Yosemite in the un-snow – day three and a half

Yosemite National Park

This is the final post about my Yosemite National Park trip in February. Life gets busy and I decided I had better finish up this series before I go on another trip!

The photo above was the very last image on my memory card, taken around 3:00pm on Sunday, February 15. After this I put my camera away so I could wander around and gawk at the scenery without worrying about the best angle for a photo. I’ve said it before, sometimes I envy people who don’t see everything through the viewfinder of a camera!

But before that I took a few more pictures:

Yosemite National park

The (not so) Happy Isles rockfall of 1996 when a total of 80,000 tons of rock, two football fields wide and three stories high, fell 1,800 (550 m) feet hitting the cliff base at 270 mph (435 kph) at this very spot. One person was killed.

You can see at the right hand side of the mountain in the photo below where the rock split off and fell.

Yosemite National Park Yosemite National ParkIn that same area are a couple of nice places to sit and contemplate, if you don’t mind getting hit on the head by a few rocks.

Yosemite National Park

A good use for a fallen tree trunk. I tried it out and it was quite comfy.

We visited the Yosemite Museum and Indian Village to gain some insight and knowledge about the history of the area and the founding of the park.

Yosemite National Park

Thank you Abe! This is self-explanatory but the important part is that this act was the first federal authorization to preserve scenic and scientific values for public benefit. It was the basis for the later concept of state and national park systems.

Yosemite National Park

Caption under the photo of John Muir sitting on a rock: “Muir soon became an expert naturalist and passionate advocate for the Sierra wilderness, writing articles for national magazines and speaking before groups. At first controversial, some of his ideas on a glacially carved landscape eventually caught on with geologists. Ultimately, he helped create Yosemite and four other national parks, launched the Sierra Club [ed note: of which I am a proud lifetime member], guided presidents and dignitaries, and influenced a nation on the importance of preserving wildness.”

Caption under photo of Muir with Teddy Roosevelt: “President Theodore Roosevelt camped with John Muir near Glacier Point in 1903. On that trip, Muir advocated federal control of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. In 1906, Roosevelt signed a bill that did precisely that.”

Yosemite National Park

Sculpture of John Muir contemplating the beauty of Yosemite. Today he is known as the “Father of the National Parks” without whom we may not have Yosemite or the Sequoia National Park to enjoy. He was born in Scotland in 1838 and passed away of pneumonia in Los Angeles at the age of 76.

Behind the museum we found the Indian Village, built on the site of the largest village in Yosemite, with examples of bark buildings used by the Miwok who were the indigenous people of the valley.

Yosemite National Park

At the back entrance to the museum. This tree was obviously confused, thinking it was spring already… and who could blame it with temperatures in the mid 70s F (mid 20s C) when there should have been snow on the ground in mid February.

Yosemite National Park

This black oak tree was also thinking it was spring. Black oak acorns were a major part of Indian diets with traditional acorn collection still going on today. These acorns are also an important part of the diets for many animals including bears, deer, woodpeckers and squirrels.

When the black oaks lose their leaves for the winter season, you can clearly see the clumps of leafy mistletoe continuing to grow among the branches. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that gets its water and nutrients from a living host. It can produce some of its own food through photosynthesis, but needs the oak for all of its water supply. The mistletoe doesn’t usually kill its host, but it does weaken it.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

We decided to take the shuttle bus into “downtown” Yosemite to check out the market there. As we were waiting I wanted one last look at the Merced River.

Yosemite National ParkI had to wait very patiently and risk getting left behind by my friends in order to get a shot of the bridge with no cars. There were traffic jams all over the park on Sunday and I was so happy not to be driving.

We still had one more evening to enjoy the park before heading back to Los Angeles on Monday morning. Despite the lack of snow I had thoroughly enjoyed the trip and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to see the park again some day, hopefully with some of that white stuff next time.

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