Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but also deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, & more.
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Food for thought! These large pileated woodpeckers were seen foraging on an incense cedar tree in search of ants, beetle larvae, termites, and other insects. Leaning their heads far from the tree and pulling back with their legs, these woodpeckers can strike a tree at speeds up to 15 miles per hour! How do they not get a headache? Powerful neck muscles absorb most of the shock while the bird's brain fits snuggly into its skull with little room to rattle around.
Yosemite’s plants are busy growing and you can help! Be sure to stay on trails and keep an eye out for area closed signs. Plants are important members of ecosystems. Just like human communities need members in different roles, so do natural ones.
From the trail you can often see inhabitants exploring their grassy homes, such as beetles, bees, butterflies, even a squirrel or two (or three or four). If you get lucky, you may see a deer or bear grazing on these plants throughout the summer and fall.
How often in my dreams I see/Thy mountains beckon luringly/Thy granite spires, Tuolumne,/Cathedral Peaks and Lambert [sic] Dome,/The wide-winged eagle’s rugged home/.../Thy river calm its banks between,/Thy shimmering robe of meadow green,/Thy sparkling dew on blade and tree,/Thy jeweled veil, Tuolumne... - Clare Marie Hodges, first female park ranger for the National Park Service in Yosemite, from the poem "Tuolumne." #Yosemite#NationalPark#YosemiteNationalPark#meadow#nature#TuolumneMeadows#LembertDome
Have you spotted these beauties in Yosemite? The mariposa lily (Calochortus) is a hardy, yet elegant flower abundant in the Sierra Nevada region. These flowers are often spotted in rocky, dry areas where other flowers may struggle to grow, and are known to thrive after a wildfire. While the flower portion of the plant may burn, its underground bulb survives and often blooms in abundance shortly after a fire has passed through.
Yosemite is open and all facilities and services that have opened for the season are operating, including all park entrances. People who are sensitive to smoke or suffer from respiratory problems are encouraged to minimize outdoor activities, as we are still receiving smoke from the fire.
“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to @calfire and all of the other agencies who have been working to suppress the Detwiler Fire,” stated Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “Yosemite National Park and our employees are grateful for their hard work and dedication to fight this fire. We are always proud to work with our sister agencies to help support our gateway communities.”
Photo taken from the Tioga Road, looking west toward the fire.
This #ThrowbackThursday, we're taking a trip back to a 1920s and 1930s Yosemite with William and Grace McCarthy in "California Memoirs: The William M. McCarthy Photograph Collection," a new exhibit from the California State Archives. The McCarthys enjoyed photography and took over 3,000 photographs of California throughout the early 1900s. In Yosemite, they stayed at Camp Curry (now called Half Dome Village), traveled through the "Arched Rock" on the El Portal Road, and even took a photo at Tunnel View!
Check out more images of California in the past (including Yosemite) by visting https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/swLS9iIl8j9iLQ
Which era of Yosemite's past would you want to visit?
Today is World Listening Day, a day devoted to attempting to better understand the world and its natural environment, societies, and cultures through the practice of listening. When is the last time you stopped to listen?
Why might we have an innate fear of one scene but not the other?
While it may appear that these two scenes pose different risks, they are equally dangerous. Each year, 15 - 20 rescues are directly associated with unprepared victims finding themselves in the water either on purpose (swimming, boating, rafting) or accidentally (falling while hiking, crossing streams, scrambling on rocks). Be safe this summer and follow posted "No Swimming" signs, wear a life jacket when rafting, and stay on trail. Learn more about water safety here: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/watersafety.htm.
As you peer up at Yosemite Valley's walls and waterfalls, don't forget to take a glance at the trees above. You never know what you might spy, or who may already have their eyes on you...
Though meadows only make up 3% of Yosemite's landscape, these important and fragile ecosystems provide a rich and vital habitat for a significant variety of plants and animals. Alpine meadows, such as Tuolumne Meadows, are particularly sensitive to human impact, due to the short growing season. While you enjoy the beauty of this iconic element of the park, please stay on designated trails to minimize your impact on the land.
There are some spectacular views in Yosemite, like this view from the top of Vernal Fall. Water has always been shaping the park, creating the dynamic landscape we see today. Water creates the opportunities for plants to grow which, in turn, create habitat for wildlife. Without water, Yosemite would be a completely different experience.
When you are out enjoying these sights, remember to stay hydrated! Many trail incidents can be prevented by simply drinking enough water while hiking. We recommend carrying enough water in order to drink a minimum of 1 quart (1 liter) every 2 hours.
What are those pink flowers in the meadow? They are showy milkweed, a special plant present in the Yosemite Valley. Showy milkweed defends itself from grazers by secreting a sticky latex when leaves are broken and is also poisonous to many animals. However, there are a few insects that have adapted in harmony with these plants. The showiest is the monarch butterfly, flitting around meadows on orange and black wings. Have you been lucky enough to see one this season?
When we think about national parks we often think of natural sounds, like waterfalls and birds singing. However, human created sound has been a part of Yosemite since people arrived thousands of years ago. Musical traditions traveled with different groups of people, mixing together to create a human symphony inside the park. Ranger Kaleb and Ranger Jack recently showcased their musical skills while asking the question, how can we treat everything in a national park as music?
Listen to their song and consider your own musical inspirations. Do you have a song or a style of music that makes you think of Yosemite?
Looking for wildflowers in Yosemite? Well, the Valley Floor is too hot. Yosemite's highcountry is too cold (and wet and snowy). But the mid-elevation areas? They are juuust right.
Having trouble with the midday heat of Yosemite Valley this weekend? Consider an evening stroll! The full moon will rise at 7:49 tonight, and create a spectacular opportunity for exploring the park after dark. You can watch the moon's light show on the valley walls, spot climber's headlamps on El Capitan, and maybe head to Lower Yosemite Fall to catch our famous moonbow (lunar rainbow). Nature doesn't sleep, so grab a flashlight and enjoy!
As always, please stay on designated trails while exploring the park, let others know where you are headed and expected return time, and bring the appropriate gear with you (water, flashlight, map, etc.)
Summer is in the air and the invertebrates of Cook's Meadow are out and about! This wildlife may be little, but they are colorful and spectacular. Summer is a great time to view butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, bugs, and more as they come out to enjoy the sunny days and green vegetation.
Can you find the trail in this picture? We promise, it's under there somewhere. Picture taken near Sunrise Lake High Sierra Camp.
The Tioga Road may be open, but many of the trails accessed from the Tioga Road remain very snowy. If you're planning to hike in the high country, be prepared to navigate by map and compass and expect difficult hiking on snow. Last weekend, a wilderness ranger on a routine patrol encountered THREE separate parties, seven hikers total, all completely lost while facing darkness on the way to/from Clouds Rest. Follow these tips if you're headed out into the snow: - Traveling over snow-covered trails requires route finding skills. This includes carrying—and knowing how to use—a detailed topographical map and compass. - Always have the ability to retreat or return to where you have come from by the same route. This requires you to remain aware of what’s behind you while hiking to your destination.
- Few hikers intend to hike in the darkness. Each hiker should have a headlamp, preferably two, with spare batteries. - Against our advice, hikers sometimes place rock cairns for their own reference. These are not official National Park Service markers and they are often inaccurate. Bottom line, follow someone else’s markers (or footprints) at your own risk.
- When in doubt, hike on well-defined trails. Just because the trail is snow free at the trailhead doesn’t mean it will remain snow free for the entire hike. Be willing to turn around if conditions change. #Yosemite#NationalPark#YosemiteNationalPark#SearchAndRescue#YOSAR#wilderness#CloudsRest
"A man's power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so to utter it, depends on the simplicity of his character, that is, upon his love of truth, and his desire to communicate it without loss." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Half Dome is one of the most iconic features of Yosemite. A granite face shaped by geologic forces and glaciers, it beckons visitors from all around the world. Over time, people have told stories about Half Dome, sharing cultural legends of how it arrived and stories about its challenges. Check out this short time lapse of Half Dome from Cooks Meadow.
Author Wallace Stegner once said that "National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." At Yosemite, we're celebrating the Fourth of July national park-style... by hanging out in the park with our fellow Americans and our international visitors!
This morning, Eagle Scout Jose Romo helped us raise the flag in front of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center to celebrate the day! Once the flag was flying high, Jose and his family joined rangers and visitors in singing the national anthem.
With Tioga Road fully open, about 40 more miles of roadway are now accessible to vehicles. While the opening of the road makes the high sierra more accessible, it does also present increased risk for bears getting hit by vehicles. As you explore the park, please obey speed limits and be prepared for bears, and other wildlife, to enter the road.
As always, if you see a bear in a developed area (near roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, buildings), keep your distance and scare the animal by making as much noise as possible.
The Tioga Road has finally opened, leading many hikers to some of the most tempting trailheads in the country. After a snowy winter, however, even experienced summer wilderness explorers might hit a few bumps (more likely raging rivers) along the trail. Be prepared:
- Expect creek crossings to be fast and high. If you do not feel comfortable crossing a creek, turn around.
- The snow line is at about 8,500 ft; have a map and compass (and know how to use them) as many trails are completely snow-covered. Often, there are no signs or flagging to assist with navigation. - Be wary of trails made by previous hikers as they may not have known where they were going. - DO NOT WALK ON FROZEN LAKES. Ice can be tough to read and falling through it rarely ends well.
Pictured is May Lake from June 29, 2017; still frozen.
On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln took a break from the all-consuming Civil War to sign a law protecting a small area of land hidden in the Sierra Nevada. Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias were granted to the state of California, to “be held for public use, resort, and recreation...inalienable for all time.” Under the Yosemite Grant, scenic natural areas were protected for the benefit of future generations for the first time in the history of our nation.
Yosemite National Park is expecting a busy 4th of July weekend! Are you planning to visit? Here are some tips! -Arrive before 9 am (or in the evening) to avoid congestion (otherwise, expect two- to three-hour delays). -Once parked, stay parked and use shuttles or bicycles to get around. -Do not arrive in the park without a camping or lodging reservation if you plan to spend the night. Campgrounds will be full; sleeping in your car or camping outside of campgrounds is prohibited.
-Use Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System - YARTS to avoid congestion.
Tioga Road (continuation of Highway 120 through the park) will open on Thursday, June 29, at 8 am! No food, lodging, or gas will be available along the road. Tamarack Flat Campground will be the only open campground (it fills early every day). While the road will be open, hikers should expect snowy and/or flooded conditions on trails. Please stop by the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center (open 8:30 am to 4:30 pm) to get trail conditions before hiking in the area.
As we can see on the state’s flag, grizzly bears are an iconic symbol for the state of California. Tens of thousands of grizzlies once roamed the state, living along the coastline and up through the Sierra Nevada. By the 1920s, however, all California grizzles had been hunted to extinction. In the latest episode of Yosemite Nature Notes, learn the history of this icon of the wilderness and what the symbol of the California grizzly means to Yosemite today.