Sunday, January 7, 2024

A Rare Day for the Great Valley: The Sierra Crest, and a bit of Half Dome

California's Great Valley is many things: one of the most important agricultural regions in the world, America's Serengeti Plains where millions of migratory birds spend the winter, and one of the most polluted air basins in the country. The pollution is a shame, causing all manner of health problems for those who live here, and obscuring the incredible mountains that ring the valley. Except on a few select days out of the year. Today was one of those days.
Gray, Red and Merced Peaks in Yosemite National Park
We had a fairly intense storm last night, and it was followed up by windy cold conditions that cleared the air. I took my customary walk along the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail. A section of the trail follows the bluff and on days like this, I get a wonderful panorama of the Sierra Nevada covering Yosemite National Park. A zoomed-in look provides a view of Gray, Red and Merced Peaks in the southern part of Yosemite (above).
A shift to the north reveals the high peaks of the Sierra Crest, including Mt. Maclure, Rodgers Peak, and Mt. Lyell, three of the higher peaks in Yosemite National Park (Mt. Dana, the 2nd highest, isn't visible). Some of the foreground peaks are rather famous as well. Mt. Starr King and Sentinel Dome are visible, and at the very left edge of the photo is the top portion of Half Dome! It's hard to pick out, but the CalTopo provides some identification of the different peaks. 
There are better views of Half Dome from the valley floor (the intersection of Oakdale-Waterford Highway and Keyes Road is much clearer on days like this). I couldn't get any pictures today, but here's one from a different day (see some more at 
A wonderful day.