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Monday, May 24, 2010


Yosemite National Park - May 2010


The Water Falls * Dogwood Flowers

Despite the discouraging weather forecast, a friend invited me to accompany him to go to Yosemite and hike to Nevada Falls during the weekend of May 22nd/23rd.  We were there in July 2009 when we hiked up to the top of Yosemite Falls.   Earlier years, we had done Half Dome and Glacier Point.

We drove from the Bay area on Friday afternoon and got to the park just as darkness was settling in.  The Housekeeping Units near Curry Village provide bare-bones kind of accommodation.  At $90.00 per night (sleeps four in bunk beds) they are not cheap but the location is right to make it a base for hikes.    The valley itself is far from pleasant during the peak season -- overrun with tourists and their cars.  The Valley Shuttle buses provide excellent service but some people are loath to give up their cars, traffic congestion and pollution be damned.   

The night was colder than we expected. Fortunately, a space heater carried from home helped. Woke up on Saturday to a sunny, bright sky that made us hopeful that perhaps the forecast was wrong.  But by 11:00, the sky became overcast and a cold wind started blowing.  We decided to stay with the plan and take John Muir trail instead of the Mist Trail, and go on to Nevada Falls bypassing Vernal Falls.  

Never made it.  By noon the snow flurries began.  The weather did not deter hundreds of  hikers on the Mist Trail.  We, too, hiked on the Mist Trail.  The stone steps were slippery and  saw a number of hikers with injuries (bruises and sprain ankles) being ministered to by a ranger.

On Sunday, the weather was better but we did not have time to go up to Nevada Falls. Took the short hike to Mirror Lake.  Unlike our previous visit when the lake was just a sandy bed, this time there was water and it looked pretty.  

The water falls are always spectacular at this time of the year.  Perhaps this year more so because of the unusual amount of rainfall and high snowpack in the Sierras.

The dogwood trees are in bloom, and I have never seen them in such splendour.

Raging Merced River 


Bridal Veil Falls at dusk


Distant view of Vernal Falls

Hikers on Mist Trail

Shutterbugs on Mist Trail

Awesome view of Vernal Falls


Upper Yosemite Falls
Odd shaped tree trunk alongside Mirror Lake trail

Mirror Lake

The sheer side of Half Dome viewed from Mirror Lake

Dogwood trees in bloom

Close up of Dogwood flowers

In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering judas,    
To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk .....

T.S. Eliot - Geroniton

For those planning a trip to Yosemite, the water falls should be flowing in force through June.  The Tioga Pass and Glacier Point roads remain closed.  In 2009, the Tioga Pass Road opened on May 19th.  This year, work is still continuing to make the road drivable.  Check the
following web site to get current status:


Climbing Half Dome the conventional way after hiking approximately 9 miles from the trailhead to the base of the dome now requires permits during weekends and holidays.  This was a long-overdue measure which the Park Services put into place for the first time before the beginning of the 2010 season.  The Half Dome cables for climbing the rock will not be in place over the May 28-31 climbing period.  If you are planning a climb, check the web site below:  


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