Yosemite… Touched by Fire

I’ve been to Yosemite numerous times… always in love… It’s just such an incredible place. We came in via Tioga Pass from the east, which I had hoped to do during my last route down the Eastern Sierra’s, to no avail. During this unplanned stop in Mammoth Lakes however, the pass was open. Since we were stuck at the back door of Goodyear (see last post) we decided to book a room and “do Yosemite!” together for a couple days.

We stopped a few times along the way. Like Olmsted Point on Tioga Pass…

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Balancing rock at Olmsted Point

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Lone tree

As we ventured into the valley we came across acres and acres of forest fire burns. We weren’t quite “there” yet,  and I couldn’t help but wonder just how far the California fires had burned into this sacred valley. We were off on our boat adventure and far from connectivity most of the summer, so we really had no clue. I was saddened to see the scorched trees as we entered Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Forest fire at Yosemite

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Scorched forest in Yosemite

Thankfully most of the valley was not effected. There were obvious burns, and clean-up piles along the way. That was sad enough, but then we did the short hike up to Yosemite Falls. DRY AS A BONE!  Really… hardly a sprinkle of water over the falls.  I’d never seen Yosemite in this condition during my many visits. Needless to say… no awesome waterfall shots to share.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Yosemite Valley, El Capitan and Half Dome

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

roots… digging deep

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Surprise.. a deer! (There are lots of ’em here!)

We were probably a couple weeks late for the most dramatic fall color, but numerous trees still shined brightly with fall foliage. We did the loop around the valley several times, stepping out from time to time just to enjoy the colors.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Merced River and El Capitan

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Reflections on the Merced River

Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Autumn color, Yosemite

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Autumn color, Merced River

Fran Reisner, Journey in Focus, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Hanging on… by whatever means necessary… for the right shot

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Half Dome reflected in the Merced River

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Autumn in Yosemite

Yosemite Falls was bone dry, but Bridal Veil wasn’t much better. The California drought is more than apparent here. Fires are burning throughout the state. As I write this post I’m following the news about the “Camp Fire” in Paradise. So incredibly heartbreaking.

And adding to the heartbreak… we discovered that while we were driving around this valley a young couple lost their lives while shooting selfies at Taft Point, a popular vista here… 3,000 feet above Yosemite Valley. Sadly, stories like this are on the rise.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bridal Veil Falls

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Reflections on the Merced

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Half Dome from Glacier Point

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

View from Glacier Point

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

The Chapel at Yosemite

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Reflections… El Capitan

El Capitan is a notable rock face in Yosemite. Quite popular amongst rock climbers. I personally know only one person who has climbed it. While driving through the valley I goggled it… and those who dare to climb it. (That’s how I discovered the news about the couple who died while we were there.) My search came up with information on a young man who climbed the face “free solo”! Meaning he climbed it solo without any assistance… including ropes or safety devices. And where most people take days to do this climb, this young man did it in less than four hours! He was the first to do it. I’m thinking we may be reading about other attempts in the near future, but most of those stories will have tragic endings.

So then we discovered there was a newly released movie about this incredible event… and it happened to be playing in the one Mammoth Lakes theater while we were there!! It’s amazing! The story… and the movie! A must see in my opinion… Free Solo.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Rocks along the Merced

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

John emerging from a rock tunnel

Fran Reisner, Journey in Focus, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Mirror Lake hike

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Autumn color on the Mirror Lake Hike

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Autumn in Yosemite Valley

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bridge over the Merced River

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

View from Tioga Pass

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

View with Tenaya Lake from Olmsted Point

Fran Reisner, Journey in Focus, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Me and Sadie during a pit stop

Clearly, our visit to Yosemite was not well timed, but it’s such an amazing place we enjoyed it just the same. If you haven’t been yet… plan for spring… or early summer… when the falls are flowing and the valley is bursting with spring color.

2 thoughts on “Yosemite… Touched by Fire

  1. AMAZING reflections. i was in Yosemite many years ago and during that time of year Bridalveil falls were raining for miles around so did not even get camera out. Thanks for sharing. Barb

    • I’ve been there when the waterfall mist is that thick Barb. And the river is flowing, and everything is green and fresh. This trip was almost anticlimactic because of the burn damage, the lack of water. Still… it’s undeniably incredible just the same.

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