Digitize This, by Marlene Bruce




January 24-25, 2003

We celebrated Rash's birthday with an overnight in Yosemite National Park. With only about 24 hours at our disposal, and the winter weather closing much of the Park's access roads (Glacier Point, Hetch Hetchy, Tioga Road), we pretty much confined our visit to Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

We just barely scratched the surface of everything Yosemite has to offer. The upside is that the park was much less crowded than during the late-Spring to Fall months. We did get to see deer grazing a hillside and a wily coyote crossing the road. And one of the most awesome views was of the night sky, sans moon (it rose and set during the morning). I haven't seen that many stars in over 10 years, since I was in Grand Canyon. The Milky Way is a lovely sight, and it's a shame that light pollution is so vastly prevalent in our modern age.

A note about Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (if you plan on visiting this time of year): We only saw the Lower Grove. The approaching road was closed, so we walked 3 miles over the snowy road and trail, as far as the California Tunnel Tree and back. This comprised 2 miles to get to the entrance of the grove (elev. 5600 ft.), and another mile into the trees. We figured that the 6 mile walk took us about 4 hours (accounting for the steep grade and snow).


Entrance to the Park via 140

El Capitan - world's largest granite monolith

Sentinel Rock

Yosemite Falls - 2425 feet, with an ice cone

Granite wall sheared by the glaciers

Bridalveil Fall (620 feet)

Typical view in Yosemite Valley (panorama pieced together from four photos)

Tunnel View - El Capitan (left), Bridalveil Fall (right), Half Dome in back.

Rash places a veined boulder on a slope

Pine on the way to Mariposa Grove (by Rash)

Staghorn Lichen on the pine's craggy bark

Mariposa Grove (note the people for scale)

Fallen Monarch - The roots of Sequoias may fan out as wide as 150 feet. Famous 1899 photo.

Bachelor and Three Graces (tree grouping)

Grizzly Giant - One of the largest trees in the grove, and one of the oldest Sequoias at est. 2700 years.

California Tunnel Tree - Cut in 1895 for stagecoaches, it is the only tunnel tree still standing here.

Ahwahnee Hotel - Though we didn't stay here, we did enjoy the native stone and timber art-and-crafts interior of this 1927 lodge. The Great Lounge (left) sports regional artifacts and historic photographs, painted ceiling beams, plus stained glass windows by Jeanette Dyer Spencer reflecting Native American basketry patterns. The king-sized hearth reminded me of European castles. We had breakfast in the hotel's grand restaurant (right), probably the most stunning I've ever been in with an abundantly timbered 30' ceiling, heavy stone and HUGE windows with scenic views. The food lived up to its mixed reputation.