After reviewing the Yosemite National Park webcams for about an hour, and toying with the idea of an unplanned trip, but I eventually decided it would be a waste not to go. Yosemite after all is only more beautiful when storms roll through.
Once I got onto the 41 to head towards Yosemite I knew it was going to be a good day, as I could see the massive cloud cover all over the Sierra Nevada. Usually, if the clouds are all over the mountains, you are in for a special treat the entire day.
The closer I approached the town of Oakhurst I realized how good the day could really be, as clouds had already covered the town which usually isn’t the case. Normally you begin to see clouds when you hit the small town of Fish Camp just outside the Southern Yosemite Entrance Gate.
After passing through Fish Camp and entering the park I eventually hit rain and fog conditions, but nothing too extreme. With frequent breaks of clouds allowing sunshine to hit the Valley, I decided I should head to Tunnel View, rather than my original plans of Glacier Point.
Normally when you have a mixture of rain and sunshine you can view a rainbow form at Tunnel View, but with little to no rain at Tunnel View it ended up being a somewhat bust. Not completely because there were some impressive clouds forming, along with the sun lighting up El Captain, but not enough to keep me there for more than five minutes.
Being this was a last-minute trip and I wanted to cover so much ground, I headed towards the Valley in hopes of capturing clouds and fog forming around El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks; and of course wildlife. Neither of those happened, as the clouds and fog hadn’t formed how I had liked.
There was however one bright spot to this. As I waited I could hear thunder off in the distance, and could see the massive black clouds that were approaching Tunnel View. I packed everything up and headed back towards Tunnel View, hoping that maybe this could be the time to capture a rainbow if the sun could make an appearance.
It didn’t, but the storm still brought its own entertainment. Thunderclaps so loud it felt like the ground was going to give way beneath you. Lighting strikes hitting between Cathedral Rocks and Sentinel Dome, not to mention all around. Of course it all comes with its consequences, as I was completely soaked from head to toe — but when you’re wet, your wet! Might as well ride the storm out in hopes of capturing something — which is exactly what I did.
On the way up the temperature dropped fast. Glacier Point is naturally cold, and with a strong storm that would only make it colder, but it quickly dropped from 53 at Tunnel View to 40 half way up Glacier Point Road. Eventually, near Badger Pass it was 33 degrees, and before I knew it snow covered the road. Sometimes entirely, sometimes partially, but snow had covered a thing layer nearly the entire way to Glacier Point from Badger Pass.
With near nobody in existence along Glacier Point, I had the entire area to myself to capture sunset. In the beginning it didn’t appear to be anything special, but then the colors in the sky began to change from orange to pink, adding bits of alpenglow to the peaks behind Half Dome, while also lighting up the bits of snow covering them.
Though simple, it was one of the most amazing sunsets I had ever witnessed in Yosemite. The pinks and blues of the sky, with Half Dome and snow-covered peaks was beyond surreal.