.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Backpacking to Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures.  It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.

When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light.  While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities.  In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert.  The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Yosemite National Park: Hiking in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

The “Grizzly Giant” in the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

The state of California has some pretty remarkable scenery.  Where else can you find the world’s …

Oldest trees (bristle-cone pines)
Tallest trees (redwoods)
Largest/most massive trees (sequoias)…

…but in California?  I know it’s a rhetorical question, but there’s no area I know of that offers such variety.

As one might imagine, to walk in a grove of giant sequoias is a most memorable experience.  If you’ve never felt small and insignificant in life, you likely will when you stand beside an ancient sequoia tree.   The largest density of sequoia trees is in California’s Sequoia National Park, south of Yosemite, including the tree known as “General Sherman”, the world’s largest living thing.  Yosemite National Park has two groves of giant sequoias, including the …

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“Pic of the Week”. February 7, 2014. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

2014 003 Jan 17a Half Dome at Sunset, Glacier Point 07-96

One of the classic symbols of Yosemite National Park (or the USA for that matter) is Half Dome in Yosemite Valley.  This mountain rises 5000 ft (1500 m) above the valley floor and its summit is 8800 ft (2680 m) above sea level.  Half Dome is best know for being a half a mountain (as its name implies).  John Muir, the father of conservation of the Sierra Nevada, correctly postulated that this appearance was due to glaciation, half the mountain having been removed by glacial action not unlike a knife cutting a cake in half.

The color of the granite in the valley changes dramatically with changing daylight, as seen in the …

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“Pic of the Week”, Sept. 20, 2013. Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

2013-038-Sept 20a

Ostrander Lake is a popular destination in Yosemite National Park, both in the summer and winter.  The lake is situated south of Yosemite Valley and lies about 8500 feet (2600 m) above sea level,  just below the treeline.  Bridalveil Creek flows from this lake, eventuating in lovely Bridalveil Falls that you readily see from Yosemite Valley’s famous lookout.   It’s just over a six mile (about 9 km) trail to the lake from the Glacier Park road, easy at first, the last half quite steep.  In the summer the trail is used by both backpackers and day-hikers.  The hut at the lake is much in demand during winter with people who cross-country ski and snow-shoe, but is closed during the …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 23, 2013. Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park

2013-034-August 23

Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite places in the United States.  Grand landscapes, granite mountains with sheer valleys carved by glaciers, thunderous waterfalls engorged by the spring thaw plunging thousands of feet, and several groves of majestic Sequoia trees (the largest living things on the planet).  Everything about it seems bigger than life!  It’s easy to see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the best places to gain views of the park is from its granite domes.  These domes, smoothed and rounded by the action of glaciers, offer 360 degree views that are remarkable!  Sentinel Dome is among these, near both Yosemite Valley and Half Dome it’s accessible and a fairly easy …

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