CalNat Yosemite – Day 3 (Hydrology & Flora)

Today was a day spent entirely outside.  Snow, hail, fog, frozen toes, and damp finger tips all had a play in the day, and added to to wonderment of it all.

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We started the day with a stop at the Wawona Tunnel View.  This was not on your schedule for the day, but it was an agreed mutiny to make a stop.  I think everyone here has been to the park before, so everyone has seen this view before.  But it hardly matters.  I feel like it is remains awe inspiring and too tempting to not stop for pause regardless of how many times you’ve seen it before. It does not disappoint.  And the fact that today was a cloud-filled day made the lure to stop and gaze even stronger for everyone.

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Next we had a discussion on the hydrology of the park at Sentinel Bridge, where you can get a view of Yosemite Falls.  A hydrologist from the park met us there to answer questions and talk about the hyrdrologic character and key concerns of Yosemite.

We had lunch at an overlook near Foresta.  A rather significant forest fire had hit the meadow below not too long ago, so it was a great place to discuss the role of fire in the growth and change in vegetation found in Yosemite.  It was also a great place to get a better understanding of pioneer species (those plants that grow back first after a disturbance like a fire or flood) and how seeds can lay dormant for over 100 years waiting for a fire to come along so that they can sprout.

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We ended the day at the Tuolumme Grove of Giant Sequoias to get some more in-the-field time identifying plants and using plant keys to do so.  We botanized together as we walked, each of us making valiant attempts at identifying plants, and the experts among us offering corrections and aid.  The fog was thick at the start, which phased into a light snow – what a glorious time to be among giant trees.

So thankful we got to spend an entire day outdoors in wintery conditions in Yosemite.

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