“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”
We settled in at the small hamlet of Lee Vining and the Mono Vista RV park for a few days before we planned a day trip up to Eastern Yosemite. The fires burning in Sequioa and the western Sierra Nevada were still filling the air with haze and smoke but we decided to go anyway.
We left early. The entrance is a mere 12 miles from Lee Vining but the climb was steep. US 120 wound it’s way up to Tioga Pass at 9945 feet.the views were spectacular with the soft hazy light.We had our America the beautiful Park Pass, a wonderful deal for $80, it gives you and your vehicle free entrance into any Federal park for a year.
It is difficult to describe in words the majesty of this area..massive stone and meadows, skylines of trees as far as the eye can see, streams and brooks…life. Mike and I stared and drove in silence past the Lembert Dome and into the Tuolomne Meadows. There were western white pine, mountain hemlock, and lodgepole pine in the forests, among the subalpine meadows small violet wild flowers,brewers lupines(?)were blooming with some faded asters and a few butterflies flew from plant to plant searching for food.
We stopped at the Ranger station in Tuolomne Meadows to ask about setting up the telescope in the Park for Public Outreach Astronomy. The rangers gave us some contact numbers so hopefully later in the year Mike can set his telescope up at Glacier Point, a lifelong dream of his. We walked to the campground to check the size of sights and possibility of bringing the trailer up here..Mike was worried about the climb for the Tundra and the elevation for the old kitties.How could you not want this view?;)
After a short hike around chasing butterflies and birds we headed West again threading our way through the mountains past Fairview and Medlicott Domes where some intrepid mountain-climbers could be seen like ants scaling the sides of the cliffs..above them an ancient solitary pine sprung from the rock.Where it receives it nourishment or water I know not!
These spectacular domes dominate the landscape along the Tioga Road. Only open in the summer this road is a spectacular drive. Further down we came to Tenaya Lake and stopped for lunch beside the clear blue waters under some pines. The lakeshore was busy but we found a spot out on the point and sat for a while. We quickly drew the attention of a Brewers Blackbird family as well as a horde of Stellar Jays. So blue, and so cheeky! Wonderful to sit and watch them. We could certainly feel the elevation once we got to walking around. You take it slow with lots of water:) After the birds finished our crumbs we decided to head back to Mono Lake. Enough for one day, with no schedule and no route we can come and go as we please;)
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”
We drove as far as Olmsted Point where the half dome could barely be seen through the smoke and haze before deciding to head back. The afternoon diurnal winds have whipped up every day since we arrived like clockwork. The fire fighters bane no doubt as we watched the smoke rise from the Walker lake fire. I looked around in awe as we wound our way back down…sometimes there are no words to describe natures beauty..I suppose that is what makes me so passionate about capturing what I see through the lens of my camera..even then it pales at the beauty in front of me.
I look forward to returning and exploring the West and the many points between in this astounding area. As the oldest Nature Preserve in North America, this 1200 square mile area is so precious to the world and it’s inhabitants. A reminder of how small and insignificant we truly are, in a wonderful way, compared to the power and beauty of what we see before us. Thanks Abe (Lincoln) for your remarkable foresight!
Until our next adventure…A visit to a Ghost town..0_0…stay tuned and stop for a moment today and reflect on something beautiful in your life:)