Yosemite National Park – The Valley

I’ve been coming and going from Yosemite for a long time. Yosemite Valley (and the balance of the park that surrounds it) is in a class by itself – first, for its spectacular granite architecture, and then for its waterfalls, rivers, meadows, trees and so much more.

YosemiteView4X5ADSim.01.jpg

Left to right: Royal Arches, Washington Column and Half Dome. 4X5 photo, mid-60s.

I first visited Yosemite in 1955, when my parents, myself and my Aunt Etta did a 6 week-long tour of the western US, primarily to see the National Parks. I was 15 at the time, and the magnificence of the parks made such an impression on me as to determine the course of the rest of my life.

32. Wawona Tree me mom.jpg

At the Wawona Tree. Myself, and my Mom at the wheel. 1955.

I returned to Yosemite Valley in 1960. I had become a climber that summer, and learned that “The Valley” was a climbing mecca.

RoyalArchesPeteLev60s.jpg

Climbing on the Royal Arches, with Pete Lev. Early 60s.

YosemitePointButtress.jpg

Postcard to my folks, showing my climb on Yosemite Point Buttress. Early 60s.

I spent many weeks and months in the Valley during the early 60s, after having started, and then stopped, my college education (at UC-Berkeley) in 1959. I became a ski and climbing bum, traveling throughout the western US and abroad. In 1966, I married Karen Holdaway and returned to UC-Berkeley. This put me, again, in the vicinity of Yosemite.

SentinelSnowClimb60s#5.jpg

Snow climb on Sentinel Rock, early 60s. View to the east, with the snow-covered Clouds Rest Peak in the center, and Half Dome on the right.

ElCapView60s.jpg

Same, view to the west, with the Cathedral Rocks on the left and El Capitan on the right

PostcardSWFaceHalfDome.jpg

Postcard to my folks, showing climb of the Southwest Face of Half Dome, early 60s

CathedralSpiresDSCN2176.jpg

Cathedral Spires, in a smokey haze. Fall, 2019

HigherCathedralSpire60s#3 copy.jpg

Me, climbing Higher Cathedral Spire. Photo by my climbing partner (and later National Geographic photographer), David Hiser. 1964

MiddleCathedralRockDSCN2178.jpg

Middle Cathedral Rock, in a smokey haze. Fall 2019. Behind the trees on the left is the East Buttress route, which I climbed with Joe Faint in the mid-60s.

Reed'sPinnacleDirect DSCN2171.jpg

Climbers, on the Direct route of Reed Pinnacle. The standard route on Reed Pinnacle was my last Valley climb, Spring 1966.

My last climb in the Valley was on the standard route of Reed Pinnacle, in the company of Jim Bridwell and Kim Schmitz. I tell that story in another post: https://believesteve.org/2016/05/12/reed-pinnacle-my-last-climb-in-yosemite-valley-spring-1966/

The Associated Students at UC-Berkeley (ASUC) ran a top-notch photo lab, staffed by the published professionals Dave Bohn and Roger Minich. The teaching emphasis was on the West Coast tradition, best exemplified by Ansel Adams. So, I returned to Yosemite with a 4X5 camera.

YosemitePointButtress4X5AD.jpg

Lost Arrow and Yosemite Point Buttress, mid-1960s

YosemiteCathedralRocksSnow2.jpg

Left to right: Cathedral Rocks, Bridalveil Falls drainage and Leaning Tower

YosemiteMercedRiverView.jpg

Merced River in the foreground, with, left to right: El Capitan, Clouds Rest Peak, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and Lower Cathedral Rock

 

YosemiteFalls53AD.jpg

At the base of Upper Yosemite Falls. Sentinel Rock is seen on the left. Mid-60s.

YosemiteFalls54AD-denoise.jpg

At the base of Upper Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

LowerYosemiteFalls52AD-denoise.jpg

Lower Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

LowerYosemiteFallsPotholes58AD.jpg

Potholes, Lower Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

YosemiteFalls56AD.jpg

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, mid-60s

35mm photos, 1960s.

YosemiteWinterMercedReflections.jpg

Merced River, winter, early 60s

YosemiteWaterfallSnow.jpg

Vernal Falls, early 60s

YosemiteBenchesSnowD.jpg

Snow-covered benches, early 60s

YosemiteDeer.jpg

Deer, early 60s

MercedRiver&Maples.jpg

Merced River and maples, early 60s

El Capitan, 1990.

NAWall#20'90TD.jpg

North America Wall

ElCap#22'90AD.jpg

The Nose and the Dawn Wall

ElCap#20'90TD.jpg

The Nose sits in the center of this vast expanse of vertical granite

Yosemite Point Buttress, 1990.

YosemitePointButtress#25'90TD.jpg

Lost Arrow and Yosemite Point Buttress

Vernal Falls, 1990

VernalFalls#31'90.jpg

Vernal Falls, ’90

VernalFalls#33'90T.jpg

Vernal Falls, ’90

Merced River in winter (photos interpreted with Topaz Simplify).

YosemiteMercedSnow.jpg

YosemiteMercedSnow2.jpg

Camp 4, early 60s.

Dogwoods60s.jpg

Maya, with dogwood blossoms

GaryC.JeffFColumbiaR.BW-D.jpg

Columbia Rock, with Gary Colliver (left) and Jeff Foote (right)

JeffFColumbiaR.5-65.jpg

Columbia Rock, with Jeff Foote

KorBeckyColliver.jpg

Camp 4 scene

YosemiteValleyGaryC.FredB..jpg

Camp 4, with Gary Colliver (left) and Fred Beckey (right)

YosemiteCamp4Table#2D.jpg

Camp 4 table

Camp4Steve.jpg

Columbia Rock, Steve Miller. Photo by Karen Miller.

Little Yosemite.

Little Yosemite is the valley of the upper Merced River, located atop Nevada Falls.

NevadaFallsLibertyCapHalfDome#18'90.jpg

Left to right: the backside (south face) of Half Dome, Liberty Cap, Nevada Falls and the entry to Little Yosemite. From vicinity of Glacier Point, 1990.

SierraJuniper#1'90TSim.10.jpg

Sierra juniper and lichen

SilverApron#35'90TD.jpg

Silver Apron, Merced River

SilverApron#3'90T.jpg

Silver Apron, Merced River

FishingLittleYosB&W-D.jpg

Steve Miller, fishing in the Merced River, early 60s

Here is the link to the next post – Tenaya Lake:

https://believesteve.org/2020/01/01/yosemite-national-park-tenaya-lake/

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in California, Nature, Photography, Rock climbing | Leave a comment

Bald Eagles for the Holidays

It’s Christmas Day (2019), and one of my presents was to sight four bald eagles. I was able to photograph two of them. This was along the Racecourse stretch of the Rio Grande, between Pilar and the County Line River Access.

BaldEagleRacecourseDSCN4283.jpg

BaldEagleRacecourseDSCN4302.jpg

BaldEagleRacecourseDSCN4312.jpg

Posted in Birding, Nature, New Mexico, Photography, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eagles Everywhere!

The major migration of bald eagles has arrived at the Rio Grande. They come, presumably, from points north, and always show up in mid-December … which, I’m guessing, is when the northern waters have started to ice up. The Rio Grande is relatively ice-free in the winter, which also attracts bunches of northern ducks. The eagles hunt those ducks, along with fish.  They are readily seen along the river from Velarde upstream to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, which stretches to the Colorado border. The Orilla Verde stretch of the Monument, which begins in the vicinity of Pilar and ends 6 miles upstream at Taos Junction Bridge, is where I habitually see the greatest concentration of eagles. Eagles are also often spotted along the Racecourse stretch, downstream of Pilar (see map at end of post). The following photos were all taken yesterday (12-20-19) in Orilla Verde.

BaldEagleOV DSCN4237.jpg

BaldEagleOV DSCN4218.jpgBaldEagleOV DSCN4215.jpg

BaldEagleOV DSCN4226.jpg

BaldEagleOV DSCN4248.jpgBaldEagleOV DSCN4254.jpgBaldEagleOV DSCN4277.jpg

RioG..jpg

Posted in Birding, Nature, New Mexico, Photography, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument | Leave a comment

The King Donald Chronicles, #54

IMPEACHED!

The House of Representatives has found Trump guilty of Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. There is no undoing this. Whether the Senate votes to remove him from office is another matter. And as much as I would like to see that happen, a failure to do so will not invalidate his impeachment.

We are now, finally, seeing the downfall of the most depraved individual ever to hold the Office of President. How is “depraved” defined? The definition is: “morally corrupt; wicked” (Apple Dictionary), which pretty much sums it up. Trump’s Presidency has been nothing less than a nightmare for those of us who wish to see a more just society, a more peaceful world, and a world committed to meeting head on the threat of climate disruption. Humanity is at a crossroads, and no one is less suited to dealing with the challenges we face than Trump. 

We are now, hopefully, also seeing the downfall of Trump’s craven minions – the Republican Party. It has sold its soul to the devil. Greed is their creed.

The world is now caught up in the ending stages of the war between good and evil. What is evil but greed – greed for riches, greed for sexual conquest and greed for unlimited power? Trump must go. He must be ejected from the Presidency, and his Republican enablers ejected from Congress and the State Legislatures. We must return this country to a position of enlightened leadership in a world that is in desperate need of it.

 

Posted in Donald Trump | Leave a comment

Water Birds, Alameda CA, Fall 2019

Migratory seabirds abound in the Bay Area in the winter months. And they are much more approachable than the migratory seabirds we get along the Rio Grande, in New Mexico. It must be that they are exposed to so many people, in that very populous area.

The following photos were taken along a waterway that runs through a fancy subdivision on Bay Island, Alameda.

Black-neckedStiltsDSCN3760.jpg

Black-necked stilts

Black-neckedStiltsDSCN3777.jpg

same as above

BuffleheadDSCN3774.jpg

Bufflehead

GoldeneyeDSCN3771.jpg

Goldeneye

CormorantDSCN3773.jpg

Cormorant

Below are photos from San Leandro Bay.

Black-neckedStiltsWilletsDSCN3883.jpg

Black-necked stilts and willets

 

BuffleheadsDSCN3799.jpg

Buffleheads, in the channel leading to San Leandro Bay

 

 

 

Posted in Birding, California, Nature | 1 Comment

Southwest Airlines, ABQ to Oakland, 9-26-2019

On September 26, I flew Southwest Airlines from Albuquerque to Oakland. This route usually provides views of the Grand Canyon and the Sierras,  but the vagaries of seating in the plane, the clarity of the windows, the time of day  and the presence or absence of clouds determines what kind of photos I get.

ABQRioGViewDSCN2018.jpg

Leaving Albuquerque, view to the north. The Sandia Mountains are seen in upper right. The Rio Grande runs through the center of the photo, and lava flows are seen on the left. View to the NE.

Clouds covered most of the rest of New Mexico and Arizona, including all of the Grand Canyon. But, I did get this view of the gorge of the Little Colorado, which here runs right to left through the center of the photo.

L.ColoradoDSCN2024.jpg

Gorge of the Little Colorado River, view to the N

And, west of the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead showed up.

LakeMeadSouthCoveDSCN2028.jpg

At the head of Lake Mead, where the brown water of the Colorado River is brought to a complete halt against the blue water of the lake.  A distinct boundary is encountered at this point. Due to a continuing drought, the lake has been shrinking, and, thus, the end of current has been advancing downstream. Since 2008, it has advanced about four miles downstream. View to the N.

I spotted the following two sights in western Nevada, which I later ID’ed with Google Earth.

SilverPeakMiningPondsNV DSCN2030.jpg

Silver Peak Mine settling ponds

Mt.DuboisNV DSCN2039.jpg

Mt. Dubois (13,565 feet), in the White Mountains, view to the NE

Then, with mostly clear skies. we crossed into California, flying to the south of Mono Lake, and over Yosemite NP.

KunaCrestDSCN2045.jpg

Mono Lake and Yosemite NP, view to the NE

White MountainDSCN2046.jpg

Yosemite NP, view to the NE

TuolomnePeakDSCN2048.jpg

Yosemite NP, view to the N

TowerPkLandslideDSCN2049.jpg

Northern Yosemite NP, view to the N

The plane passed directly over Yosemite Valley,  and then left the High Sierra behind. We then flew over the Tuolomne River.

CherryLakeDSCN2051.jpg

Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor are on tributaries of the Tuolomne River, view to the N

HetchHetchyDSCN2050.jpg

Built to provide drinking water to San Francisco, Hetch hetchy Dam drowns the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne River. View to the NE.

New Melones Dam floods the Stanislaus River. This is where, in 1973, the river conservationist, Mark Dubois, chained himself to a rock, to protest the dam.

NewMelonesLakeDSCN2052.jpg

New Melones Dam floods the Stanislaus River, view to the NE

CentralValleyFarmsDSCN2053.jpg

The Central Valley

OaklandAirportWingDSCN2054.jpg

Oakland Airport

 

Posted in California, Nature, Photography, SWA Flights-photography | Leave a comment

Rio Grande Winter, #1, Dec. 2019,

BaldEagle DSCN4101.jpg

Bald eagle, Rio Grande, Pilar, 12-10-19

MallardsDSCN4106.jpg

Mallards, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-10-19

SunsetDSCN4116.jpg

Barranco Blanco, Embudo, 12-11-19

TorevaBlockXXDSCN4151.jpg

Toreva block, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19. Toreva blocks are seen throughout the Rio Grande Gorge, which is cut predominately through basalt. They are large blocks of basalt that have broken away from the canyon rims and remained intact as they slid down and away. In most cases, they have rotated in a counter-clockwise direction as they slid, thus ending up tilted backwards. Numerous very large blocks form terraces in the gorge. This tilted block  slid away from the cliff face seen behind.

Bighorn&TruckXXDSCN4129.jpg

Bighorn ram and truck, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

Bighorn3XXDSCN4155.jpg

Bighorn sheep, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

BighornEweDSCN4147.jpg

Bighorn ewe, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

BighornRam&EweDSCN4136.JPG

Bighorn ewe and ram, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

BighornRamDirtRoadDSCN4146.jpg

The big guy, who allowed me to drive right up to him, and take photos from the driver’s seat. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19.

Bighorns (15) DSCN4160.jpg

15 bighorn sheep graze on the canyon slope, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, 12-13-19

FlickerDSCN4164.jpg

Northern flicker, Pilar, 12-14-19

 

 

Posted in Birding, Nature, New Mexico, Photography, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment