July 19th, 6:16pm
For Adonia Ripple, Yosemite was an instant pull—a magnet that drew her in and has not let go. She came to work as a mountain guide, back when ‘everything she owned was in a car & life was simple.’ In reflecting on her experience, she says:
“I think that happens for a lot of people, this incredible pull… Yosemite is about scale and humility, and this idea that you are standing in such an incredible depth of geologic time, that the petty details of your life just evaporates here. I really feel like the perspective… of being around so much ancient earth in such a magnificent and captivating display… you just can’t help but feel really small. But at the same turn, feel really empowered. Because through climbing and skiing and getting on top of things, and challenging your human form, which this landscape also provides… you can’t help but gain perspective. You’re at once so empowered, and at once so humiliated, by the scale and the awe and the ‘oh my god, we are but specks in the span of this geologic story’ that is right here, that you can just feel…"
Today, Adonia works as the General Manager of Operations at Yosemite Conservancy, the first organization of its kind to support parks when it was formed in 1923. And YC covers a LOT of ground: managing all park stores and a publishing program, organizing park volunteers, funding park improvement projects, and even leading outdoor adventures for hikers and climbers, administering wilderness permits, and offering a live theater program 6 nights/week in Yosemite Valley.
And she is passing on her own Yosemite experience by raising her family in nearby El Portal, a community of park employees just outside the West entrance, along the Merced River. “People live and work in Yosemite because they enjoy being paid in sunrises and sunsets, and the amount of time they get dust on our feet.” Her children go to school right in El Portal, free of consumer distraction, playing baseball next to the lower Yosemite Falls. We’re excited to join the El Portal taco night this Thursday!