Our first bear encounter here in Yosemite was the other afternoon while hiking in the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. It's not a heavily used trail like those in the Valley where most of the tourists hang out, but it was a pleasant hike through the big trees just before dinner. We were just about to head for the car when another hiker said, "You must see the two bears in the meadow." As we approached the lookout point, we saw two big bears, a cinnamon and a black, walking slowly through the meadow and into the woods, foraging for food.
These bears have only recently come out of winter hibernation, and they are very hungry in the Spring/early summer. We watched as the cinnamon tore apart the bark of a tree (maybe for insects?). The black bear was looking at us with some degree of longing; perhaps he/she just wanted a playmate???
My Lovely Daughter Elisabeth is now with us for a week of hiking and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our first four days together will be in Yosemite, and it's her first time here. We enjoyed two hikes today, a short one to Bridalveil Fall, which has a spectacular drop of 620 feet. Unfortunately, in early morning, the waterfall was in the shadows, and thus not particularly photogenic at that moment.
We then hiked along a branch of the Merced River, which was very narrow at that point, and noticed this pine tree that had been bent in a 90 degree arc by the force of the water. Amazingly, it hadn't been broken or split by the river...
Suzanne has always wanted a rock garden, and was admiring this lovely chunk of granite, suggesting that it would look good in our front yard. "Uh, Suzanne, I think we may have a problem. I think the Leave No Trace Ethic proscribes people removing rocks for personal use. Sigh..."
We also hiked to Mirror Lake, on a small and less-traveled trail that unfortunately was shared with stock (horses and mules). The lake was scenic, but while the four-legged population was not unfriendly, their "droppings" did not add to the wilderness beauty of the trail. (Photo not required.)
We tried to get a photo of Elisabeth in this blog post, but she was being camera-shy, and insisted on recording us instead.
Unfortunately,we learned today that during the past two weeks, there were three tragic deaths of young people here in Yosemite Valley. One was a climber attempting El Capitan, and two were base jumpers wearing "flying suits" who failed to clear a notch after jumping off a 3,000 ft. cliff. The photo at right shows several climbers ascending El Capitan; they are the miniscule dots in a crack about 1/3 and 1/2 the way up from the treeline, and still have about 7/8 of the climb to go.
On a happier note, Elisabeth and I will be backpacking for three days up in the High Sierras in the Ten Lakes area on the north side of Yosemite National Park, which is said to be a lovely destination. I am hoping the ranger was wrong when he predicted we would have nighttime temperatures in the high 20s!