Saturday, April 30, 2011

Random Thoughts on Yosemite in Spring

My last couple of posts on Yosemite in springtime followed a theme of some sort, rockfalls or waterfalls and such, but I also just plain saw a lot of beauty derived from the bounty of water at this time of year. The nice thing about a place like Yosemite (and any other kind of park) is the richness of color and texture in features big and small. The picture above is of some redbuds that are still blooming, along with a groundcover teeming with flowers of all kinds.

It was raining prior to our arrival...moisture was everywhere, including the droplets on the clover by the highway where we looked at Grouse Creek Falls. The clouds were moving eastward ahead of us, giving an interesting perspective to the little noticed cliffs around Stanford Point (little-noticed because everyone is looking east to El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall from the Tunnel View parking lot. It's one of those cases where these cliffs would be world-famous if they were located anywhere else.

Half Dome was putting on a show today, too. This view from the Curry Village parking lot is hard to miss, although I almost always get a telephone wire in the picture. Whose idea was it to string a telephone wire across the view of one of the most iconic rocks in the American West?

Tenaya Creek was running full, and will deserve an entire post of its own in a day or two. The water is strikingly clear, primarily because the watershed above has been stripped almost entirely clean of soil by the glaciers that coursed through the canyon as recently as 13,000 years ago. The water flows over barren rock over much of its course and thus carries relatively little sediment.

One more waterfall to add to the mix. This is Royal Arch Cascade, which tumbles down the canyon wall just west of the Arch. Most people don't see this particular view, as it is a zoom view of just the very top of the waterfall.

It is easily viewed from the parking lot of the Ahwahnee Hotel. We had an appetizer in the bar for the price of a dinner! And it felt worth it...

As we left the valley, we made a brief stop at Valley View, another one of the iconic views of Yosemite just west of the "Gateway", the towering cliffs of El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks. Jet contrails usually screw up pictures of nature, but there seems to be a kind of symmetry to the ones seen here.

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