The Cover Photo Is Kearsarge Pass Looking West
Often my civilian and clerical lives merge. As a cleric there is a kind of prophetic mindset. By this I don’t mean future telling as much as stating what is obvious but hidden. I don’t mean this in a critical sense either because it is all too easy to distort the prophetic role into that of a critic or simply a grumbler. The older we become, the easier it is to do this. At my age one has to be intentionally positive.
It is obvious to me, that most of the world, including Fresno County California residents, is not aware of the beauty that lies hidden in the mountains and wilderness of Fresno County. Much of this beauty is found along the wilderness trails of eastern Fresno County. We have become a nation that drives to beautiful places. The places I am referring to are not accessible by automobile. John Muir understood the importance and the need for humans to spend time in the wilderness. There is a twofold effect of immersing oneself in the wilderness. We need to be freed from the distract white noise of civilized living and once again attune to and reacquaint ourselves with the primitive sounds and smells of the wilderness. Once we have ‘acclimatized’, we have eyes to see and ears to hear once again. We are not blocking things out. We are taking things in.
I wrote this book to share what I have discovered in Fresno County California with those who are not familiar with her rugged beauty. It may seem odd to some that the combination of rock, trees and water can be so varied and wondrously beautiful. The primary purpose of this piece is to pass on beauty that is difficult to access and rarely shared in color in a digital format or black and white on the printed page. It would be too costly to produce a color version in paperback.
I am thankful that my health and fitness level allow me at the age of sixty nine, to continue to take on the effort required to find and experience the mountain passes that I am sharing. There is an emotional lift to reaching these high places where most will linger to chat with other mountain pilgrims. This work then is both educational and a sharing of the beauty that I have been able to capture in photographs. I hope others will be attracted by the beauty and see first-hand for themselves. I have offered suggested routes which are rough guidelines that are not intended to take the place of detailed maps. A wilderness permit from the agency that controls the entry point is required for all wilderness travel that requires an overnight stay. For those of you who are unable to travel the trails, this is an opportunity to see the beauty from your chair. Someday it will be the same for me.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir.
Fr. Dale Matson September 2013
the book is available on Kindle now in color and will be available in paperback sometime this week.