There were too many people, of course. It was busy and we were crawling everywhere. It drove me nuts, all those elbows and yelling and climbing on things and hitting the trees with sticks.

It also didn’t matter at all. It’s still a spectacular place. Even after all my people have done to take it, conquer it, tame it, change it and overrun it, it has retained a dignity that defies all our efforts. It’s a timeless place, I think, one that can be seen over and over again without ever really being seen at all. How many people have stood at Glacier Point and felt their heart beat against their ribs, really beat, for the first time? How many people have stood in the shadow of El Capitan and known greatness, once and for all? It loses none of its allure, no matter how often you visit and no matter how long it’s been.

That’s true for me, I think. I always leave regretful for all the ways I didn’t know it, in all its beautiful and tragic and glorious history, and changed for the ways I did.