Farewell to Yosemite

What a 10-day feast Yosemite has been!

We saw & felt & breathed so much….and missed half the park because roads were closed!

We leave now to head up the coast, but we’re going to return here on our way back south in March. That may prove to be too early for access through the higher passes, but we can hope for an early spring!

We leave you now with photos of the different moods and views of Half Dome. The third photo is taken from below, almost straight up at the face….I was standing in the middle of Mirror Lake, which is dry this time of year….
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Rockin, part deux

I mentioned the scale of Yosemite’s cliffs and domes.

Click on the photo below….and then notice the helicopter.
DSC_7280_aThe park is stunning, inviting, comforting, energizing, mesmerizing, raw, colorful, shadowy, blinding, grand, personal…and a national treasure of incalculable value.
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Yosemite rocks!

For me, the granite cliffs and domes of Yosemite were actually unimaginable….

I was acquainted through the glorious photos by Ansel Adams, but the sheer scale was beyond anything I’ve experienced before. The first view of the valley from our campground was from 3000 feet up on the mountain rim. Half Dome looks like you can reach out and touch it…but it’s about 15 miles away!

From the valley floor, El Capitan rises more than 3000 with straight faces!

The other unimaginable part for me was how changeable the views could be. In warm sunshine, the rocks and valley floor were golden and inviting. In shadow, they were blue and cold. One photo below has both…with snow (actually a heavy hoar frost) on the meadow in the foreground.

We observed Half Dome creating clouds…the air was quite cold, the sun was quite strong, the breeze was constant, and in a matter of seconds little clouds would form, then curl into a line, then combine into a ring, then move down, then dissipate….

Rocks literally fall every day…we observed nothing dramatic…but you can see some dramatic results in the following photos.

After spending a week in the park, some of it is still unimaginable to me. We were unable to reach higher vantage points in several directions due to snow closing the roads, so we’ve missed seeing some lovely alternate views of the valley and domes.

Aw shucks, looks like we need to come back….
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The wood of Yosemite

This park is most noteworthy for its incredible, towering granite domes and sheer rock faces.

But the valley that runs through the park is a canopy of green from the tall, dense trees that almost totally block the sun.

Several groves of Sequoia trees are…umm…standouts.
DSC_6146_aDSC_6151_aIt seems everything grows big here, and leans toward the sun.
DSC_6234_aDSC_6242_aWe thought these very tall trees with the strong vertical folds in their reddish bark were redwoods, but found they are actually Incense Cedar.

So many trees are evergreens that the roads and paths are heavily shaded all year.
DSC_6842_aDSC_6283_aDSC_5882_aDSC_6941_aDSC_7138_aNumerous open areas offer fabulous views…and provide the setting to see the trees instead of the forest….
DSC_6362_aDSC_6679_aIt’s not all tall, slender trees….
DSC_6087_aDSC_5531_aDSC_7175_aAnd it’s not all peaches and cream…or smooth sailing….
DSC_6292_aDSC_6792_aAll of nature in Yosemite National Park has to scratch for a living, under conditions sometimes that fight mightily against them. Most are opportunists of the first degree…living on the edge…
DSC_6348_aDSC_5592_aAs we went home each evening…was it fire, or just sundown?
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Yosemite vistas

This was my first real visit to Yosemite, and 10 days wasn’t enough time to even begin to explore it!

And we were terribly limited….numerous roads and trails were still closed from one of the largest fires in California history that burned for months this summer in and around the park, AND two mountain passes used to reach eastern and southern sections of the park were already closed by snow!

Not complaining, mind you….this place is spellbinding every way you turn!

We drove into the park every day from the west, dropped about 3000 feet into the valley, spent the day awestruck by the massive sheer cliffs and numerous domes, then drove up and out in the dark.

The most interesting thing about the park for me was the way it changed from day to day, even hour to hour.

The photos with this post are intended to provide an overview of the park, with its facing lines of massive granite mountains and the valley and Merced River that run east to west.
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