and did a lecture out there as well. I then flew to Yosemite for a month with the Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR)



This was a great adventure the YOSAR were very busy with staff training and I had a few days to explore. Half Dome was interesting in the snow and some incredible walks in this special place. I got involved in a rescue and did a lecture for the team on Scottish Mountain Rescue (another story)

Yosemite throw bag technique!

Yosemite throw bag technique!

Every day the wild life is amazing with so much to see in the National Park. The bears were just awaking from the winter and we saw many of them. I walked climbed and had so much fun met so many incredible people. The highlight was that this was the land of my hero John Muir and exiled Scott who did so much for the environment.  I thought I knew a lot about John Muir but I found our so much from my visit. This is a land of great beauty truly “the University of wilderness” I cannot thank Lee enough who acted this out weekly at the Yosemite Stage.  I so enjoyed it I made sure I was at everyone I  could see no matter how tired I was.

Lee Stetson a great John Muir!

Lee Stetson a great John Muir!

I spent time with the climbers at Camp 4 many were the rope guns for the YOSAR Mountain Rescue Team great people who support the team on big Wall Rescues and Searches.

The John Muir Lectures by Lee Stetson a moving series on the work of John Muir in Yosemite

The John Muir Lectures by Lee Stetson a moving series on the work of John Muir in Yosemite. These lectures really helped me understand the incredible work done by John Muir.

John Muir has inspired Yosemite’s travelers to see under the surface through his poetic imagery: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.” Muir, who came to California seeking the solitude of nature, decided to stay—dabbling as a glaciologist, a wilderness activist, and a writer who published persuasive ecological articles with a quill made from a golden eagle feather found on Yosemite’s Mount Hoffmann.

2008 Sierra Nevada Flowers 2

Born in Scotland in 1838, Muir immigrated to Wisconsin with his family when he was 11 years old. Life on the homestead did not inspire him, and Muir soon found employment in a factory. The change proved to be inspiring but in an entirely unexpected way. After he was nearly blinded by an industrial accident, Muir found himself driven to learn everything he could about a world unaltered by man or machine. He briefly studied natural sciences at the University of Wisconsin but, ultimately, chose to spend his lifetime enrolled in what he called the “University of Wilderness.”

Indian Paintbrush Yosemite!

Indian Paintbrush Yosemite!

I look back and learned so much on this trip I did some grey walks and climbs but to be away early at first light and see the wildlife and huge waterfalls was inspiration. I was at peace in these huge hills and as it was so early I only met a few people on the way and a some with incredible plans! It was a great change to meet these free spirits, there were so many I did not feel out of place all were so friendly and fearless!


Early morning epics on Yosemite Falls

Early morning epics on Yosemite Falls by some great characters!

The  journey through the USA  the beauty of this place the massive trees , changing weather in these huge mountains made this a huge influence on me.  I cannot thank those people who made it so special for me  – never put off such a trip go and see the beauty of nature and some incredible people.

The power of nature!

The power of nature!


The Taboo against Knowing Who You Are

“To spend a lengthy period alone in the forest or mountains, a period of coming to terms with the solitude and non – humanity of nature to discover who, or what, one really is – discovery hardly possible while the community is telling you what you are or ought to be”





About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Friends, Plants, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.