Yosemite National Park, June 18, 2005

    Today we plan to hike up to Nevada Falls.  This is a special hike because we are all going together.  I have been talking about the water falls and the blooms a lot.  This was supposed to be a long weekend but somehow is now just a day trip.  The date was set a long time ago as a Half Dome in a day hike.  The cables have just been put up but the weather forecast is winter like.  So it is just as well to postpone a Half Dome hike.  We grab one of the last parking spaces in the Curry Village day use lot.  The day starts out cold, but the trail warms us up nicely.  The sun is out but we are in the shade mostly.  My goal is to get some nice photos of Vernal, Nevada and wildflowers on the John Muir Trail.  Check out the results below.
    (Lisa borrowed some books on wildflowers and I had a lot of fun identifying and reading about the flowers that I photographed.  I added the notations and information here and in some previous pages.  Thank you.)
Stuart hides from the cameraStuart hides form the camera.

Five is flower numberThere are two flower types in this photo.  The yellow is Sedum spathulifolium, or common named Pacific Stonecrop.  The blue flower was much harder to identify.  The photo is not so good, but I guess that this is a Githopsis pulchella, Sierra Blue Cup.  I wish I took a better photo of this blue flower.

A rest stop on the John Muir TrailA rest on the trail allows time for a look around for wildflowers that tend to be small and low to the ground.  I am having a great time.

Spring blooms are smallHere are some Penstemon heterophyllus, also known as Foothill Penstemon.  Penstemon genus is the largest genus of flowering plants endemic to North America and most of its 250 species occur in the western United States.

Nice colors hereHere is another, close up photo of the bloom.  Nice colors.

Small purple daisyThis is an Aster alpigenus, Alpine Aster.  Looks like a small purple daisy.  The genus comes from Greek for star and the species name comes from Latin for alpine.

Pink blooms of an unusual shapeThis is a photo of Ribes nevadense, Mountain Pink Currant.  A shrub that produces blue black berries and is related to the gooseberry family.

Delicate spider webs drape over these bloomsThis is Penstemon rostriflorus, also known as Scarlet or Beaked Penstemon.

Lichen and fernCommonly know as Lady fern this is Athyrium fillix-femina var. cyclosorum.  Fern is good enough for me.

Changing colorThis is called Claytonia perfoliata, Miner's Lettuce.  It has very small blooms that are past their prime here.  And the unusual thing about this one is the leaves have started to turn color, green is the normal color, probably because of the warming and increasingly dry conditions.  Like fall colors, maybe?  It is edible, I will try it next time.

Our lunchtime visitorMr squirrel loiters for crumbs or a handout.

Taylor shades the white flowers for this photoThis is being shaded by Taylor and is Phlox diffusa, or Spreading Phlox.  The genus is Greek for a flame and the species name is Latin for spreading.  The bloom color is brilliant and the grwoth habit is low, spreading.

Millipede in reposeThe large centipedes are very common on the trail.  I am not sure why they are so abundant and die out in the open like this.

Hold it for one more secondHold that rock while I get your photo!

Very common wildflower, Castelleja miniata, Red Paintbrush or Indian Paintbrush.  Latin for cinnabar red.

Half Dome from the southwestHalf Dome.

Lunch with a viewThis is where we had lunch.  Pb&j yum.  This is a trail junction where the JMT meets with a spur that comes up from the Mist Trail between Vernal and Nevada Falls.  About one mile from the top of Nevada Falls.

Lisa and TaylorI stand atop a large rock to look down at mother and daughter at the Vernal Falls bridge.  Lots of people here.

Vernal Falls and the Mist TailI must come back to this spot to try to get a better photo.  There are lots of people on the trail as well as on the prime photography spot.  A large flat rock just outside of my photo here.  Next time I will try an early morning shot.

This nice plant and flower photograph is sharpened and slightly color enhanced.  But it is still a beautiful wildflower.  It is Draperia systyla, commonly known as Draperia.  The genus name honors 19th century American historian and scientist John W. Draper.  This genus only occurs in California and contains only one species.  No wonder it took me awhile to identify this one.

TaylorTaylor rests.

Stuart and Taylor check out the view with Nevada Falls behind themStuart and Taylor enjoy the view and the break.  I hear good things from them about the view.

    We encounter the crowds on the way back down to Happy Isles and are stalked in the parking lot.  There are no spaces left, but there are many cars circulating fruitlessly.  The crowds and traffic are amazing.  On the way out of the valley we encounter a minor traffic accident and further on see a rescue helicopter in the meadow below El Capitan.  They sleep soundly as I drive carefully home.  I am consious of the precious passengers next to me.  We stop for dinner on the way home and end a wonderful day by sleeping in our own beds.  Life is good.