Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yosemite Valley

It was heaven to visit Yosemite Valley on a quiet winter day. What to do?  Visit all the iconic spots or hike?  Today I did the tourist route, without the tourists!

Cascade Creek has a good flow; probably due to our recent rain storm.

Next stop, Tunnel View.

The sun kissing the top of Bridle Veil Fall.  It looks like more water than actually is in the creek.

It was fun taking pics of three older (than me) ladies on the Chapel steps.  Then, I peaked inside just as they broke into Rock of Ages!  Wow, that was cool!

Upper and Lower Yosemite Fall.

And the 'Muir' rock on the trail to the Lower Fall.

Coming back down the trail, a Pileated Woodpecker was hunting bugs in an old snag.  Snaps are here.

I love the different views when the leaves are off the trees.

My final, and what turned out to be best, stop of the day was at the last turn out along the Merced River before the Big Oak Road.  It was magical.

Reflections in the Merced were brilliant.

An 'impressionistic' view of El Cap.

The sun would come and go, every time making me think I had never seen the valley so beautiful and tricking me into taking (another) one LAST shot!

Rim Aftermath

My first drive up the Highway 120 corridor was shocking.  I thought I was hardened; not so much.  Can only guess that it's the sheer size that is so overwhelming.

 The view at Rim of The World is mostly open now as the big pines have fallen. This is the South Fork of the Tuolumne River.

The Hetchy power line looking west.  This is true color.

I stopped by the South Fork Yard hoping to catch Ray, but all locked up. Cherry Oil is still closed.

The burn is visible all the way to the Big Oak Entrance station;  while the Evergreen and Hetchy roads were open, I had seen enough and headed down to the Valley hoping the forest would be covered with wildflowers for my next visit.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Quiet Forest Hike

It was a very quiet and cold day in the forest at Calaveras Big Trees.  Ravens were out; no songbirds.  A big black stump fooled me into thinking it was bear, but no other wildlife.  (Except those two legged hooligans on the school field trip!).

Sunny and warm in Jamestown translated into sunny and 42 degrees at 6000 when I arrived.  I didn't dress warmly and it didn't warm up;  thank goodness (read Sister) for several hand warmers in the back of the Rav.

To avoid the hooligans I walked up the Grove Overlook trail and then out to the Scenic Overlook on the South Grove road.  It was a great hike, don't know why I didn't think of adding that leg before.  It's just enough of a climb on that mile out to transform the Big Trees walk into a good hike!

Crunching the hoar frost under my boots reminded me of so many mornings out on the trail at Early Intake.

Breaking out into the sun at the overlook I was finally warming up.

The deciduous tress are all still bare;  only tiny buds on the dogwoods;  one impatient manzanita was blooming.

And it's snowing today at Calaveras Big Trees; glad I went out yesterday!