Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Equinox approach

Autumnal equinox arrives Friday, then it's already October at the end of next week. We had 5 days of afternoon monsoons a week ago, a fun change of season, but summer's heat is not done yet. Mts. Dana and Gibbs were quite snow-covered a week ago; Conness is pictured. Hail had piled up at the 8000' level along Tioga Road. A cloudburst in Yosemite Valley left big puddles that haven't evaporated yet, and lots of runoff debris in small channels everywhere. A torrent coming down the Indian Creek fan went into some NPS houses at the edge of Yosemite Creek. The river gauge shows nice spikes from the series of rainy afternoons.
As it has been for most of the past 9 months, the Merced is running above average: at 129 cfs this morning; the average is 32 cfs for today. Yosemite Falls looks like it does in some Julys; not big, but much more than the usual September dribble.
Lessingia's purple blooms on the Valley floor are even visible from Glacier Point. Bears are still finding ripe apples on trees (lots at McAuley Ranch) but it's a weak mast year for acorns in some spots. Migrating raptors are being seen regularly now. A ring-necked snake was seen near Foresta on the weekend.
Another Half Dome fatality yesterday; this time a climber whose rope broke after he pulled a block onto it. Crowds are absent from the Valley most days, though weekends are still relatively busy. Our visitors from other countries stand out more now.

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