Friday, July 2, 2010
The Merced River is flowing at better than double its usual volume for early July. After a week of holding steady it is dropping again with cooler temperatures. Another way to look at it is that for the past week the river volume has been equal to the average annual high water mark, but it's over a month after that average peak, and near three weeks after this year's peak. Local gauge Table Rock breached the surface yesterday for the first time this season.
Side streams in Yosemite Valley are shrinking back, too. Eagle Creek no longer reaches Northside Drive. Sentinel is still flowing in 9 culverts, but many are just seeping. Indian Creek is still dribbling through the Village Store parking lot and is flowing under the Art and Education Center. Yosemite and Bridalveil Falls are looking terrific for July.
Cow parsnip, western azalea, striped penstemon and several lupines add color and fragrance to the Valley. Tuolumne's store, lodge, visitor center and campground are all open now, and the Tuolumne River has retreated to within its banks. Backpackers should still be prepared for wet trails, tricky creek crossings and a good amount of snow on shaded slopes higher up.