Yosemite National Park, May 27, 2005

    I am planning on hiking in Yosemite.  The plan is to hike to the top of Cloud's Rest...the hard way.  I start from the Four Mile trailhead at 5:30 am.  I want to go to Glacier Point, Illilouette Falls, the Panorama Trail to the top of Nevada Falls and then on to Cloud's Rest.  On the return I am going to hike down the John Muir trail to bypass the Mist trail.  That is the plan anyway.  The weather is warm, skies clear and there are no crowds.  I hiked the Four Mile-Panorama-Mist Trail loop years before as preparation for my first Mount Whitney summit hike.  It was a long day then and it will be a longer day today with the addition of a Cloud's Rest summit.  What was I thinking?
    Well my thoughts included; epic day hike, nice views, a nice photo of Illilouette Falls, nice panorama photo opportunity on Cloud's Rest and some great exercise.  I think the photos show that I got most but not all of that.  But I think the photos show that I got a few things I didn't expect.  Here are my favorite photos of some 173 that I took that day, take a look.

Yosemite fireThe morning sunlight reflects off Yosemite Valley's North rim, lights up the spring flooded valley floor, is captured by an digital camera and time transported to you.  You can see the curving river course and roads at the corners of the photo.  As I hike up you can see more and more, such as Yosemite Falls and the western Yosemite Valley.

Penstemon davidsoniiPhloxnot really good photos, but here they are

Mimulus guttatus aka Seep-Spring Monkey FlowerMore Phlox diffusanot really good photos, but here they are

fungi?Many colors catch my eye as I stroll up the trail and I need to stop, look and try to take a photo.

Yosemite mistThe sky is clear and the sun rises fast over Yosemite. I reach Glacier Point, the road up here opened two days before.  I spot an older look out below the new lookout, it faces north.  I never knew that was there and make a mental note to check it out next time.

Spring blooms are everywhere and I see two deer on the Illilouette Falls trail.  This is Ribes roezlii, Sierra Gooseberry.  The genus is ancient Arabic for plants of this type and the berries are edible.  I would like to try them if the deer will leave some for me.

Manzanita blooms.

This is a pretty good view of a very swollen Illilouette Falls.  Its only 2 miles from Glacier Point but there is no railing here and it is dangerous trying to get a view.

Oak bushes sprout tiny new red leaves.

On the Panorama Trail I snap this photo of Nevada Falls.

This is from the bridge that crosses the top of Nevada Falls.

More red colors in the forest.  This is a very common and impressive plant commonly called Snow Plant.  This photo does not show the blooms and it's scientific name is Sarcodes snaguinea, Greek for flesh like quality and Latin for blood red.  This plant does not emerge from snow and does not photosynthesize.  It relies on a symbiotic relationship with a soil fungi.  Native Americans dried and ground this plant into a powder for a tooth pain or mouth pain remedy.

Another plant just sprouting from the forest floor.

I am hot, tired and thirsty.  The snow provides cold compresses for my hands and neck.  I break for lunch and snap some more photos.  This is of course Half Dome from just below Clouds Rest.

On the way down I pass below Nevada Falls as the Merced River leaps out and turns white.

Some nice plants among the granite boulders look like formal arrangements.  Fern and Red Paintbrush, or Athyrium fillix-femina var. cyclosorum and Castelleja miniata.  ;-)

Vernal Falls looks spectacular today as I stand soaked by my descent of the Mist Trail.  I didn't expect to see seven deer or all the spring booms.  I feel so lucky to have experienced so much beauty in one day and look forward to sharing some of it with these photos.