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Yosemite: far from the madding crowd

Ah, Spring! When everyone’s fancy turns to thoughts of Yosemite! :-)

At least, that is what traffic to my blog entries suggests!

I was a little surprised tonight to see a photo (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times) taken EXACTLY where I took a number of photos of sunset (1; actually, I took a series of them at about 5-minute intervals) turning Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs bright orange, on the way back from a trip to Mono Lake with my son on September 28, 2007! There is a small lake in which Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs are reflected, very near the Tioga Road (Highway 120). I recognized the clump of trees at the center of the photo immediately. BTW (By The Way), the Tioga Pass is now OPEN, according to one of my wife’s friends on Facebook, who made the trip today!

I like the LA Times photo for the amount of water in the lake and the grasses in the foreground, both of which were absent in late September of 2007. Don’t panic! Lakes can become meadows. Overall, I like my photo better, for the magical process in which the two mountains became bright orange at sunset. A short time later, I took this photo, a short distance to the west, which won an honorable mention in a local art show.

Boster describes escaping the crowds and the tour buses of Yosemite Valley for a trip along the Tioga Road. The fact that the road is now open is an attraction for me, since I have not seen that part of the park at this time of year. Boster writes about Tuolumne Meadows (my photo below), at 8,600 feet, being “… filled with beautiful vernal pools, wild flowers and hiking trails that lead to pristine lakes and crystal streams.”

Coincidentally, :-) I have the photo above as a 20×30-inch print hung on a wall in our downstairs study (the other two walls are windows, our “corner office”). I have the print behind nonreflective glass, and I took it to our critique group last week, telling them that I entitle the photo, “too much sky!” I told the group that editors could use it as a stock photo and “put the beer commercial” in the blue sky. :-) I also told them that it is difficult to take a photo of this kind of scale in the Midwest without having a cornfield (or wheatfield) in it! (I am from the Midwest. :-) And I like both the Midwest’s geography and its people….)

Folks in the West do not always appreciate the VASTNESS of the land that they inhabit – the endless blue sky and the conifer-bounded sprawling meadows (tundra, in the case of Tuolumne). It is actually hard for some city dwellers “back East” (or in some other countries) to imagine spaces that inhabitants of the American West take for granted.

The LA Times story offers additional links to related stories. Take the drive, if you can! My wife was unable to join my son and I on our trip to Mono Lake, so she has never seen this part of Yosemite National Park.

I plan to try to change that this summer. You owe it to yourself to see this part of Yosemite, too!

-Bill at

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