John Muir wrote about Yosemite valley: “Everything is flowing, going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water.”
The Merced River flows through Yosemite Valley. Most of the year it is a peaceful river that supports life in all its forms—oak trees and deer; bears and birds. Early June brings abundant waterfalls (depending on snowfall). For the past seven years, California has had a disastrous drought; however, this year a “normal” snowfall provided much needed water. The valley is blooming with wildflowers and wild life! We saw mule deer and one bear (one bear too many!), woodpeckers and falcons, a family of marmots and many chickarees.
The Mariposa Grove of Sequoias was set aside by President Lincoln in 1864 for public use. We learned that the forest service (with all good intentions) began a 100 year history of protecting these beloved trees from fire, thus unintentionally contributing to their loss. Fire is actually good for Sequoias, promoting reproduction by clearing away competing trees such as firs and cedars. Sequoias can store up to five years’ worth of water in their systems. Not much can harm a Sequoia (except for humans)!
Yosemite, part of the High Sierra, is home to the natural beauty of granite cliffs such as Lembert Dome, Cathedral Peak, El Capitan, and Half Dome and North Dome. To see these incredible natural wonders inspires story-telling about how such great cliffs came to be, and American Indians answered the call. Legends arose and are told still about the woman and her husband who argued and fought, so displeasing the spirits that they were turned into stone forever facing each other across the valley becoming Half Dome and North Dome.
These cliffs are not static, however. They are constantly changing as nature’s forces (water, ice, plants, and gravity) all work their magic.
The diversity of Yosemite National Park makes it my favorite!