Saturday, March 3, 2012
Poppies and Teddy
The Merced River canyon below the park boundary has an early abundance of wildflowers including slopes covered with poppies in places. We've had a few modest storms over the past couple of weeks, adding a bit of snow above 5000 feet. The wet has brought out fiddlenecks, cranesbill, popcorn flower, baby blue eyes, paintbrush, red maids, etc. I haven't been up the South Fork but I bet it's getting colorful.
Chorus frogs are singing in various places, California ground squirrels are emerging in some spots, a turkey vulture was seen in the Valley this week. In El Portal, flickers and titmice have been 'singing.'
While spring tiptoes in at low elevations, we had a bit of frazil ice in Yosemite Creek this week, too.
The park has a new official place name: Roosevelt Point. This is on the south rim of Yosemite Valley, just west of Sentinel Dome, near the top of Sentinel Falls. Some scholars believe that Muir and Roosevelt camped near here on the second night of their 1903 trip together. They're usually described as having camped at Glacier Point because that's a better known landmark than the forest near Sentinel Dome, and because of the famous photo-portrait of the two men at Glacier Point. Sentinel Creek would've been the most reliable water source for a camp, so it's likely that they actually spent the night there.
TR will be coming to Yosemite Conservancy's Spring Forum on March 31 in the form of actor Alan Sutterfield. He and John Muir (Lee Stetson) will chat about their time together and their passion for park stewardship. Muir visits us again on John Muir Day, April 21, this time in the person of actor Frank Helling. He'll be strolling with Muir's great-great grandson, Robert Hanna for one of the Conservancy's field seminars.
We pursue Muir's footsteps again in July, backpacking on a field seminar to where he recognized the first known glacier in the Sierra. Climate change (as even Muir realized back then) has removed all but relictual evidence of the glacier's presence. We visit a living glacier in August's field seminar trek to the north slopes of Mt. Lyell.
History lives on.