Posted by Paul Groves on May 25, 2017

Yosemite–Day 5 of 5

Yosemite National Park–Day 5

Since I did not see Happy Isles and The Fen, we took a walk to that area this morning. It was interesting to see the water level sign from the 1997 Flood. We can see the water level from yesterday and today… pretty high. After that walk, we packed and the students showed up around noon. We are going to get on the road. We overnight in Fresno and then drive back to Sylmar on Friday. Wonderful Trip, but it will be nice to have a room with a bathroom attached!

Posted by Paul Groves on May 25, 2017

Yosemite–Day 4 of 5

Yosemite National Park–Day 4

We did different things today. Ron hiked an uphill trail to see Vernal Falls. He also walked through Happy Isles watching the rushing water (higher and faster than usual for this time) and visited the Fen, a marshy area with feathery fields of fern (alliteration) that gave a fluffy, fuzzy appearance to the landscape.

During the same time, Paul went with Yosemite Art Center’s guest teacher, Sonja Hamilton, for a watercolor class outdoors. When you paint out in nature, that is called “plein air” painting that brings with it its own set of problems such as where to sit, where to put your palette, packing in your clean water and packing out your dirty water, and lunch (that I forgot). Sonja was a very good teacher and the first two hours was us watching her paint while she discussed the choices she was making and techniques she was using. The second two hours was work time for painting our own views of the falls. I learned a lot (not enough, obviously, from my paintings below).

We stopped at the Falls View, below Lower Yosemite Falls. We could also see Upper Yosemite Falls, but part of painting is deciding what portion of nature you will focus on for the moment. I also tried to paint a little ladybug I saw on a bench while taking a rest from hiking.

Posted by Paul Groves on May 25, 2017

Yosemite–Day 3 of 5

Yosemite National Park–Day 3

For Day 3, we signed up for a tour of the valley floor on “the Green Dragon”, a truck-pulled trailer of four-person seats. This was a two hour tour led by a Park Ranger, Carol. She has been in service in the Park for many years and was knowledgeable as well as interesting. She told us that the water level (due to the snow melting in this warm weather) is 177% of normal. Some of the tent-houses are flooded, the swinging bridge is underwater, and the river is too fast to allow rafting. On the other hand, there are waterfalls to see that are often just a trickle or do not exist at all a little later in the year. Yosemite Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Vernal Falls are more impressive than usual. Our Ranger also told us of a huge flood in 1997 while she was here. A sign commemorates the amazing height of the water.

We stopped at several places to stretch our legs and take pictures. One of the stops was called Tunnel View, a vista point just after you pass through a tunnel on the south entrance. One of the other visitors took our picture, unfortunately, I am totally blocking a waterfall!

When we stopped to view El Capitan, Ron, with his eagle eyes, picked out two climbers on the face of the rock. The Ranger explained to us that the climbers work in teams of two. I was amazed to learn that a climb might take five days and that the climbers must carry a gallon of water for each climber for each day! Add to that food, climbing gear, and sleeping gear and that is much more of an adventure than I would want to try.

After the tour and lunch, we headed over to The Majestic (formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel). It was built to attract the richer guests. It has some very nice features. We especially liked the tall stain glassed windows in the lobby. Rather than take the shuttle back to our camp, we walked and enjoyed the views and waterways. After dinner, Half Dome looked great in the setting sunlight. Another wonderful day in Yosemite and no emergency calls and no drama.

Posted by Paul Groves on May 23, 2017

Yosemite–Day 2 of 5

The Merced River runs through the valley. I liked this view of Half Dome over the river. Even when the light is nearly gone, the Merced River is beautiful and gentle. We had to take a Selfie during our walk and my eye was caught by this nice contrast in colors and textures of the leaves against the moss on the bark of the tree.

On our way to the viewpoint for Yosemite Falls, Ron ventured out on a log over a stream for a photo opportunity. We have watched for wildlife and have seen birds, squirrels, and several deer. Here is a photo of our tent cabin in Camp Curry. Notice the “bear box” outside where we have to store anything that has a food-like odor. We put our granola bars, shampoo, and deodorant in the box. In the night, I have heard some rustling noises, but it is probably only people going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The pretty yellow-white flowers are on the Dogwood trees. They contrast nicely with the dark bark of the surrounding trees.

I keep using this phrase, “The photo simply does not do this justice!” We followed the trail to the view of the upper and lower Yosemite Falls and that was very nice. We then followed the trail to the Lower Yosemite Falls and Wow! We were at a large stone bridge where the spray from the falls hit you in the face, the roaring sound of the water and the people scuttling about to get pictures and enjoy the moment made this the most exciting stop of the day. Nature is so beautiful from a distance, but being closer, in the “Splash Zone” really makes a difference for the experience. Fun.

Posted by Paul Groves on May 23, 2017

Yosemite–Day 1 of 5

Yosemite National Park–Day 1

We are in beautiful Yosemite Park for five days as the Evacuation Chaperones for about 60 of my high school seniors. They hike for several days and someone needs to stay on the valley floor in case someone is injured and needs to be sent home. The chaperones were having trouble finding someone who could miss school/work for several days to help. Ta-daa. Ron and I fit the bill just fine. I am sorry that we had to call off Bingo with no notice to our players, but I am not sorry to spend five days amid this magnificent scenery. We visited Yosemite back in 1982. It was time to return.

Even on the drive into the main portion of the park, the scenery was amazing. From the car, Ron was able to photograph the valley with El Capitan and Half Dome. Coming through a tunnel, Ron captured Bridal Veil Falls with Half Dome in the distance. We are staying in a spacious and comfortable tent cabin for the five days. Luckily, there is an outlet so we can charge our camera batteries, iPhones & iPads. Walking around, Ron captured a nice image of El Capitan. Yosemite Falls (Upper Yosemite Falls) made a great picture with the mist at the bottom of the falls.

On the first night, we accompanied the group to Mirror Lake where you could see Half Dome in the evening light reflected in the relatively still water. A large stone (topped by one of the students) also made a nice reflective picture.