Recent storms have ended our Indian Summer conditions here. The snowline remained high, and it's quite mild this week, but Glacier Point and Tioga Roads are closed to cars (probably until May).
The Merced River shot up from around 60 to just over 2000 cfs in Yosemite Valley during the latest wave of heavy precipitation. Our waterfalls have roared back to life after a long parched spell.
Leaves are off the deciduous trees now. At the same time, El Portal has a lush ground cover of brand new grass and forb growth. Newly sprouted lupines and cranesbill are already identifiable by their foliage, but we don't expect flowers for a few months.
I spent Saturday pursuing nothing but woodpeckers; we encountered six species between El Portal, Foresta and Crane Flat - a couple more hours of daylight might've turned up more of this interesting taxa. Acorn woodpeckers are very busy storing and sorting this year's crop. Did you know that they're in the same genus as the Lewis Woodpecker? The genus name Melanerpes translates as 'black creeper.'
The Conservancy's 2013 field institute courses are all now open for registration; you can find birding, wildflowers, geology, photography, family programs, art courses, backpack treks and no less than seven trips to Half Dome in the "Yosemite Outdoor Adventures" line-up. Yosemite has something to teach you...