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Author Topic: Anyone been to Yosemite lately?  (Read 8216 times)
spotmeter
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« on: April 28, 2008, 10:07:41 PM »
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Just wondering if anyone has been to Yosemite in the last week or so. How is the water? I have seen predictions that it will be high this year, and also low?  Any major construction projects going on?
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heliphoto
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2008, 01:51:07 AM »
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Just wondering if anyone has been to Yosemite in the last week or so. How is the water? I have seen predictions that it will be high this year, and also low?  Any major construction projects going on?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I haven't been up there, but [a href=\"http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/DLYSWEQ]cdec[/url] is showing that central california is at 65% of normal snowpack for this time of year.  That means there should be plenty of water next week, but the waterfalls might dwindle early this year.  If it stays warm next week like it was today, you might see a lot of flow.  Dreamflows which shows river flow estimates for whitewater enthusiasts is showing the Merced River flowing just over 2,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) which is not high water, but is quite a bit... by the end of summer the flow is probably less than 100 cfs.  This chart shows the flow for the last 3 years.  Handy.

Have Fun.
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BradSmith
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2008, 11:39:35 AM »
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I returned on Saturday from 4 days in Yosemite.   River flows are very near their peak from the attached graphs.  Water falls are quite impressive now.  Attached is Upper Yosemite Falls.  Dogwoods are starting to bloom - depends on where in the valley you are.  I would guess they'll be near their peak in about 3 weeks.  The floor is starting to green up with grasses, but no other new growth yet (ferns, etc.)  The earliest leafing trees are out now with pale green leaves (great when backlit in front of shaded pines or granite cliffs).  The apple orchard (parking lot) at Curry is in bloom.  Daytime highs were around 70.  Frost on two of the nights.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/river/mercedStages.html

And by the way, when I pulled into the famous Valley overlook just outside of the tunnel, there was the "Red" camera that Michael has written about, set up taking scenes of the Valley.  Like I've always told lots of people, you'll see the most amazing cameras if you just hang around that one, single location.


[attachment=6327:attachment]
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2008, 08:16:56 PM »
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If you want to get a near real-time view of the valley, here are the Yosemite Association's webcams:

http://www.yosemite.org/vryos/index.htm

Paul
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 08:21:10 PM by PaulS » Logged

Paul Sumi
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2008, 08:20:50 PM »
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Like I've always told lots of people, you'll see the most amazing cameras if you just hang around that one, single location.
[attachment=6327:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192512\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's for sure.  I was there (Tunnel View) at sunset a few years ago and there was everything from large format cameras to camera phones.  Amazing.

Paul
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Plekto
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 11:47:38 AM »
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I actually prefer down in the middle of the meadows, especially during winter or after it rains.  You get the trees and the atmospheric conditions and also can see the landmarks a bit.   A shot with some of Half-Dome in it is often more interesting that a postcard shot of just it alone, IMO.

I love shooting during winter, actually.  There's a stark beauty when everything is reduced to almost black and white.
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DaveJ
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2008, 04:48:18 PM »
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There will be a full moon on May 19 which will create opportunities to shoot "moonbows" at Yosemite Falls. I'm planning to be there that week myself.
The University of Texas astronomy department has calculated the best times for moonbows in Yosemite at this site:
http://uweb.txstate.edu/~do01/
You can see some moonbow photos here:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/3702781_if8Qt

Glacier Point road is scheduled to open this Friday, May 2.
 
Dave Jolley
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BradSmith
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2008, 12:22:56 PM »
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I enjoyed the moonbow photos.  I just might give that a try next spring.  Got the Schedule from the U of Texas link that you posted.   Thanks
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2008, 06:00:51 PM »
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Cool stuff, Dave!  Thanks much for the moonbow links.

Lisa
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gdanmitchell
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2008, 01:14:55 AM »
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Just wondering if anyone has been to Yosemite in the last week or so. How is the water? I have seen predictions that it will be high this year, and also low? Any major construction projects going on?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192406\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I was there the day before you posted.

It is now spring in the Valley. The dogwoods are beginning to bloom and other trees are starting to leaf out and the meadows are beginning to turn green. The falls are flowing strongly, and many of the early season falls that will be gone later are flowing right now.

The question of water flow potential is an interesting one. Earlier in the winter we thought we were having a normal winter, but then it did not rain/snow as much as usual during the end of the wet season. Consequently, the snowpack is now perhaps a bit lower than average. My hunch is that there will be pretty decent flow but that it will end a bit sooner than usual.

There is major construction going on along the Northside Road, which was still closed when I was there. This is a mixed blessing. While you cannot drive on that road, and thus traffic on Southside is heavier than usual - you can walk over to that side of the Valley and enjoy some solitude in usually crowded places. On Sunday I walked over to El Capitan Meadow in the morning to photograph trees and I was the ONLY person there. You'll never have that experience this time of year when the road is open.

Also, the road lower down in the Valley near the Highway 120 junction is a real mess. This section of the main entrance to the valley is down to one lane with one way traffic controlled by an automatic traffic light.

The road to Glacier Point opens tomorrow - May 2. There has been no announcement regarding Tioga Pass Road, but I'd be willing to bet on some time in the second half of May.

If you are contemplating a photograph from Wawona Tunnel view, you might consider the 1.3 mile hike up to Inspiration Point instead. I photographed there on Sunday... and I was the only person there. I enjoyed a Valley sunset in complete solitude, with the exception of a deer that wandered by. :-)

I get up there a lot. Let me know if you want to know more.

Dan
« Last Edit: May 02, 2008, 01:16:35 AM by gdanmitchell » Logged

G Dan Mitchell
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2008, 10:46:05 PM »
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Thanks to all for all the great tips.
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Hank
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2008, 08:46:03 AM »
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I just left there yesterday.  The most notable thing to me was the profusion of Pacific dogwood.  I've never seen the blossoms so dense.  In fact, if you're really into dogwood blossoms, leave the valley and head over toward Oakhurst.  Around Westfall they're even more profuse.

They're doing a controlled burn right on the north rim of the canyon between Yosemite falls and the Pines campgrounds, so the valley can be quite hazy at times.  Road work is still ongoing, so traffic and parking are problematic, with the road along the north side still closed.  Better to get where you're going early for a parking spot and plan to walk or bike to other destinations in the vicinity, even on weekdays in the afternoon.  Lots of water in the falls and river.  140 into Tuolomne is forecast to be open after Memorial Day.  They're plowing it now. Glacier Point is supposedly open now, but I didn't bother checking due to the haze.  

They've reorganized the parking scheme at Tunnel View, with buses only in the main lot at the overlook and private cars restricted to only the smaller lot across the street.  Forgedabout a parking spot in the evening unless you get there an hour or so early and are willing to make a few circles of the lot while you wait for a slot to open up.  Worse than a Walmart parking lot on sale day.  Guess it pays to be incorporated even in the parks in the contemporary economy.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2008, 09:59:43 AM »
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140 into Tuolomne is forecast to be open after Memorial Day.

Minor correction, Hank, to avoid confusing anyone:  That's highway 120, not 140.  (140 is the low route down the river out of the valley.)

Lisa
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Hank
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2008, 11:14:04 AM »
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Minor correction, Hank, to avoid confusing anyone:  That's highway 120, not 140.  (140 is the low route down the river out of the valley.)

Lisa
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Sure enough!  Thanks.
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gdanmitchell
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2008, 02:48:07 PM »
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The rumor is that the "controlled burn" was actually set by some careless climbers who were caught at the top of their climb after dark and decided to create a bit of warmth for the bivy. The fire started right at the top of a route...

Interesting point about alternative dogwood locations - I hadn't thought of that. It should be about time for the dogwoods between the northwest park entrance and the turnoff to Tuolumne to be starting to bloom - they come into form a bit later than those in the Valley. (I was thinking about going up today, but something tells me that being here on Mothers' Day is more important. :-)

The "after Memorial Day" prediction for the opening of Tioga Pass road is sort of a default prediction. Historically the opening date averages out to be about May 29. It has been much earlier and it has been as late as the first week of July. With less-than-usual snowfall during the late season, reading between the lines in the official progress reports,  and a predicted hot spell coming up this week in the Sierra, I'm betting that it could possibly be a bit sooner than the average. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the pass open on Memorial Day weekend.

Your report about Wawona Tunnel parking surprises me a bit. I was there two weeks ago and that was not the case. Buses did park in the middle of this lot but there was a lot of parking for passenger vehicles around the lot. It also seems like a bad idea if they are going to have that many people crossing the road on the curve at this point - someone would surely get hurt. It is true that the main lot can fill on beautiful evenings in the peak season - which has now arrived.

If you intend to photograph the Valley from Wawona Tunnel View, DO get there VERY early. It truly is a zoo. There could easily be 50 or more photographers lined up, and many of them will have arrived much earlier. I only bother with that location if the conditions are truly exceptional, and then I get there very, very early. (Or I come at a completely different time of year, but that's a different story.)

To escape the crowds and get an equally stunning view, arrive a bit early and hike the steep 1.3 mile trail to old Inspiration Point. Bring a headlamp in case you have to return after dark. If you are lucky, you might just get to experience the equivalent view... by yourself... with no cars... in complete silence. :-)

Dan

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I just left there yesterday.  The most notable thing to me was the profusion of Pacific dogwood.  I've never seen the blossoms so dense.  In fact, if you're really into dogwood blossoms, leave the valley and head over toward Oakhurst.  Around Westfall they're even more profuse.

They're doing a controlled burn right on the north rim of the canyon between Yosemite falls and the Pines campgrounds, so the valley can be quite hazy at times.  Road work is still ongoing, so traffic and parking are problematic, with the road along the north side still closed.  Better to get where you're going early for a parking spot and plan to walk or bike to other destinations in the vicinity, even on weekdays in the afternoon.  Lots of water in the falls and river.  140 into Tuolomne is forecast to be open after Memorial Day.  They're plowing it now. Glacier Point is supposedly open now, but I didn't bother checking due to the haze. 

They've reorganized the parking scheme at Tunnel View, with buses only in the main lot at the overlook and private cars restricted to only the smaller lot across the street.  Forgedabout a parking spot in the evening unless you get there an hour or so early and are willing to make a few circles of the lot while you wait for a slot to open up.  Worse than a Walmart parking lot on sale day.  Guess it pays to be incorporated even in the parks in the contemporary economy.
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G Dan Mitchell
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spotmeter
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2008, 03:25:38 PM »
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Dan,

I'm also from the San Francisco Bay area.  Are there any problems along 120 from Manteca to the Valley?
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Hank
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2008, 03:50:23 PM »
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Biggest problem is the construction zone at the 140 Y.  Long backups.  When the two school buses played bumper cars earlier in the week, some folks had to wait as long as 2 hours to get past the intersection.  As you probably know, gas up long before you get there.  $4.91/gal for regular at El Portal.
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gdanmitchell
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2008, 11:13:21 AM »
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Dan,

I'm also from the San Francisco Bay area.  Are there any problems along 120 from Manteca to the Valley?
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As pointed out below, the biggest problem is right when you get to the Valley and turn left - major construction there has reduced the road to one lane and this is the only road here. Delays can be substantial.

I may be there again in the next few days,  and I'll add more details if anything interesting comes up.

Dan
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G Dan Mitchell
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« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2008, 09:16:45 PM »
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Quick note: Was there on Friday. Tioga Pass still not open but apparently opening this Wednesday - before Memorial Day. The falls are in full swing - not only are the regulars flowing well, but some of the seasonals are still going as well.

The meadows in the Valley are greening up and the trees are leafing out. Didn't see much in the way of flowers yet - a few lupine here and there on the way into the Valley.

There were still some fine dogwood blossoms in places in the Valley and the higher dogwood trees along 120 and Big Oak Flat road and on the road up toward Wawona were very spectacular is some spots.

Lots of people - will probably be much worse in that regard next weekend.

Dan
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G Dan Mitchell
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