“This is my church…”

Owens River Gorge overlook

Overlooking the Owens River Gorge near Bishop, California

Finally have a chance to fully check out Ken Burns’ wonderful documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

In the first episode, they document the discovery of Yosemite Valley and a quote by Lafayette Bunnell.

“None but those who have visited this most wonderful valley can even imagine the feelings with which I looked upon the scene that was there presented.

The grandeur of the scene was but softened by the haze that hung over the valley-light as gossamer-and by the clouds which partially dimmed the higher cliffs and mountains. This obscurity of vision but increased the awe with which I beheld it, and as I looked a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being, and I found my eyes in tears with emotion.
…for I have seen before me the power and glory of a Supreme being.”

It’s a great quote (and a great geology related quote at that) and reminds me of something a friend said to me on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada a number of years ago.

While eating lunch on an outcrop overlooking a forested valley, he said, “I may not believe in much, but this right here, this is my church.”

Agreed, my friend. Agreed.

Cal Academy’s sneaky octopus

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article this morning on how carpenter ants have been borrowing out of their exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences.

One of the anecdotes they relate is the story of an octopus that snuck out of its enclosure at night and would snatch crabs from another tank. I’d actually heard this before, but didn’t realize it happened here!

About 10 years ago, Mr. Shepherd says, crabs kept mysteriously disappearing from a tank in the old academy. The culprit was a giant octopus two tanks over, which used its tentacles to sneak out at night and snatch crabs, he says. The octopus tank has since been wrapped in AstroTurf.

I’ve written about crazy octopi before.