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YOSE_090730_001.JPG: Dana Meadows:
Too Wet for Trees:
Even in summer, snow haunts the high meadows. Meltwater fills lakes and tarns in basins gouged by past glaciers.
Because of heavy snowfall, thin soil and temperate extremes, Dana Meadows' growing season is short, and it may take decades for the meadows to recover from human impact.
YOSE_090730_044.JPG: Note the tiny figures in the middle of the photo. You'll see close-ups next.
YOSE_090730_105.JPG: Olmsted Point:
A Family Legacy:
This turnout was named in honor of famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), and his song, Frederick Jr. When Tioga Road opened to automobile traffic in 1961, Olmsted senior was considered the father of American landscape architecture and best known for his design of New York's Central Park. He was chairman of the first commission to manage Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove and wrote a report recommending policy for the care and protection of Yosemite's scenery and wildlife. It is considered a classic national park treatise.
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870-1957), also worked in the field of landscape architecture. He collaborated with the National Park Service and was a member of the Yosemite Advisory Board, a group of experts who helped park managers solve problems. He maintained a lifelong commitment to conservation, contributing the guiding language in legislation establishing the National Park Service in 1916.
YOSE_090730_115.JPG: Forces of Change:
Powerful geological forces shaped this landscape. Evidence emerges throughout this granite scene. Chambers of magma deep within the earth slowly crystallized 100-80 million years ago to form hard granite rock. Over time, erosion by rivers and extensive glaciers exposed and sculpted the rock.
Half Dome stands before you. With a pair of binoculars, you can often see a line of hikers, like ants, climbing up cables to the summit. To the left is the massive northwest face of Cloud's Rest. From its summit (9,926 feet elevation) the sheet granite face, one of the largest in the world, drops nearly 5,000 feet to lower Tenaya Creek. A brief walk to the east side of the parking area will lead to spectacular views of Tenaya Peak, Tenaya Lake,a nd Mount Conness.
These large boulders randomly placed on the bedrock are evidence of the most recent glaciation. The rocks either toppled down slops onto the glacier or were plucked from the bedrock. They landed here as the ice melted away.
Over the last million years, major glaciers have come and gone in Yosemite. Only 20 thousand years ago the most recent glacier extended from the high peaks to the distant horizon. Like rough sandpaper smoothing wood, these glaciers polished the rock you see near here.
YOSE_090730_196.JPG: El Capitan:
El Capitan is famous for its massive bulk or largely unbroken rock and its sheer, vertical face soaring 3,000 feet into the air. This monolith is composed of a particularly durable granite, allowing it to withstand the pressures of glaciers and erosion.
YOSE_090730_249.JPG: Yosemite National Park
YOSE_090730_290.JPG: A History of the Yosemite Chapel:
Of the structures in public use in Yosemite National Park, the Yosemite Chapel is now the oldest. This little New England style church was built under the sponsorship of the California State Sunday School Association.
The first service was held on June 7, 1879, and the church was filled to overflowing by delegates to the National Sunday School Assembly meeting in Yosemite Valley at that time. The first organ in the chapel was given by Miss Mary Porter of Philadelphia in memory of Florence Hutchings. Florence was the unofficial, but faithful caretaken of the chapel during the summer of 1879-1881. She died in a climbing accident at the tender age of 17.
In 1885, on the death of President Grant, a memorial service was held in the chapel and the organist for the day, playing the Florence Hutching memorial organ, was Sir Arthur Sullivan, famed composer and collaborator with Sir William Gilbert in the famous Gilbert and Sullivan light operas. Sir Arthur was visiting in the Valley at the time and was asked to assist in the service.
The original location of the structure was on rising ground near the base of the Four Mile Trail, a mile or so down the Valley from its present site, on this south side of Yosemite Valley. in the passage of years, the old church, built in the midst of a busy community, lost one by one its companion buildings, until with the moving on of community activity to other parts of the Valley it stood alone. In 1901, it was taken down and moved to its present site. It was given Historic American Building status by the National Park Service in 1965. Following this, its interior was restored and a new foundation was placed under it.
The little chapel continues to serve as a place of worship for residents and visitors alike, as it has done for over 100 years.
Indian people have lived in Yosemite for nearly 4,000 years. Miwok legends tell of the creation of people here, and of events that took place long before the coming of non-Indians. By the late 18th century, it appears that most of Yosemite was populated by Southern Miwok people, with Central Miwok people utilizing the northern quarter of the park.
The lives of Indian people in the Sierra Nevada have changed greatly since the 1790s, when the first influences of non-Indians were felt. During the 19th century, Mono Lake Paiute people from east of the Sierra crest, former Mission Indians from the California coast, and Chukchansi Yokuts and Western Mono people came to live with the indigenous Southern Miwok people of the Yosemite region.
The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought thousands of non-Indian miners to the Sierra Nevada. Many miners were ruthless in their search for gold, and thousands of Miwok people were killed or died of starvation. Yosemite Valley was first entered by non-Indians in 1851 by the Mariposa Battalion, a state-sponsored militia. The Battalion made two attempts to remove the Indian people to the Fresno River Reservation, but those attempts, along with a U.S. Army punitive expedition in 1832, were ultimately unsuccessful in removing the Indian people from the Yosemite region.
When non-Indians began settling in the Yosemite area, life changed drastically for the native American clothing styles and foods were adopted. Men worked in a variety of jobs, including guides, wranglers and wood cutters for local non-Indians, and women provided childcare, housekeeping services, and wove baskets to sell to non-Indian residents and visitors.
After 1900, the number of Indian people living in Yosemite began to shrink. The older Indian Village was disbanded in the early 1930s and a group of cabins was established as a new Indian Village (with the National Park Service and landlord). With housing more difficult to obtain, fewer Indian people came to Yosemite for employment. The National Park Service gradually dismantled the new village, and the last homes there were razed in 1969.
Today, descendants of Yosemite's native people live both nearby and scattered throughout the world. In 1990, over 400 Indian people resided in Mariposa County and 500 in Tuolomne County.
YOSE_090730_345.JPG: Bear trap
YOSE_090730_372.JPG: John Muir... the Woodcutter:
Remains of the Millrace:
In 1869, Innkeeper James Hutchings hired a young wilderness explorer named John Muir to rebuild and operate his sawmill. Muir worked here for almost two years, milling trees blown down in a storm to build improvements at Hutchings' Yosemite Valley hotel. During his Yosemite years, Muir became an outspoken proponent of America's wild places.
YOSE_090730_454.JPG: The Power of Glaciers:
Following the ancient river channel, a series of glaciers shaped this canyon. When the glaciers melted, they left behind piles of rocks that had been plucked from the cliff walls and carried along in the river of ice. These piles are called moraines. The moraine left behind following the most recent glacial activity dammed the Merced River near Bridalveil Fall. As the glacier melted, a shallow lake formed which eventually filled in with small rocks and sediment. This accounts for the flat valley floor we see today.
YOSE_090730_476.JPG: A View Through Time:
From this breathtaking viewpoint into Yosemite Valley, you can see three of its remarkable features: El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall. In March 1851, a local militia (known as the Mariposa Battalion) was dispatched to the area in search of Miwok people suspected of attacking a trading post. The group stumbled upon this view and became the first Euro-Americans to enter Yosemite Valley.
YOSE_090730_581.JPG: A view from Glacier Point Hotel
YOSE_090730_620.JPG: Yosemite Lodge
AAA "Gem": AAA considers this location to be a "must see" point of interest. To see pictures of other areas that AAA considers to be Gems, click here.
Wikipedia Description: Yosemite National Park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yosemite National Park (pronounced "yo-SEM-it-ee") is a national park located largely in Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties, California, United States. The park covers an area of 761,266 acres or 1,189 square miles (3,081 kmē) and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. Yosemite is visited by over 3.5 million people each year, many of whom only spend time in the seven square miles (18 kmē) of Yosemite Valley. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. About 89% of the park is designated wilderness. Although not the first designated national park, Yosemite was a focal point in the development of the national park idea, largely owing to the work of people like John Muir.
Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,000 to 13,114 feet (600 to 4,000 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane, upper montane, subalpine, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There is suitable habitat or documentation for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.
The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in formation of deep, narrow canyons. About 1 million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today.
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