The recent weeks of steady cold allowed the growth of terrific hoarfrost formations in Yosemite Valley. Spikes and florets and feathers of ice condensed out of the atmosphere onto the ground, river ice, and tree branches wherever moisture and cold combined. A bit of this happens every winter, but this season's displays are exceptional.
Late this week, conditions have thawed. The first Amsinckia (fiddleneck) of the season has bloomed outside the Conservancy office in El Portal. There's a sunny bank where they often show early, and here's our first contestant in this year's mating game. Wilhelm Amsinck never came to California, but was a patron of the Hamburg Botanical Garden and his philanthropy is still rewarded today with us exclaiming his name each spring. (The picture shows fiddlenecks last spring.)
In shady spots further down canyon, Kumlienia (waterfall buttercup) is blooming profusely now. Thure Kumlien was a Swedish naturalist who relocated to Wisconsin a few years before the Muir family arrived there. As John Muir did, he spent as much time in the woods as he could and later taught school for a time. Now his legacy lives on in this genus, the first flower we find each season.
The road into Hetch Hetchy has been closed until an eroding section can be safely stablized.
Steve B. has crafted his best video yet, "One Day in Yosemite." After you watch it, plan yourself several days in Yosemite.
The Conservancy's 'Yosemite Outdoor Adventures' are all on line for the whole year now. Don't miss out on a chance to get out on the trail with us and learn from the best in the field.