The falls of Yosemite are at their driest in the fall before the first lasting snows close the Tioga Pass Road across the park's high country. My wife and I and two long-time friends from the Sierra Club took a five day car trip in the middle of November to see if we could catch some of the remaining fall glory. We were not disappointed.
|The lazy autumn Merced River reflects the dry wall of Yosemite Falls|
|Mature giant sequoia catch the sun's last rays|
We began our trip with two nights at the historic Wawona Hotel in the south part of the park. From here we toured the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.
|Young buck enjoying buckbrush ceanothus|
|The cabin at the Upper Grove|
|Taft Point seen from Raven's perspective|
After two nights we left the Wawona Hotel and drove to the trailhead for Taft Point and its Fissures.
|The largest of the fissures that divide Profile Cliff|
|Alpenglow on Cloud's Rest and Half Dome from Glacier Point|
From our Yosemite Lodge base I got out early in the cold meadow along the Merced River.
|This mallard drake is actually spitting out a stream of water like a fountain, probably straining food|
|This raven was making gurgling sounds as it fluffed its neck feathers|
We drove out of the valley to Tenaya Lake at 8,150' and Tuolumne Meadows at 8,580' before turning around and heading back down into the Central Valley to our homes near Sacramento. A fine Yosemite Gold Tour now safe in our memory banks.
|!0,000 years after the last glacier melted the granite is still mirror polished and scattered with erratic boulders dropped slowly in place by the melting ice they were suspended in. Yosemite is so exceptional!|