Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yosemite Day 1

This picture was actually the end of Day One so is out of order, but here it is. J and A slept in a hide-a-bed. They started out in this position and ended up crosswise, but still in the "right order" by morning! LOL D slept in a sleeping bag in a space underneath the stairs and enjoyed it.

This picture was actually from the beginning of Day 3, but I couldn't leave it out. This is D at the top of the stairs leading to Shelley's loft bedroom. D and Larry Boy are practically inseparable. All his Larry Boy toys are pretty beat up. This one is missing one of his "super suction ears." D has quite the imagination, for which I am glad. He plays out some of the scenes from the Larry Boy and Veggie Tales cartoons, but he also makes up stories and scenes to act out with his sisters. We have to chuckle when the kids are in "room time" (because they don't nap anymore...not that they ever did!). Every once in awhile a high pitched soprano voice will say "Save me Larry Boy!" or "I need help Larry Boy!" :o)

As we drove into the park we twisted around the Merced River which is really beautiful. Last time we were here in June 2005 it was at a 25 year high, as were all the waterfalls in the park, but it was a low snow pack year this winter and so the river was down fairly low.

The forecasted high for Yosemite Valley on Friday, July 6th was 108*! Yikes! We always hope when we leave home to find a little bit cooler weather, especially at that elevation. However, cooler weather was not found until Day Two when we went up the Tioga Pass which is further up the mountains. I don't know what the official temp was for the day but our van has a thermometer which has always been quite accurate. While on the asphalt the temps were 110-119*! When we stopped by this water it was 102* and this was in total shade with a canopy of trees over the top of us and the road! Phew! That was hot!

The little place was called Fern Spring. We had never seen it before because it is always packed with people. It was very strange; almost eery to drive into the park with so few people. We had purposely planned on going to the Valley floor on Friday because Saturday is packed. Last time we came on a Friday and it was jammed with tour busses and people from all around the world. This time there was a lot of people but not comparatively so. We practically had our choice of parking spaces, so it was nice to find this new little spot to eat our lunch. In the picture above you can see D, J and A.

I couldn't get any sharp focused pics here because there was not enough light for hand held photography but a little stream of sunshine flickered in and I got this shot which is a little blurry, but still pretty. It was so peaceful there.

Can you see how still the little pool is. It is created by the spring.

This is Bridalveil Falls, which had more water than Yosemite Falls, but was puny compared to previous visits.

And here is El Capitan in all his glory. The beautiful blue sky and fluffy clouds belies the high temps.

See what I mean? Can you find Yosemite Falls trickling down? It is slightly left of the middle of the picture.

Here is some of the meadow on the Valley floor surrounded by granite walls.
We have never walked out into the meadows before because it is usually packed with people. Also, sometimes it is marshy/muddy. So, this was another new surprise and adventure. One of my many favorite things to photography is pathways.

The clouds were really pretty against the blue sky. Living in the Sacramento Valley, we don't see many clouds during the summer and I miss them. When you grow up on the water, you get used to seeing the clouds and the sky change almost constantly. Half Dome is just trying to peek out on the right hand side.

This is the Merced River and Yosemite Falls is in the distance. Just beyond this log jam was a nice, still, pooled area where Shelley and I waded in to cool down. Poor Shelley had not experienced this type of extreme heat before! We almost killed her off on her first day with the heat! And now that I have been here for 8.5 years, I am shocked to find that I am actually getting used to it...I still don't like it, but I am getting used to it.

Milkweed plants were growing in the meadow. It reminded me of my friend Dale on the Christian Artisans list who passed away post bone marrow transplant. She lived in Florida and had a butterfly garden with lots of Monarchs. The Monarchs and some Swallowtails like the Milkweed.

Looking back along the path. Again the cool colors in the picture do not tell the tale of the heat of the mid-day sun!

Here is a glimpse from the river bank of Half Dome. You see it in many different places in the park. I would not say it is really beautiful like my "home mountain", Mt. Baker or even Mt. Rainier which is also a National Park and whose peak my great grandfather conquered when he was 57 years old. But, it is very unique and it commands your attention wherever you see it. I must not be the only person who thinks so because the California State Quarter, released in 2005, bears its image as well.

Another glimpse of Half Dome and the changing clouds in the sky.

This photo is not really in focus but it does show the large Swallowtails butterflies we saw. They are about 4 inches across. There are two types of Swallowtails living in the park and I need to see which kind this was. It has some pretty worn and tattered wings.

This is another dark and a little fuzzy photo, but it does show the one Monarch butterfly we saw on the Milkweed.

These cow parsnips were growing right in the middle of the meadow. The cloud over Half Dome looks like a little hat!

Another picture of the Cow Parsnip purposely in focus with Half Dome purposely not in focus behind it.

Who knew that cow parsnips could be so pretty? These are the little seed pods.
The next few photos are not the sharpest as I took them in the shade and cropped them out of larger pictures, but I'm sharing them because I thought they were interesting. Does anyone know what this flower is? The middle looked like a little pill box hat. They were round thick disks.

I thought it looked neat to catch this bee in flight.
This last picture is taken through the van window. Can you see on the right side, that brown area of the hill? That is the beginnings of where the mud/landslide came down last year. It covers about a quarter mile stretch of Hwy 140 along the Merced River. So, in order for people to still come through, they put a one lane bridge and a light system. The bridge looks like it was made from an erector set! I drove very cautiously. We then had to drive a half mile along the other side of the river. There was one lane. That was it. River on one side and hillside on the other. At the end is another "erector set bridge" which is again, one way, to cross back over to the highway. As you drive along the other side you can see the slide area and it is pretty amazing. I don't see how they will ever be able to dig out the slide area. It would be like digging a hole in dry sand and the sand just keeps spilling into your hole. It would take some monumental engineering and a stack of money to accomplish anything. And even then, it would probably occur again! This method was a little scary but at least we still were able to enter the park!

Phew! You made it to the end of all these pictures. If you are brave, keep reading and you will see days two and three. I hope you enjoyed. I took at least 2000 pictures. So, even though it seems like a lot here, it isn't so bad!


Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Theresa, you pictures are stunning and gorgeous. Thanks for sharing so many pictures of a beautiful place that I have never seen.

Sandi said...

I am really enjoying your pictures. We have been on a couple of occasions and it's nice to say "I remember that!" Everything about that place just reminds you of God's Greatness!