I took some time off this week and went camping in Yosemite National Park. It was my first time there and it was an amazing visit. Granite mountains, boulders covered in mosses, and tough trees clinging to cliffs. Yes, I mentioned rocks three times in the same sentence. Geology is everywhere in Yosemite! If I had grown up in the west, I am convinced I would have been a geologist rather than a botanist. The plant to rock ratio is skewed completely in the opposite direction from the eastern deciduous forests that I grew up surrounded by in the midwest.
The geology of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an interesting tale. The vast majority of the exposed rock is granite and was formed millions of years ago deep underground from magma. As time passed erosion of the layers above, glaciation, and uplifting exposed the upper layers of these rocks. Giving us literally translated from Spanish the "snowy mountain range" of the Sierra Nevada.
Unfortunately for the water situation in California there was not much snow in the mountains when we visited last weekend. Just the tops retained a light dusting of snow and the vast majority of the trails were open and dry. If you are in the area I would highly recommend a visit to this lovely park. Just beware, Yosemite is one of the most highly visited national parks in the United States and I hear that the summer crowds can be intense, especially in the valley.
Overall it was a much needed vacation and a spectacular piece of nature to visit. I was also very impressed by the accessibility of many of the waterfalls and nature trails. A number of them are paved with flat to mild grades. It is great to see a national park making all of its scenic treasures available to a wide audience!
|Half Dome in Yosemite National Park|
|March Desktop Calendar|
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