We had a remarkable weekend at Yosemite. Very unusual for late November, we had dry, bluebird 70 degree days, and cool nights with a full moon. All the campsites were closed except for Camp 4 (the climbers camp) and Upper Pines. It was quiet, and peaceful. Upper pines has lots of sites, no hook-ups, but is nestled in a old grove of redwood trees. We stayed in the 200 loop - furthest from the road, and from Curry Village, but closest to the trail head for Vernal and Nevada Falls - with hopes of seeing roaming wildlife.
The summer crowds long gone, the open top tour buses parked for the winter. Park concessions buttoned down for the long cold, but with basic services still operational. There was no snow in the Valley, even though above 7,000 feet the Sierras has received its first snowfall of the season. Bears were all about, and from Curry Village, the nightly fire crackers sounded to scare aware the curious ursines looking for an easy meal.
Once away from the Valley, the hiking trails were mostly deserted, except for the occasional intrepid explorers seeking the perspective of higher elevation. The clink of hardware on stone, the faint call and response from climbers high above the Valley floor and the rushing water sounds of the Merced river far below filled my ears with a subtle mix of autumn sounds.
Sounds: Water falling down over the edge of mountains, scattering as much to the wind as to the sparkling pool beneath the lip, the far away throaty cluck of the raven, the chip and chatter of the squirrels gathering nuts and the wind, making its own symphony of whistles as it blew across and down this magical valley.
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Bottom of Bridalveil falls - late afternoon light
Crossing stream on foot bridge at base of the falls. The autumn flow is just a fraction of what it is at other times of the year. Boulders exposed now are on the river bottom when the spring snow melt cascades madly down the same channel.
The bear cub was 40' up in an Oak tree foraging for acorns. The amazing thing was that the tree was hanging over the edge of a steep cliff. We sat and watched as the cub nimbly reached out to even the littlest of branches to find acorns. The mother bear was at the base of the tree making sure the cub did not come down until all the acorns were consumed.
Yosemite falls - 5th highest falls in the world.
Nevada Falls - a surprise awaited us at the top...
We pick out a sunny protected spot above the falls and rest our weary backs against the warm rocks by the river.
After lunch, atop Nevada Falls. watching the ravens fly and listening to the surging water over the edge of the falls, nestled in the protection of some willows by the bank, Caspar pulled out a ring and proposed to Nadine. Ahhhhhh! How romantic.
What did you say?
Walking up the mist trail
Yosemite Falls as we approach the top. (Caspar ran ahead and beat us all to the top. We stopped short of the top, once he returned and said the view was terrible...) Phew, saved us all a lot of extra work.
The base of the upper falls, making a double rainbow.
Autumn Oak leaves