Meeting Gary Snyder in Tuolumne Meadows

Where: Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California
When: August 2, 2008

Spending a week in Yosemite National Park in July 2008, I happened to read in the park newsletter that Gary Snyder, a Zen Buddhist poet who has inspired me for a decade to climb mountains, study the Buddhist way, and to write poetry myself, was giving a reading and talk in Tuolumne Meadows on our final evening in the area. I had to be there!

Lembert Dome from near Soda Springs in Tuolumne Meadows

The reading was to be held at Parsons Memorial Lodge. The lodge, built in 1915, was crafted from the lodgepole pine and rocks harvested directly from the ground it rises from today.

Originally built as a meeting house for the Sierra Club, the lodge has also served for decades as a gathering place for tourists, hikers, backpackers and the like.

In 1889, John Muir conjured up the idea of Yosemite National Park while sitting at Soda Springs, only yards away from the lodge's front door. A special, historic place...and a perfect locale for the night's reading by Gary, a man considered by many to be a contemporary 'John of the Mountains'!
Parsons Memorial Lodge

With artist Tom Killian also speaking about collaborations he and Gary had done, including their recent book The High Sierra of California and an upcoming book about the many faces of San Francisco's Mount Tamalpais, Gary read several sections from his famous Mountains and Rivers Without End, a long poem that took 40 years to write.
Gary Snyder and me

It was a magnificent evening...!