Thursday, October 28, 2010

Passport Books in Yosemite

Today we made our last trip into Yosemite for this year. One of our goals had to do with the National Park Passport Program. For those that aren't familiar with it, the National Parks all have a "passport stamp" (or cancellation stamp) that shows the date and location, and sometimes includes a graphic. The bigger parks have several stamps, usually one per visitor center. If you want to collect these stamps, you just stamp them into a book that is available in the gift shops. Here's what a stamped page from my book looks like:

John got me interested in getting these stamps -- he had been a collector for years. So I bought the standard sized passport book (above), and have been getting stamps for about 3 years.

But after a while, the book became too small -- there just wasn't enough space for all the stamps. I had already gotten two of the small books, removed their spiral spines, and melded them together with some binder rings. It still wasn't enough, so now I needed to take the next step. I needed to get the larger, passport-on-steroids version that they sell. It features a zippered binder, add-on pages that can be easily slipped in where needed, and it is just plain bigger so it is able to hold many more cancellations.

In other words, I needed to go to the "Big Girl" book. So we headed to the main Visitor Center/Bookstore in Yosemite Valley to get my upgrade.

Yosemite Park is not a lightweight when it comes to our fabulous National Park system. 3.7 million visitors go there each year. John Muir, Galen Clark, Ansel Adams -- all were enthralled with the beauty and elegance of Yosemite landmarks such as El Capitan, Half-dome, Yosemite Falls, and the Giant Sequoias. It is one of the gems of the park system.

So you'd think they would have the large version of the passport book, wouldn't you? Alas, they "don't carry it," only the small version.

Dejected and dismayed, I was forced to leave without my "Big Girl Book." But there are lots of National Parks, and soon I will find the book in one of them -- but then, of course, I'll need to do some more "arts and crafts" to incorporate my little pages into the big book!

Today was a beautiful day in the park, and despite the book fiasco, we had a wonderful time. There was quite a bit of water for October -- the Merced was running full, and Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls (the upper and lower falls can be seen in the photo above) were flowing nicely. They tell us that the best time to see these falls is in the Spring -- maybe next time we'll come then.

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