Merced Falls Road connects Highway 59 at Merced Falls to Highway 132 near Don Pedro Reservoir. It provides access to a number of ranches and the recreational areas along McClure Lake. It also includes numerous exposures of the metamorphosed sediments and volcanic rocks of a Jurassic island arc system that was slammed (in a geologic sense) into the west coast of the North American continent in late Mesozoic time. The rocks have been upended and deeply eroded, producing a landscape that looks like a neglected cemetery (the outcrops look like tombstones). The rocks include the Mariposa formation and the Gopher Ridge volcanics.
Friday was a fine day for seeing the early blooms of what promises to be a fine wildflower season. More on that in the next post. When we reached the little village of La Grange downstream on the Tuolumne River, we could see the preparations being made for an exceptional spring runoff. The snowpack in Yosemite is somewhere around 150-160% of normal after three years of drought, and the water authorities are emptying out Don Pedro Reservoir to make room for the much needed onslaught of snowmelt that begins soon. Below is the artificially induced mild flood being conducted to avoid an out-of-control flood in a few weeks.