Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer is On

Memorial Day weekend started with snow and road closures.

The holiday weekend featured the predictable crowded roads and difficult parking in Yosemite Valley and at Glacier Point. It's been an interesting experiment to try separate lanes for cars and buses in the east end of the Valley. I was camped near a quiet meadow where I saw no one, but a bear and a great grey owl. Such is Yosemite.

El Portal was in the mid-nineties all week, all grass and forbs are brown. The Merced River is running at 25-30% of average volume. The waterfalls are shrinking noticeably. Sentinel and Ribbon Creeks barely trickle to the river now, Woski Pond is down to about 30' at its widest point.

Birds and flowers are still plenty active. Two vireos, grosbeak, tanager, a few warblers, 2-3 flycatchers, and the hermit thrush are heard as you get up above the Valley. Seems like we've been seeing more Vaux's swifts in the Valley this season. Azalea is perfuming Valley meadows now, cow parsnip is opening. Dogwoods fade, but are still nice higher up. Noticed a monarch in the Valley this morning, as milkweeds are just starting to open. Pale swallowtails are abundant this year.

Tuolumne Meadows hosts artist Moira Donohoe in a pastels workshop in mid-July; should be nice time to get beauty on to paper with her there.

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