From the Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona series

By Mark Reed


I enjoy the reminiscing of the fond memories of Wawona. For some of us, this is a big part of who we are.

I remember looking out the window of my parents’ station wagon at the unbelievable white snow-covered mountains. I remember listening to the chains rattling in the wheel wells and the excitement of my brothers and sisters as we slowly made our way to Badger Pass. I remember the everlasting impression the young snow-covered pine trees made on a small child. For this small child, they were the monks of Yosemite looking over the land and the animals that lived there. They were there to greet the visitors in the winter and remind all that passed, this land is truly the creator’s church.

I remember the long winter walks at night with my father in Wawona. The snow-covered ground made that special sound like no other. The crisp clean smell of the air that could only be found in the high country. Holding my father’s hand as we walked through the night knowing that he was there to protect me. You see, he was my hero for showing me and teaching me about places beyond our house in Los Angeles. This place for me was better than church on Sunday.

I have six brothers, four sisters and we all spent Christmas every year in Wawona. I must have been seven the first time I remember coming here. I still have some of the old Super 8 film clips of our trips here. As the years passed the winter snow came later and later but we still came every year. I have thousands of memories here that are priceless. Because of my parents, I continued the tradition of coming to Wawona with my wife and children.

As the years passed I remember looking at my wife and saying; “We need to buy a cabin before we can’t afford to.” You see I wanted to guarantee my great-great-great-great grandchildren’s opportunity to create some of the memories we are sharing here now. So we looked around. I remember going into the Black Oak Lodge (10N). I walked around and walked out. This cabin was a mess and was going to take a lot of work. So we continued to look for one more year. Well our search made full circle and we ended back at the Black Oak Lodge. This cabin was on the market for years with no interested buyers but, as soon as we opened escrow three offers came in right behind us.

This cabin finally found the family it was looking for. We started work on it right away. All the work has been done by my wife and myself with a little help from some friends. So this cabin has become a part of us for generations to come and we will be there to greet them in spirit.

Our cabin is more than just an investment and renting to others is more than just a financial gain. We are giving back to others what we have been given. We are sharing something so personal. We are sharing our hearts with strangers, not ever knowing their stories that they are sharing with each other. They are there, even though we cannot hear them. We can just be assured this place will have the same effect on others.

One last thing: this land was my brothers’ and sisters’ long before we came to know it. We do not believe in the ownership of the land. We are just stewards for a short period of time. We have an obligation to this land to protect it and we are in the unique position to do that for a long time. I am part Mohawk/Apache so I have a natural distrust for any angle whose sole purpose is to exploit for monetary gain. I do live in today’s world so I understand the need for compensation for the use of our homes and Yosemite but, the question always has to be asked “At what cost?”

Finally, the Black Oak Lodge is one of the original cabins of the Bruce Estates and it was a grand home. Does anyone have pictures of what it used to look like?

Last but not least, I have enjoyed talking to some of the original families of Wawona. The stories and accounts of times past cannot be found in any books. So to the new cabin owners: reach out and talk to your elders of Wawona. Become connected to a land that cannot be matched by any other.

From our hearts to yours.


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