Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Yosemite Valley and beyond October 30, 2009

Wednesday’s day trip to Yosemite did not happen – too tired, too much wind & Tioga Pass closed; one of the images I wanted to take was at Siesta Lake along the Tioga Road.

The urge to go, however, festered and Friday 10/30 was it, I just had to get up and go. Overall I could have turned around and go back to sleep when my alarm went off, but I am too nosey and have to see for myself. In hindsight, I should have taken all the images I wanted on Monday, but I ran out of light… :-(
On the road at 3:30AM (took hwy 120 this time). Stopped in Oakdale for gas and at Denny’s for a breakfast to go. Was by the Yosemite Chapel at 6:50AM and dawn was just breaking.
I drove to the Yosemite Village Parking lot and ate my breakfast. The trees that would be in full color in front of the store were already bare……

So, I started my valley loop around 7:30AM. Most of the dogwoods around the village are either green-brown, light yellow or bare. The elm tree in Cooks meadow is just about bare. The oak trees are at peak (orange-brown or 50% bare) I had a morning image planned here but skipped it based on these conditions. Some of the other places I had scoped out on Monday were now past peak or bare. The oak behind the chapel is about 75% bare and the color is deep orange-brown.


Fall Colors along a trail with a view of the three brothers – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

Dogwoods around the valley look like they are going to the yellow-brown stage. There are a few colorful trees here and there, but I did not stop for them. At Fern Spring I could see the damage the wind has done. A lot of green leaves were ripped off of the trees and were now on the ground. The spring itself was full of leaves, but not what I had pictured it to be. I have an image from 2008 where the whole small pond is covered in leaves.

I left the valley to drive to Siesta Lake at ~8,000 ft. I wanted a shot of the lake and its October ring of red blueberry bushes. They were somewhat past peak and part of the lake was frozen, but I think I got a few good reflections on the unfrozen parts. From here I turned around and drove into the Merced River Canyon. You will find great color along highway 140 and Incline Road, but it is difficult to get a good shot, not unless you want to rock hop or stand in the river. I found a couple of areas along Incline Road where I could stop and shoot. For most of it I just enjoyed the drive amongst the color.


Siesta Lake – Yosemite National Park – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Siesta Lake Reflections – Yosemite National Park – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Siesta Lake – Yosemite National Park – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Merced River Reflections – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Yellow Fall Wildflower found along Incline Road outside of Yosemite – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

Back to the valley by 1:30PM for one more loop. I got a great shot of Bridalveil Falls and a yellow oak right from the parking lot. The afternoon sun was back lighting the oaks in El Capitan meadow and I shot here for a while. Most of them were orange-brown with a few yellow ones. A few of them were already 50% bare.


Bridalveil Falls – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Black Oak El Capitan Meadow – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Colorful leaves on shrubs found in El Capitan Meadow – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

Taking highway 120 to leave the park, I came upon a bear jam, with cars parking in the middle of the road – I did not stop this time, the bear was up on a hill and there was no way to pull over. I had to drive into on-coming traffic to get by. The dogwoods along Highway 120 west of Crane Flat were bare. I had planned on shooting them…….too late. There may be some colorful ones left in the Merced or Tuolumne Groves.
A few colorful spots can be found along hwy 120 and I took the Smith Station Road - J132 to Coulterville. This was a beautiful drive, the road is littered with yellow oaks (but no way to stop), and I just enjoyed the colorful ride to hwy 49. Back home at 7:45PM.


Black Oak Leaves – October 30, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

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