By 8 o’clock the sun is high in the sky and blazing in the living room window. I have to draw the drapes for a couple of hours after having just opened them at sunrise around 6:30.
I was up early on a Saturday as it’s our day to run the sprinklers for a few minutes. The weatherman is promising a rain storm later next week which I hope comes through. We are parched. As are the mountains.
We drove up to Yosemite yesterday and were shocked to see all the creeks dry. Trees are dying by the thousands. Even the iconic falls in Yosemite Valley are just small trickles in comparison to their raging waters of years past.
The dogwoods were blooming which was our main reason to go. I don’t think I can stand going again until this drought has ended. The devastation is heartbreaking.
The weather has been warm for November. No rain yet and the temperatures in the 50s in the mornings, 70s in the afternoon. The mountains got a dusting of snow a week or so ago, and we had noticed that the highs in Yosemite had been in the 50s so expected cooler temperatures there than in Fresno. We dressed in layers and took jackets, gloves and coats on our trip Friday to Mariposa Grove.
What with hiking, the sun, my hooded sweatshirt, scarf and a couple of other layers, I was pretty comfortable when we set off on the trail so I left my coat in the car. Here I am at the first bridge:
Terry had a heavy jacket and his hat on but he was cold for most of the hike. I was usually ahead of him, walking at a faster pace and probably stopping less often to take pictures.
By the time we started back, I had stripped the sweatshirt off and just had the scarf around my shoulders. Being in the sun made a difference, too.
Sitting down for lunch, though, in a shady spot, I decided I needed the sweatshirt again to warm up. Terry was still in his jacket and hat. He never did warm up until we got back to the car and then down the hill.
Although 51 degrees when we left Yosemite, the temperature soon came up and by the time we pulled into Fresno it was 64 degrees. Maybe the days are getting cooler.
The weather here is amazing. Still warm and dry for November. It’s really not good for our water situation, but great for humans to get out and see the spectacular autumn colors.
We kept hearing about the beautiful colors in Yosemite and then an article ran in the local paper about Mariposa Grove being closed to automobiles after this season. It was definitely time for a trip to Yosemite.
The Mariposa Grove of big trees is on the south end of the park so it’s only 90 minutes from our house. We were on the trail by 9:45, hiked for a couple of hours, and then enjoyed our picnic lunch behind the gift shop which is closed for the season and will be removed from the area before next season.
On our way home we stopped at a new candy store in Oakhurst. It’s a new building and new name for Oakhurst, but the same candy company from Three Rivers where we have gone for 40 years. The candy is made in Three Rivers at their store using old family recipes from Germany. Although a nice shop, the Oakhurst location doesn’t hold a candle to the Three Rivers store. But the candy is just as good.
Terry and I made the trek to Yosemite one day this week. There is still snow on some of the roadsides and the two major roads–Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Road–are not open due to snow and fear of avalanche. The falls are roaring and full as the snowmelt is the largest in decades. Yosemite Valley is absolutely gorgeous with all the new growth and an abundance of dogwood trees which are just now blooming. Usually they bloom in mid-April. Here are a few samples of their bounty:
We photo-walked the area around Bridal Veil fall and took the trail as far as we could before getting drenched by the mist coming off of the fall. We also walked from the chapel to the Yosemite Falls, again getting pretty damp as we climbed up to the viewing area for the lower falls. It’s impossible to take pictures in that kind of mist.
Many of my blogging friends and dear Readers are off on spring break THIS week. Oh, my. Another four weeks for the schools in this part of the country. We still take Easter (shhh) break around here. And since Easter is really late this year, so is the break. Time, though, will fly after everyone returns to school for the last seven weeks. School will be out June 9, and many of my teaching buddies are counting the days already.
As for spring in the San Joaquin Valley–it’s having a hard time making itself known. Huge storm came through over the weekend. All the roads into Yosemite are closed due to snow, flooding, downed trees, downed powerlines. You name it, it’s blocking the roads. And it’s unseasonably cold. That’s why the snow level is so low. So, this is really not a good week for
Easter spring break.
My Facebook friends, and others whom I know, and myself when I was teaching, all give the Friday rally call of TGIF. Thank God it’s Friday. Exhausted, ready for the weekend, seeking some time to ourselves. Except now, my husband and I wake up, and when we realize it’s Friday, it’s OMG, how did it get to be Friday ALREADY.
I think I’ve figured this out. When teaching, I was working so hard all week and each day was measured, but none of the time was my own. Now, every day is my own, and although I have worked all week, it’s been on activities that excite me.
I had one meeting this week, and I could hardly believe two hours flew by and I needed to get home so I could fix dinner. I spent hours doing research and making phone calls for the microfinance startup where I am working a couple of days a week yet I also had time to bake and cook. Terry and I took off on Wednesday and drove to Yosemite just to see God’s wonders in our own backyard.
Half Dome viewed from Taft Point
I edited photos and uploaded a batch to Flickr. And this morning we woke up and said, “Oh my gosh, it’s Friday. We only have two days left in Fresno to get a whole lot of work done. How did that happen?”
Today I am taking the chicken enchilada dish I prepared yesterday and heading back to the inner city high school for another birthday party for one of my teaching buddies. I know they will all be tired and ready for a weekend as this was an insane week for them what with grade distribution thrown in there on top of all the other work they have to do. I remember that week so well that it still makes me ache when I think about it. I, on the other hand, am well rested, and filled with ideas for the work I will do next week–writing a piece for the Laotian medical nonprofit for whom I volunteer, continuing my pursuit of an SMS provider for the microfinance startup, and talking with an organization for whom I may do some tutoring. OMG, Life is so exciting.
We spent the night in a little town outside of Yosemite after the wedding so that we could go into Yosemite early in the morning. I had heard that the tunnel view of Yosemite Valley had been revamped and I wanted to see how it turned out. I was very impressed. They cut down some trees and repositioned the parking and viewing areas.
The story behind the picture
The view is pretty spectacular, especially in the spring when the Bridal Veil fall is full.
Down the road apiece there is a bridge that goes across the Merced River and at the center point you can get a really good view of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.
Taken from the center of the swinging bridge.
Lovely day in one of the most beautiful spots on earth. I feel so fortunate to have this national park in our backyard and only 90 minutes away.