The Beauty and the Horror

Picture: Sunset light on Half Dome above Cooks Meadow, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

This picture makes me so angry. Well, it’s not really the picture that makes me angry, but rather the memory that it evokes. Now I think you’d all agree that Yosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. I was fortunate to spend a few days there last week teaching a private workshop. This was our last sunset of the trip, and there was a really beautiful display of golden Sierra light, like I’d never seen before.

But none of that is what makes me angry. What just boils my blood, and makes me think that public flogging should be brought back, is that in the middle of this beautiful meadow, just yards from my camera, I found a soiled diaper that some MORON left laying in a tuft of grass.

Fortunately, I had my snow shovel in the back of my truck, so I scooped up the diaper and carried it to the garbage can across the street, a mere 70 yards away. That’s bad enough, but the horrific fact is that was the second diaper I’d had to pick up from the same location. The first one I’d found the day before lying just along the edge of the parking area. In this case, some MORON wasn’t able to navagate the 20 feet to the garbage can.

How some people can have so little regard, be so lazy, and be so disrespectful to the landscape and other park visitors is simply beyond me. Now every time I think about this meadow, I have to think about the diapers that I found there. I curse these people, and few do I ever wish bad kharma upon, but these idiots have soiled my personal vision and experience way more than any amount of respectful summertime crowds could possibly do.

(Insert stream of bad words here….)

If anyone knows people within the Parks Management and Conservation arenas, please feel free to forward them a link back to this story. Perhaps there can be something done to raise public awareness even further, like when the local cemetary that puts wrecked cars out in front the week before graduation.

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9 Comments on “The Beauty and the Horror”

  1. Nature Ali Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Gary’s observation and anger. I live in an area that so many spoiled consumers despoil with their lazy and disrespectful antics, from littering to hunting in wildlife sanctuaries, to cutting trails. It is such a shame that we have to continuously legislate what is just common sense. Passing laws restricting bad behavior always ends up punishing the people who never would even think of doing such idiotic things to begin with.

  2. Jim Goldstein Says:

    Now my morning mood has turned to disgust. I’ve found some random things in various national parks, but nothing like this. Sadly this brings back memories to all of them. The last was in Badwater Death Valley… a submerged air deodorizer wrapper in the water… along with various bottle caps. It is beyond me how people can be so thoughtless. The diaper in the meadow story is among the worst I’ve heard.

  3. Raoul Says:

    People are pretty good to the environment here in the States. You should see the nasties they throw into nature in other countries. I think Gary would have a heart attack if he saw some of that stuff…

  4. Peter T. Says:

    Somehow, I find it hard to believe that anyone, even a moron, would dispose of a used diaper in such a manner in the middle of Cook’s meadow.

    I think this might be more of a case of someone’s trashcan, probably a permanent resident’s who lives in nearby Yosemite Village, being raided by a wild animal that’s attracted by the scent or color of the diaper. A raven, vulture, coyote, or raccoon perhaps?

    The trashcans located the visitors lodging, parking, and picnic areas are very secure, so I doubt it could come from those. But I’ve noticed in past visits, that some of trashcans around the permanent residents housing were of the older, less secure variety — ones that could more easily be raided by the wild animals of the park.

  5. Peter T. Says:

    Another source of the diapers could also be from trash receptacles located INSIDE the new men and women restrooms located where the old Lower Yosemite Falls parking lot used to be.

    While the restrooms are a bit farther from Cook’s Meadows than Yosemite Village, if a restroom door was left propped open for whatever reason, that would give wild animals like raccoons and coyotes easy access to the unsecured trash receptacles located inside the restrooms.

    These restrooms are the most likely place where visitors would change the diapers of their babies around Cook’s Meadow.

  6. enlightphoto Says:


    Thanks fo ryour thoughts. This possibility was brought up elsewhere. I’ve still got two young kids at home, and it hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on diaper duty (not: doodie). I can see the one near the road being a possible accidental dropping (not: droppings). The one in the field was relatively new, had no animal marks or tears, and wasn’t even near a place where a changing blanket could be laid down flat. My best guess or assumption would be that it was tossed into the area of deeper tufted grass.

    Cheers, and thanks so much for taking the time to add your comments. Always appreciated…


  7. Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images » Blog Archive » Photo: My ‘replacement’ memory, Yosemite Valley Says:

    […] This is the photo that I try to keep in mind following my “diapers” incident. […]

  8. Lou Says:

    Ha. Fortunately, diapers are not all that common in the wild. My pet peeve is the little swatch of toilet paper that women use, even in the most remote places, to wipe themselves after peeing. You see them in places with no other trash at all. It’s like people think there is an exemption for trash that has touched their toucas. Can carrying a ziplock bag be all that difficult? If you have enough foresight to bring toilet paper how much extra foresight is involved in bringing a bag to keep it in?

  9. Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images » Blog Archive » Photo: Golden Band of Light on Half Dome Says:

    […] PS: This was before the diapers. Comment on this post: Copyright info for using or linking to the pictures. Please bookmark this post if you liked it and would like to share it with others. Thanks.            &nbs p;   Subscribe to feeds for Enlightened Images: Explore posts in the same categories: Photos, Travel, National Parks, California, Mountains, Clouds and Sky, Sunset […]

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