Yosemite National Park, CA – When the Snow Melts

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November 28, 2018 by Deborah W. Trotter

As California finally gets some rainfall in November, helping to clear the smoky air and dampen the wildfires, the higher elevations in the Sierras are welcoming snow. Although we don’t yet know how much snow will fall this winter, in the spring, whatever snow has fallen will melt and flow down into Yosemite Valley. The more snow there is in the high country, the bigger and louder the established waterfalls will be, and the more ephemerals will appear.

Two springs past, in May of 2017, we made a special trip to the Valley to see and hear the effects of a huge winter snow pack melting. It was an unparalleled experience.

The following pictures help tell the story.

Cascade Creek roils down to and under Big Oak Flat Road
Near El Capitan is Ribbon Fall which is often barely visible or non-existent

Bridalveil Fall is often filmy and wispy, but that day it boomed over the edge in such volume that vapor clouds billowed up from its base, water from it flooded down the trail and overflowed the banks of Bridalveil Creek. The parking lot was a wading pool.

Bridalveil Fall
Looking up at Bridalveil through the spray
Wild Bridalveil Creek below the Fall
An abundance of water cascades down Sentinel Falls, usually dry by summer
Upper Yosemite Fall beyond the swollen Merced River

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
Royal Arch Cascade near the Ahwahnee Hotel is usually dry by early summer
Lower Yosemite Fall crashes into Yosemite Creek
Yosemite Creek careens into the valley

When this winter’s Yosemite snow pack melts next spring, some of it must fall into the Valley. Be there to catch it if you can.

On the softer, gentler side of things, there might also be dogwood in bloom.

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