Posted by: Rose | April 27, 2009

Yosemite Sam!

I’ve just returned from a paddling trip to California. Although I didn’t have a burning desire to the visit the USA, I’ve now realised that those Americans have A LOT of space between their borders. The landscape is beautiful; the wilderness and the wildlife gave me a warm cosy feeling inside.


Sentinel Rock, elevation 7038ft

Although we didn’t paddle the Merced, we ‘allowed’ ourselves a day of tourism at Yosemite National Park. I admit that I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some pretty astounding places in my time, but Yosemite absolutely blew me away. I’ve never been anywhere remotely like it. The rocks literally tower from the ends of your toes! This was more than sufficient for me to ignore the multitudes of early season tourists that were crawling the surface of the ‘easy access’ parts of the park.

Yosemite is another bastion of our old friend, the granite. This spectacular landscape has formed over millions of years. The granite plutons cooled at depth and were gradually unroofed to the surface through processes of erosion. They rose to the heavens during the formation of the Sierra Nevada mountains and v-shaped valleys were eroded by the action of water. Glaciation has scoured the valleys further, grinding the rock and leaving hanging valleys high up within the peaks. A lake filled the valley and the sediments left behind have flattened the valley floor.

Today, the headwaters of the Merced river are continuing to modify the landscape. The granite appears striped by the trails of water running down it. Freeze-thaw action is levering off giant slabs of granite along the exfoliation joints. Yosemite continues to evolve.

Nevada Falls, 594ft

Nevada Falls, 594ft

Exfoliation joints

Exfoliation joints

Top of Nevada Falls, 5910ft. Photo by Ol Renison.

Top of Nevada Falls, elevation 5910ft. Photo by Ol Renison.

Liberty Cap, 7076ft. Photo by Ol Renison.

Liberty Cap, elevation 7076ft. Photo by Ol Renison.

It's just a squirrel, man!

It's just a squirrel, man!



  1. “Oooh, you long-earred, fur-bearin’, flat-footed varmint!”

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  2. Oh, memories. We lived in Vallejo for a couple of years when I was a kid & although we joked about Mirror Lake being Mirror Mudflat because the years we were there happened to coincide with a terrible drought, we had some marvelous family vacations in Yosemite.

    Do the rangers there still tell that story about the lady who asked a ranger what he’d do if he had only one day to spend there?

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