Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Dirt Road to Yosemite

Sometimes a blog is the best way to share a day of picture taking. Yesterday I decided to see how the dirt road was that connects my house to Yosemite. It's only 11 miles away but it's a rough dirt road with lots of big rocks and ditches. At times you have to straddle the ruts left by large trucks back when the road was muddy.

My first stop was about 3 miles up the road from home at a little stream that the road crosses, Here you can see my trusty Subaru Outback behind a close-up of some California Indian Pink flowers. A beautiful shade lover that is more Cadmium Red than pink.

This little stream had a Dogwood blooming quite close to the road.  Fortunately there wasn't any poison oak just friendly green plants. This is the time of year when poison oak starts blooming and leafing out along all the creeks. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover this little stream sans those nasty plants.

Being shaded made it nice for extended exposure settings to soften the water.  With so little snow this year I'm sure it won't be long before this stream is dry along with all the others.

The Dogwood blooms were a little past their prime so I was glad to get them before they were all gone. One more week and I expect that will be it for this elevation of about 4000'.

I was really hoping for a better shot of the Dogwood bloom next to the creek but most where up higher. However there was this one bloom left that was on a branch leaning down the creek. Unfortunately the only way to get the shot was to stand on a log bridge about 4 feet above the stream. Using my tripod for balance I inch along the log. After carefully placing the tripod and camera on the log I snapped as many compositions as I dared. Fortunately the fallen Ponderosa was just wide enough to accomplish this.
I would have stayed a little longer and explored further up the creek but I was hoping to meet photographer friend Nancy and her Wawona neighbor Patty on the other side of the mountain. My jacket and hat were still in her car from a previous photo expedition.

Further along this extremely bumpy and dusty road I saw more Indian Pink along with some golden California Wallflowers. I usually only take this dirt road into Yosemite once a year. It takes me that long to forget just how bad it is. You really have to take it slow to keep your car from rattling apart, as well as your bones.

Eventually I got to the old Summit campground which was recently closed for good. :o( No more signs, picnic tables or out houses, just the remnants of what once was a rarely used campground. There are some nice big Dogwoods there but all the lower blooms were past their prime.

From there I continued on down to the Big Creek bridge about 2 miles from the Wawona golf course, which I hear they may be closing.  There's a good size Dogwood at the creek bridge that unfortunately had very few blooms. The only thing of interest was the Indian Rhubarb blooms and a few young ferns. I'd never seen such good blooming rhubarb specimens. Each individual flower has a really unique center that looks like a meat beak inside a crown. (click to see large versions of all these) Kind of creepy.

On the way to the golf course the road was finally getting smoother. It was hard to miss these bright little red stalks of Snow Plants along the side of the road. Took a lot of variations on this composition trying to get it just right. Now I have my new favorite Snow Plant shot.

Spotted Nancy's car by the golf course and called to find out where they were on the meadow loop trail. Aren't portable phones great? I was getting 3 bars in Wawona! They were almost done so I parked down by the trail head just past the golf course on 4.

Just when they spotted me on the trail I had spotted some young Corn Lilies on the meadows edge. Nancy made me feel much better about my point and shoot camera when she saw me stick in right down the top of the leaves for this abstract macro shot and said, "that camera lets you do that?" Showed the shot and she was ready to go get one. :o) High praise coming from a pro.

Nancy and Patty had great eyes for spotting obscure flowers. While I was traipsing back out of the meadow Nancy spotted some wild Iris which I nearly stepped on earlier. We walked back to my car where I gave them a ride back to theirs and got my coat and hat. I was not looking forward to the bumpy ride back. We all debated the wisdom of taking it or the long way around on smooth roads and through Oakhurst.  Thinking I'd save on gas by cutting out 20 miles I crawled back over the dirt road.  I never claimed to be wise.  Hopefully they'll smooth it out before the wagon train rolls through in June.
I'm going to close this with a comment on the "New improved Blogger". Why is it when they try to improve something it's usually not an improvement? I had to constantly use their Picassa web tool to rotate some of my pics. A tool that doesn't always do what you ask. It has a fix pic tool? Why? Because it messes up your pic uploads. Never had that problem in the old blogger. This is progress? Oh well at least its free.


  1. Beautiful work and an excellent journey into Yosemite! Keep posting, I'm a fan!

  2. Sounds like you had an adventure on Monday. Love the corn lilies and the snow plants. Great catch!