Monday, November 15, 2010

Autumn Out

Walked up northwest from Foresta to Little Nellie Falls on Saturday - very crowded - with foliage color, blue sky, deer and bear tracks, a few birds (including a surprise solo horned lark!), and millions of springtails. There were some puddles in ruts on the Coulterville Road from the prior weekend's rain. On the surface of the sunlit puddles were rafts of millions and millions of the tiny gray insects, too small to break the surface tension, even when massed this way. They were hopping continuously, there were dispersed individuals on the muddy road surface, but the party was all afloat. Hard to comprehend but wonderful to observe.
Sunday's saunter took us from Chinquapin out the old logging rail grade southeast to the Alder Creek watershed. It is unusual to be able to stroll on the horizontal for mile after mile above 6000' in the Sierra, but here's a pleasant legacy of commercial forestry. From the 1907 railroad that came to El Portal, steep (up to 78%!) inclines were built up the south side canyon wall in 1912 and the north side canyon wall by 1924. It's hard to imagine the costly labor of hundreds of people creating this access for extracting sugar pine from what is now peaceful forest. There's a bit of patchy snow, which held tracks of coyote, deer, bear and squirrel. Aspens in Bishop Meadow are bare now, the black oaks and dogwoods still have a bit of color hanging on.
Glacier Point and Tioga Roads are still closed, though the weather will determine whether this is a closure for the whole season or not. A La Nina season is expected, which could go either way for wet/dry.
A new speed record for ascending the Nose Route on El Capitan was established over the weekend: just under two hours, 37 minutes. Human springtails?


  1. My first visit to Yosemite will be next week i.e thanksgiving week. Hopefully the weather will co-operate.

  2. Thanksgiving week weather can go either way; we expect snow this weekend, but it's just as likely to be sunny and mild next week. Either way, it's hard to go wrong in Yosemite.

  3. Hi Pete - we are planning to be in Yosemite this weekend (Sun-Weds) but the weather forecast looks pretty bad with quite a bit of snow Sat-Tues...we don't mind being there in the snow but are a bit worried about the drive in (120 into the Valley). Any thoughts or words of advice? Thanks so much! And lovely blog! I used to go to Yosemite quite often in my childhood but this would be my boyfriend's first time so we're really hoping it works out.