Update! Tioga Pass is finally opened today, July 22nd! The latest it has been cleared ever! The last time it was closed almost this long was 1917 when it opened on July 19th.
With all the winter snow melting, the waterfalls at Yosemite National Park are spetacular! DH and I played hookey (well I did, he's off on Tuesdays 😀 ) to see them. I thought I'd share some pictures, and movies
El Capitan, a very large granite virtical rock formation, about 3000 feet/914 m high from the base to the summit. People freeclimb the virtical face. Not for me!🤔
If all you want is rocks, stop reading here. The rest is all water!
To give perspective, Yosemite is in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It normally gets a good amount of snow, however in past years, not nearly enough, resulting in California’s severe drought conditions. However, as of June 1st, the snowpack in Yosemite ranged from 257% to 346% of the historical average, and this is with it melting already. Tioga Pass, the highest pass in the park, normally opens late May or early June, but this year there is no estimated opening date as parts of the pass are completely clogged. All this snow is melting and runs into the tributaries of the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers
All this snow is melting and is contributing into the Yosemite watershed, containing over 3200 lakes and 1700 miles/2700 km of streams. These in turn feed the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers which flow through the Yosemite valley. The valley was carved out during the last glaciation period, dropping approximately 8000 ft/2400m over 24 miles/38 ½ km. This results in some amazing waterfalls and raging rivers.
Bridalvail Falls are so named due to the mist that blows off at the base. At 620 ftt/189 m, it is in no way the tallest in the park, but impressive all the same. The winter really ravaged the park, and the trail to the base of these falls is under repair. So this is the best picture I could get of it.
The star of the park is Yosemite Falls themselves. It’s so tall that it has three parts, Upper, Middle and Lower. Because of the trees, it’s hard to get a picture of all three in one frame, but here goes. The water crashes 2,425 f/739m from the top to the base.
It’s a five and a half hour hike (round drip) to get to the top of Upper Falls, so we did not even attempt. I’m not sure if DH and I are up to that sort of hike given the altitude.
Middle Falls is hard to see, again because of all the trees.
Lower Falls is very easy to get to and with all this water, really, really, impressive. There is so much volume that the water fogs the air as it slams into the rocky base. I got wet getting this one!
We stopped by the edge of the Merced River for a picnic lunch. Here is a movie of that river, overflowing the near bank and carving down the far back. The water is so rough and fast that the Park Service is warning people to not step in, as they can be swept off their feet and washed downstream. Either the rocks, or hypothermia will get ya!
Unfortunatly, we did not see any wildlife this trip. There were just too many people around. I'd love to go back and stay overnight becuase that's when they come out.