Sunday, November 2, 2008

How It Was: Yosemite Valley Yesterday...


I was in Yosemite Valley yesterday with our campus Geology Club; it was raining, rather heavily at times. Did it spoil our trip? Not by a long shot...it was a hardy crew who knew it would be wet. It turned out to be one of my finest trips ever (and those who follow this blog know I am there a lot!). Fall in Yosemite means lots of beautiful color in the trees, but waterfalls are generally expected to be dry. Instead, for us, Yosemite Falls was a mere trickle at noon, but by three o'clock, they were booming like it was spring runoff. Apparently we witnessed a record set by the Merced River. It rose in one day from 20 cubic feet per second to 1,160 cubic feet per second (the previous high flow record for November 1 was 645 cfs; current data is here). And it looked the part, the water was brown and sudsy and full of debris. It was an extraordinary privilege to be in the Valley that day.. it was beautiful and thrilling at the same time.

Update: those of you wondering how the most beautiful tree in the world looked after two weeks, it's lost all of its leaves already. But there were PLENTY of others!
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