Spring Time in Yosemite
Bev and I took advantage of a Novato Seniors’Trip to the Yosemite Valley in the spring of 2011 and what a WOW! adventure. It is rather strange to note that this is only our second trip to this national park in our 80 years, but that is the case. Our first trip happened in the fall (September) and although it was impressive it just didn’t compare with this spring’s adventure.
Waterfalls are always the head of the class when one visits the valley. There are other things to see, but the running water over the sheared cliffs is the most impressive current event. Because of the heavy snowfall in the area and the current melt, there are more falls than the rangers have names for. On our original trip Bridalveil Falls was eking out a show, but it was nothing compared with this spring. The massive force of the water splashing over rocks and leading to its base forms a foggy veil that reflects rainbows in its mist. (Thus the veil.) It is aptly named.
When we originally visited the park, we were able to view the entire valley from the highest point of the valley called Glacier Point. Unfortunately that view was denied us because the road to the point was still closed because of the snow. The valley was still available and our group took the local tram for a tour of the valley.
On many of my back pack trips I have seen dogwood in bloom, but nothing like dogwood in bloom in the Yosemite Valley. Twenty to thirty foot trees with the bright white five petal brackets were absolutely astounding. In my nursery years I rarely recommended the local dogwood, because it doesn’t do well in most local gardens. Here in the valley however the conditions are perfect for the growth of this lovely native plant. This is the first time I had ever seen such large specimens.
As we traveled in theopen air tram, the guide gave uslots of information includingthe history of the founding ofthe park as well as telling usabout the accommodationsavailable in the park. Shestopped in front of this largemonolith, El Capitan, to pointout the several rock climbers.From our vantage point in thevalley the climbers seemed tobe the size of ants one wouldsee in a local garden. I’m notgood on heights and can’t evenimagine how they can do whatthey do. The third rung on a sixfoot ladder is my maximum.Our guide related theformation of the many meadowsalong the head of theMerced River that was quiterapid due to the melting snow.All of the staff was concernedthat the weather might turnwarm and increase the snowmelt and start flooding downstream.Indeed the temperatureon the valley floor was quitewarm, 81 degrees, for our triparound the valley floor. Wewere told to dress warm becausemore than likely it wouldbe chilly for our trip. Fortunatelywe had layered our clothingand were able to unclothe as thetemperature rose.I had my eye out for otherfloral materials, but the meadowswere not in bloom in that theweather had been cool. On the otherhand the white ceanothus was inbloom as were the elderberries,and Oregon maples. Theshrubbery with its new growthwas quite showy.Such crowd pleasers asHalf Dome, El Capitan, andSentinel were showing signsof the snow melt and the wetnessof their eroded faces emboldentheir effects on the valleyfloor. I didn’t count theactual waterfalls, but NevadaFalls, Yosemite Falls, andmany other unnamed fallsmade this visit to this nationalpark totally memorial.These features will morethan likely last thru June, so if youever wish to visit Yosemite, this isthe most wonderful time to do so.