Monday, September 18, 2017

YOSEMITE VALLEY JUNE: Water, Water Everywhere

Yosemite National Park, Path to Bridal Veil Falls
Yosemite National Park, the most visited national park in the nation, never fails to impress and, even when filled with visitors, one feels immersed in nature. As the naturalist John Muir said, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”
Sheer rock walls are part of Yosemite's grandeur
Last June, Art and I spent several days in Yosemite with our extended family, staying at a rented house in The Redwoods at Wawona, near the south entrance of the park. One morning we got up early for the 45 minute drive over the winding road through the park (Highway 41) to Yosemite Valley, arriving there just as the sun was coming up over the peaks to the east. The air was still cool and parking areas had plenty of space. Melting snow from the previous winter’s record snowfall had filled the rivers and lakes to overflowing and the waterfalls thundered down the rock walls of the valley.
The overflowing Merced River had temporarily submerged the trees along its banks
In fact, there was so much water that some of the paths that normally cross the valley had become submerged in the middle. A few hardy tourists waded across. We opted for the boardwalk.
Walkway across a grassy marsh
We then returned to our car and followed the one-way road up the valley, stopping several times at viewpoints to take pictures and enjoy the view before parking at Half Dome Village. From there, we walked along the path through the campground to the trailhead for Mirror Lake. The 1.2 mile path, which follows Tenaya Creek, is mostly shaded and, except for a few places, mostly level. Water rushed by, tumbling over rocks where the creek narrowed.
Tenaya Creek
The reward is at the end, where the view opens up as the creek expands to a shallow lake, reflecting the surrounding view on its completely still glassy surface.
Mirror Lake
After a picnic lunch, we headed back to Wawona, stopping for a last view of the valley before going through the tunnel, where we stopped to take our final photos. Art and I were in Yosemite celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. We couldn't have chosen a better place.
Tunnel View of Yosemite Valley with Half Dome in the distance
Final Note:  Since our visit in June, terrible wildfires have raged in and around Yosemite, filling the valleys with smoke and burning dangerously close to giant sequoia groves and to the houses and hotel in Wawona. For the latest news on the fires and other updates, click HERE.

1 comment:

Karen Minkowski said...

Lovely photos and one of the earth's grandest places!