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Issue #168, Yosemite and Emigrant Wilderness, California; as well as the Carson River, Carson, Nevada. (Part 5 of the Wild-Machen "Epic Road Trip of 2017") Haiku and photographs by Jonathan Machen.

balancing need
for action with Paige’s need
for relaxation

sheer concentration
humanity in nature
ice melts in cooler

this sanctuary
the most divine cathedral
center of the throng

a scale of grandeur
to everything on this trail
including the crowd

mist trail, vernal falls
soaked - totally surrounded
by happy people

the trail guide told us
not to bring small children here
he carries infant

severe frustration
to find so many people
blissed out on the trail

sublime landscape
even with so many tourists
obscuring my view

now I turn into
the idiot in the crowd
taking family photo

leaving bananas
and carving their names in moss
today’s worshipers

at least we are all
out here, sweating together
the new catharsis

collapsed on the trail
forgot her oxygen pump
they call 911

explaining John Muir
to my thirsty, tired kids:
put sunscreen on ear

demanding to know
how many miles we have left:
misplaced squirt bottle

the mighty Merced
flowing icy green and cold
squirrel nips my foot

kids, hot and tired
not wanting to hear about
the famous John Muir

stand right here - trust me
I tell the German tourists
as I take their photo

John Muir understood
that all who visited here
would be touched by light

Yosemite zoo:
see the species of tourists
feeding on the view

gigantic boulders
in the middle of the stream
hardly block the flow

John Muir, lucky man
to have avoided shuttle bus
on the way to the lake

what brings all people
of all nations together?
a landscape of one

with Mexican friends
jumping into the cold lake
all faiths united

everyone hoping
to take sacramental shot
with digital camera

ferns and butterflies
cool dappled sunlight on bark
white granite, black specks

dragonfly waltz
back and forth across the stream
kids whistle in reeds

hi! I’m a heathen
I think I’ll stick my tissue
into this tree knot

people disappear
and the full weight of nature
brings me to my knees

John Muir had it good
coming before the tourists
flocked to his namesake

matching green t-shirts
“May the forest be with you”:
black-kilted couple

in Yosemite
reconnecting with the source
of light and color

tethered to family,
perspiring behind strangers:
Yosemite zen

traffic jam on trail
leading up to waterfall
traffic noise below

family dynamics
and hot, steep dusty switchbacks
calls for more patience

survey marker shows
the age of humanity
compared to the rock

kids reminding me
of forgotten mishaps:
glasses in wipers

disaster unfolds
I try to take a left turn
he tries to pass me

Emigrant stillness
the sound of water on rock-
his cell phone music

surprise by the lake
six-petalled yellow flowers -
her hidden campsite

sierra snowpack
cascading down granite bowls
fishing rod breaks

walking in the woods
sorry to be intruding
on your perfect spot

your meditation
enhanced by my intrusion
on your sacred space

to be a river rat
wet, sunburned, thirsty and hot
adrenalin flows

smoke from Sierra fire
filters to Carson river
family floats ahead

in late afternoon
we eddy up to camp
kids play in hot springs

slow grace of the raft
loaded with our equipment
blister on my palm

rafting gear evolves
but the river stays the same
lizard suns on rock

surprised to find rock
that I was trying to avoid
now under my boat

eddies, boils, currents
the slow pace of the river -
scrub jays fight in trees

friend of 40 years
takes me back to rafting days -
ones he never left

now with my family
same old anxiety
I had as a kid

kids in hot springs pool
give it a good scouring -
brushes left behind

kids wondering why
their experienced rafting dad
is stuck on a rock

river’s slow embrace
seeps into our second day:
turkey vultures above

river rafters’ knots
honed with years of practice
tied without a thought

desert take-out
we disassemble the boats
and thoughts of the day

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen