Friday, April 19, 2002

San Francisco to Sydney - Day 4

Day 4 : Yosemite National Park

Last night it snowed. I first became aware of this at about 4:30am as I was on my way to the toilet block, wearing thongs and a short-sleeved t-shirt. Early mornings have never seen me at my intellectual peak - this morning was no exception - and so it wasn't until I was about three-quarters of the way to my ultimate destination that I realised my feet felt unexpectedly cold. And damp.

Cabin with Snow On returning to the cabin, I informed Debbie that it had been snowing. She immediately threw back the front curtain to see the snow for herself, explaining to me that it wouldn't last until morning. Quite what she expected to melt the snow I'm still unsure, but no such phenomenon took place and we awoke a few hours later to about 5 to 7 centimetres of snow and slush, as you can see in the photo at left.

Snow has that magical ability to make you look at things with a fresh perspective. So, around 9:00am, we struck out on foot to witness Yosemite's landmarks under a fresh coat of snow. At first, most of the landmarks were totally or partially obscured by mists that clung to the sides of the mountains. Eventually though, as the Sun's rays became strong enough to burn off some of the mist, we started to spot familiar shapes in the skyline.

Merced River On the right is a shot of the Merced River. It's very similar to a shot I posted a couple of days ago, except that the mountains and trees in the background are now snow-covered. Despite all the surrounding snow, it was surprisingly warm outside, particularly out in the Sun. Walking under trees was hazardous though, as they dropped ice down onto the walking track with no pattern and no warning.

Our original plan had been to walk to Bridalveil Falls, a long walk even under ideal conditions. Today, we were particularly slow in the initial part of the walk as we kept stopping to take in the view and to take photo after photo. Then, the track we were following crossed a stream which had been made impassably wide and icy by the recent snowstorm, so we were forced to backtrack and then walk by the side of the road.

Broken Arrow After a couple of hours of walking, we abandoned our original plans and instead settled for the 8 or 9 mile round-trip journey from our cabin at Curry Village to Yosemite Lodge via El Capitan. The photo at left was taken as we headed for El Capitan and is of a landmark called The Broken Arrow.

Snow Plow SignIt snowed again very lightly at lunch and then once more, a little heavier, as we arrived back at Curry Village. Debbie and I think that this is the first time we've been out walking while it snowed. It's a pleasant enough sensation, but I imagine the novelty would fade rapidly once you'd been snowed on and made damp a few times.

The sign in the photo at right is not one we expected to see on this trip to Yosemite. We're hoping they're not required to plough a path out of here for our bus tomorrow.

Originally posted by TC

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