The morning we left camp, the mountains were wreathed in smoke from wildfires burning in Yosemite National Park. The top of the peak, previously visible from camp, was now barely distinguishable in the haze. A light rain seemed to clear the atmosphere slightly and soon we were in clean air, walking through meadows of summer flowers and small streams hidden by the long grass. Sing Peak came into focus.
Located in the southeast corner of Yosemite National Park, Sing Peak draws little attention. It’s a non-descript rocky mass that lacks the sweeping majesty of, say, Half Dome. But Sing Peak holds a rare distinction. The 10,552-foot mountain is named after a Chinese American — Tie Sing, a camp cook for the U.S. Geological Survey from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The backpacking trip was part of last year’s Sing Peak Pilgrimage, an annual series of events held in July that commemorates Sing and Chinese-American laborers who built the first roads in the national park. The Pilgrimage is a project founded by my dad, Jack Shu, a retired California State Parks superintendent and avid hiker. Long committed to bringing more people of color to parks and outdoors ... Read more