Mariposa Life

Debbie Croft: Hiking for fun, racing for life

Debbie Croft

Yosemite Adventures offers opportunities for hiking, photography and painting this weekend.

"Connect with the natural world of Yosemite on a guided hiking tour; develop your composition skills while photographing with a professional Yosemite photographer," as stated on the Web site.

Birding tours and custom hikes are available mostly every day of the year, for large or small groups, to many locations in the park and surrounding areas. Imagine hiking to the top of a waterfall, walking among the giant Sequoias or picnicking beside a rushing river. Full-day and half-day tours are always led by professional naturalist guides with extensive knowledge and experience. (Guides are also trained in CPR and first aid.)

"Painting Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy en Plein Air" is one event going on this weekend, when artistic souls will gain fresh perspective while learning about geology, flora, fauna, atmosphere and light relating to painting. They can then translate those elements through the paint brush to create more life-like and interpretive works of art. Photography workshops held with professional photographers are also taking place during the next few days.

For details including prices and schedules, contact Catherine at (800) 886-8009 or visit the Web site at yexplore.com.

Discover Yosemite offers daily tours, as well, with their popular Wine Trail Tour on the calendar for this weekend. Beginning next month its summertime schedule will include the awe-inspiring sunset and full-moon tours. Call Jennifer at (800) 585-0565 or check out discoveryosemite.com for more info.

Some tours provide drinks or other amenities, but visitors are encouraged to find out beforehand what to bring, such as your own equipment and supplies (for painting and photography), sun block, extra water, etc., and what kind of clothing and shoes to wear.

In the words of John Muir almost a century ago, "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity, and that mountain parks are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

And speaking of life ...

The Mariposa Relay for Life event will be held at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds this weekend, beginning at 9 a.m. today, and lasting until 9 a.m. tomorrow. Cancer survivors with their families and friends have been holding fund-raising sales of every kind in Mariposa for the past few months, to increase awareness and to bring in funds for ongoing cancer research.

Twenty-four teams have been formed from all over the area, including Cathey's Valley and Snelling. And the team names say it all: Cancer Crushin' Kidz, Methodist Circuit Walkers, Miwoks for A Cure, and Pioneer Market Trailblazers. Over $16,000 has been raised so far by the 450 participants.

Competition is ongoing, from the Road to Recovery Car Show and Race to the dancing and activities held throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

A football autographed by Logan Mankins, guard for the NFL Patriots (who graduated from Mariposa County High School), will be raffled, and luminaries may be bought in honor of or in memory of a loved one who's been touched by cancer.

For more information about the event, or to find out how you can get involved, please visit the Web site: main.acsevents.org, or call one of the following Mariposa Relay for Life officers: Jenni Meadows at (209) 966-3609 or (209) 742-7520, or Ginny Carpenter at (209) 966-5691.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@tds.net.

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