Monday, 9 November 2015

Yosemite National Park – Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass Road closes for the winter after the first significant snow fall, so as the weather was still good that was where we headed for next.
We drove down into and out of Yosemite Valley, up onto Crane Flats and took a right heading up into the High Sierra.  
The road winds through pine forest and past the Tuolumne Sequoia Grove, our first stop was the beautiful Siesta Lake.
As we drove higher the scenery changed as we came into rocky granite sections, it was so blindingly white for a moment we thought it was snow.

I’m not sure you can see it in the photograph but whatever was used to build the road sparkled as though some had salted the road with diamonds.

The amazing rocks around Tenaya Lake.   Created as the glaciers receded over 10,000 years ago, Tenaya Lake is about 100ft deep.   Each spring snow melt travels down Tenaya Canyon and into Mirror Lake in Yosemite Valley.

There is a short hike of a couple of miles or so that takes you right around the lake.

The white stumps in the lake are dead lodgepole pines that are still rooted in the lake bottom, in anything from 20 to over 60 ft of water.   Lodgepole pines don’t live in water, so the theory is that these trees grew during a very long dry period over 900 years ago when the lake was much lower.
Although it’s a gorgeous white sand beach, the water was ice cold when I dipped my fingers in.

After eating lunch at the lake we decided to retrace our steps, stopping at Olmstead Point on the way.
Olmstead Point is named after landscape artist Frederick Law Olmstead and his son Frederick Jr.   He was chairman of the first commission to manage Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Sequoia Grove.   It is also a starting point for wilderness hikes, one of which is the 9.6 mile Snow Creek Trail that leads into  Yosemite Valley.   Definitely a hike not for those of a nervous disposition or anyone ill prepared. 

Olmstead Point with Half Dome in the distance.

A close up view of Half Dome from Olmstead Point.

Have fun, we are!

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