After a last minute decision on Friday night, and verifying that the passes were open, I was up at 4:30 am this morning and driving off the the Eastern Sierras for one more fall trip. This time with the Mrs. as a much needed weekend detox for both of us.
Earlier this week we had the first winter storm of the season. For us in the Bay Area this mean lots of rain and strong winds (enough of both for me to find a few leaks around some of our windows…). For the Sierra Nevadas, it meant snow above 8000 feet elevation. As we were driving through Yosemite this morning, just as we passed the 8000 foot elevation sign we started seeing snow on the side of the road. Some places the snow was still 6 inches thick. All this snow meant that the falls were running again. As we drove along 120 toward Tioga Pass, a few new waterfalls appears that I had never seen before (because I have never driven up there in the spring time). It was quite a treat to see the waterfalls and the snow caped ridges. And my wife thought it was quite a treat to see me wearing shorts in 55 degree weather taking pictures (I didn’t expect to stop till we got through Yosemite and on the eastern side where it was supposed to be 80 degrees…so I was planning ahead! 🙂 ).
As you descend down Tioga Pass Road to Lee Vining, there are some nice bright yellow groves of Aspen along Poole Power Plant Road. The stream there is running swiftly with the recent rain/snow so I wasn’t able to cross to get a picture of a specific grove I spotted. Maybe tomorrow…
June Lake Loop has nice stands of Yellow and Orange higher up the hill sides. There are plenty of nice yellow groves right near Silver Lake Resort (which closes on Monday). The photo on the right was taken a few years back near Silver Lake Resort. I’m realizing that we were there much later in October that year as there were no boats along the shore, today this spot was lined with row boats and it just didn’t quite feel the same…
We also did a drive into Mammoth and saw very little color except on the slopes close to and facing 395. Up near Twin Lakes and Lake Mary there was plenty of snow on the ground still and a few of the ski runs on Mammoth Mountain were actually open. The road past the main ski lifts up on highway 203 was closed down for the rest of year.
We didn’t have much time to run up to Bishop Creek today and I plan on catching sunrise tomorrow outside of Bishop versus up at Bishop Creek, I don’t think there would be much color left up there after the storms. However, there is still plenty of snow left in the Sierra Peaks so I’m hopeful for some nice photographs in the morning. There is even a few small patches left in the White Mountains, which I was able to capture tonight at sunset.
Tomorrow is the drive home and as I head North I’ll try to drive down most of the main valleys where the color lives. So look for another report tomorrow night (time and energy permitting) once I get back home.
And watch for a few more photographs from this trip over the next week or two.