Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vernal Equinox

Equinox arrives next week, when day length matches nighttime. Though they were closest on Monday night, it's still worth getting out in the evening to see the close positioning of Venus and Jupiter. They're a bright pair, impossible to miss as long as you have a view to the west for an hour or two after sunset. (You can actually see Venus with the naked eye all day, too, if you know where to look in the blue sky.) Though smaller than Jupiter, Venus is the more brilliant because it is closer to Earth.
Light precipitation off/on in Yosemite this week, with snow level remaining above the rim so far. We expect snow on the Valley floor this weekend. In the Merced Canyon below the park boundary, greenery is soaking up the moisture; great numbers of flowers are in bloom. Dense poppies cover the south-facing slopes in the area burned by the Telegraph Fire of 2 years ago. In contrast, last summer's Motor Fire area is generally not greening up well. Buckeyes are leafing out, elderberry leaves are barely emerging, and redbuds are just starting to show.
The waterfalls are below average in volume now, but it's good that we're adding some fuel this week for later runoff.
Contractors lucked out with dry weather and have re-opened the Big Oak Flat Road (connecting Yosemite Valley to Hwy. 120).
Superintendent Neubacher is contemplating adding more sister national parks - one on every continent is a goal. Asia and South America are already covered. We like the idea of Yosemite having this measure of global significance and await news of coming partnerships (and opportunities for travel to visit new relations.)

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