A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shattered Memories

I parked the Little House on the Highway in the parking lot at Camp Curry.  That's just about the only place one can park a car and leave it without having a campsite, tent cabin or hotel room.  I didn't take any pictures of Camp Curry...too touristy, and hoards of people.  Imagine finding an ant hill and poking a stick down the hole a few times then wait thirty seconds.  This gives you an idea of all the people milling around Camp Curry.  Come summer vacation time and the entire Valley will be that way.

I rode my bicycle across the meadow (on a boardwalk) over to Stoneman Bridge where all us kids hung out back in the early 1960's.  I forgot to take a ground view of the bridge as I was so excited to revisit all the old places I enjoyed as a kid.  This is the Ahwahnee Bridge upstream and Stoneman Bridge looks exactly the same.

I remember we'd hold the biggest rock we could and try to walk all the way across the river, underwater, without having to let go of the rock and come up for air.  A real challenge for me as that water was cold.  We'd start here on the beach...

and come out over here.  That deep hole was the fun part.  It was fun to watch from up here on the bridge.

But it was more fun just to hang out on the bridge itself and jump or dive off into the water.

Hmm...looks like the Park Service has but a stop to that simple pleasure.

I continued on to the other side of the bridge to visit our old campground...

and it was gone!  Completely vanished as if it had never existed!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Then it came back to me, the Great Flood and the campgrounds that washed away.  But I didn't know it was my campground!

Right there, somewhere there just past those trees is where we camped year after year...all gone.
A lump formed in my throat and I wondered if there would be tears.

I turned and looked across the bridge (now on Ahwahnee Bridge I showed above) to view the sandy beach we as kids hung out on when not at Stoneman Bridge.  Gone, completely overgrown with trees and grass.  My heart sank.

Here was where I kissed my first girl.  She was a couple years older than I.  She was experienced in making out.  I was not.  A boy never forgets the first girl he kisses.  I came away from that vacation knowing a lot more than I did going in.  Thank you Sharon wherever you are.

A young Japanese couple were here when I was taking these pictures.  They spoke no English but he made it clear his offer to take a picture of me with my camera.  I told him no thank you.  I was too gutted.  Instead I took a couple pictures of them with their camera and I am sure those photos will mean a lot more to them, remembrances of a happy time in a happy place.  I am content with the happy images in my mind, images of another time in a place not like this.  Images slowly fading, 50 years on.


  1. Oh the old stone bridge is beautiful. I smiled at certain other comments; we all have memories to hold onto.

  2. Ha,ha,sometimes it is better not to visit places from long ago. It can be disappointing to see how things have changed. I like you posts and the humor of your texts.

  3. John, I almost had tears in my eyes reading about the broken dreams! It is too sad - when you think that the kids today will never know the simple pleasures we did - and they will never know they are missing them - how sad is that! But then, your memory of the first girl you kissed made me smile...I think you are right. We always remember our first! Have a great day John, and thanks for sharing your memories with us!

  4. I'm so sorry about your childhood vacation spot, John, it must have been a devastating flood for the area. The stone bridge is beautiful & the water is so green, gorgeous! =)

  5. Bud is back safe and sound...this one was qround out area. That way he could call and say “I need caffeine.” In July he will be gone for 2-3 weeks up in Main and New Hampshire...I think. His plans change with the days. I think I am going to hit the road, too. I want to go back to Great smoky Mt. National Park. My furst husband designed Smokemont which is the campground near Gatlinburg. Then hit the cemetery in Asheville where family are buried. The first hike he took I put on the AT and then I drove to Dulles and hopped my first of many, many flights to England. We both had memorable experiences. I just cannot keep up with him on the trail. I think I would have dried if I saw “my spot” gone. At least you stillhave the memories. It is GREAT being off work. Am on porch listening to creek and birds and drinking a root beer. Life is good. genie

  6. it is always hard to go back to places that have been changed. after they finally tore down the old farmhouse i was raised in my first 13 yrs, i felt such a loss.

  7. I enjoyed reading your post very much. It is great to revisit places from our youth, but they seldom remain exactly the same. Time does march on and change is inevitable.
    The area is still a very beautiful place.

  8. Sorry so much has changed for you John but at least you still have the memories-they can't take them away from you. Beautiful pictures. How deep is the water where you used to dive off the bridge?


  9. Oh, wonderful memories of good times. It seems whenever I've returned to my childhood haunts, nothing remains as it was. And that is probably as it should be.

  10. Great post, and lots of things here we can all relate to. Sometimes there is no going back... and when you do, the magic that existed when you were younger is gone. Hopefully it moves on to a new place for someone else to enjoy.


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