Thursday, March 31, 2011

Winter in Yosemite's High Country

Wind Lee Vining Canyon from Hugh Sakols on Vimeo.

In mid February a group of us set out for Tuolumne Meadows on skis.  During the summer months my wife and I volunteer for the National Park Service and live in the historic Macauley Cabin next to Parson's Lodge.  We thought it would be interesting to see the area covered in snow. The only problem was a storm was coming our way bringing even more snow.  This was a welcome relief after about 6 weeks without any storms.  This year I think California is OK.

After surviving the wind we continued up the road from Lee Vining to what was surely a winter landscape.

The morning after we arrived, the snow came.  So much that we were worried about getting out before spring.

We made a dash for it to Tioga Pass where we were trapped for the next three nights. On the first day at the pass we had a short break between storms which was spectacular yet mighty cold.  I've never been able to handle a camera well with any type of gloves.

There was no shortage of snow at Tioga Pass - elevation 9943 ft.

Once again we had to break trail back down the Lee Vining Canyon.  However, we were rewarded by a thick coverage of snow on everything.

At Ellery Lake the wind picked up.  Gusts on the ridge tops were impressive!

Ever wonder why trees at the crest grow bent over in clumps?  The wind was quite intense blowing snow and quickly making my hands and face feel as though they were frozen.  No one wanted to stop with me when I took this photograph.

We were on extra alert entering areas of avalanche potential.  Luckily some of worst areas were scoured free of snow thanks to the wind.

Looking back up at the crest it was good to be back at our cars.  We spent the following eight hours driving back around to El Portal.


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