Yosemite National Park's 125th Anniversary Kick-Off

Make for Lower Yosemite Fall for stirring words, great views.

WHAT DO YOU GET... something that has everything? Some of the planet's most photographed waterfalls, some of the most recognizable granite hunks in this Solar System, and a valley floor that has frequently been compared to fictional places only found in books and daydreams? There really isn't a shop that exists that will have just the right gift or greeting card. But you're not expected to show with a wrapped package for Yosemite National Park's 125th anniversary; as always, fans and visitors and those who care for the precious wild expanse are the ones getting the gift. It's a gooey emotion, all righty, but we refuse to wipe away any excess goo. Stand before El Capitan during a winter's sunset and that all-is-right-with-the-world feeling comes as an automatic courtesy. Tromp about the Merced River or watch a moonbow in a water fall -- a rainbow by moonbeam, of course -- and you know that Yosemite can't help but keep on giving. So whatever will we humans do for the anniversary celebrating all of those ginormous pine cones and hiking trails and meadows and vistas? Well, we can make for Lower Yosemite Fall's special viewing area on...

TUESDAY, MARCH 24: Park officials will be launching the 125th anniversary celebrations with speeches, a special appearance by Ranger Gabriel (who "became an honorary ranger last summer through Make-A-Wish America"), cake, and a cameo by the Mounted Patrol. There are more memorable moments to come during this year, with an asterisk by October 1. Of course, yes, absolutely, Half Dome and Glacier Point were around a wee bit before President Benjamin Harrison put pen to legislation in 1890, making Yosemite the country's third national park. But protections for Half Dome and the surrounding lands were put in place, allowing all people onward to experience the park in a fully nature-encompassing fashion. That's a pretty nifty thing, and things are bound to get niftier the year after Yosemite's 125: The National Park Service marks its centennial in 2016.

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