Yosemite National Park turned 125 years old Thursday, and with storms in the forecast I decided it might be a good time to make a trip.
Much to my surprise there was little to no people as one would expect for such a large event, but that also might have been in part due to rain and birthday festivities taking place earlier in the day.
Due to entering the park a little later than usual, I decided to take the back way into Yosemite, via Chowchilla Mountain Road. With rain and dirt roads, it was needless to say quite an adventure — one that you wouldn’t want to take without a vehicle with some decent height and AWD or 4WD.
Coming away from Summit Campground towards the park entrance the dirt hills had turned to slick mud. It was equivalent to driving on ice as the rear end would slide out from me at any given moment, but thankfully that only lasted for a few hundred feet.
One in the park I went directly to Glacier Point as I felt the landscape would be covered by clouds — which it was — and make for some great photos.
On the way up Glacier Point Road I found a baby bear which appeared to have been born this year running along the road. Its mother sat down in the manzanita brush a few feet away, near the location I had seen a bear roughly two years of age earlier in the week. Unfortunately by the time I was able to find a turnout to park in and walk back down they were both gone.
A bit frustrated I walked back to the car and headed towards Glacier Point where clouds would surround Half Dome and the High Country, while allowing the sun to peak through and light various peaks. Having photographed this area many times in the past, this was one of my favorite times due to the sun breaking through and lighting up the landscape.
After spending about an hour at Glacier Point I wanted to hit the Valley to see what photo opportunities there might be from fog and clouds. While Tunnel View didn’t give any spectacular views, I felt it would be a good idea to look for wildlife. While deer took over meadows, there was no sight of bobcats, bears, or the mountain lions I have been on the hunt for over the past year.
As the sun began to set and rain fell harder, it was time to end the day in Yosemite, but like clockwork that’s when the photo opportunities would begin.
The sun would sneak it’s way through the Valley Floor and light up the granite walls as low clouds would roll in between El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks. Of course during this time a double rainbow had made an appearance which was unable to be seen from Cook’s Meadow, but later I realized you don’t always get this unique view of a sunset from the Valley.
With snow and rain in the forecast a trip to Yosemite in the next few days is imminent. A mixture of snow, clouds and sunset would be a nice way to start the week.