News from the Field: Day 11--Yosemite Park

A truly exciting day today. We visited--most of us for the first time--one of the great wonders of the world--Yosemite National Park. We got an early start, and drove the serpentine road from Mono Basin up to 10,000-foot Tioga Pass, reaching the park entrance by 8:30. Our friends Dave Marquart and Connie Henderson joined us for the first part of the day.  We started the field day with an early hike up Lembert Dome, an extraordinary expanse of Sierra Nevada granite with spectacular views of the Sierra peaks. On to Lake Tenaya for a glorious lunch in the sun, surrounded by Sierra snowfields, and a brief stop at Olmstead Point for a first view of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. We decided to take the long, winding drive past Tuolome Meadows down to Yosemite Valley--and what a treat! We saw the great wonders of the park--El Capitan, Bridal Veil Falls, Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome--and of course, the Yosemite Village gift shop. After the Valley, John, Michael, and Brandy enjoyed the long, scenic drive home, with our bliss interrupted only by the snores of the exhausted travellers.  Didn't get back to SNARL until 8:30, but another great meal awaited us.

    June 1st
An early start for the day--8:30 AM and we're already at Lembert Dome
The magnificent granite massif of Lembert Dome, shaped by glacial polishing and erosion.
At the base of the mountain, Ruben discovers a beautiful example of glacial polish on the marble surface.
In the bright morning sun, the group starts the rugged climb up the granite face.
Ruben starts up the mountain, catching up with the rest of the group.
As we head on up, the climb gets more grueling...
We made it to the summit. Yes!!!
From the top, a spectacular view of the high peaks of upper Yosemite.
After our 'breakfast on top of the world', Michael gets out some maps, and tries to wake up the group and get them thinking about glacial geology of Yosemite.

Renee and Mia work on their sketches from the top of the mountain.

On the way down, Ruben and Debby pose by a sole Jeffrey Pine clinging to the granite surface.

John helps coach Debby down the steep terrain.  A beautiful example of a 'roche moutonnee' ('sheep rock') is visible below.  The locals call it 'puppy rock'.
Ruben captures a self-portrait on the way down.  A new Ansel Adams!
Back down from the mountain, Mia, Matt, Renee, and Ryan look for the perfect place for lunch--by the shores of Tenaya Lake.
Mia and Renee work on their dance routines.
After lunch, we head down to Yosemite Valley and start with a spectacular view of Yosemite Falls--a textbook example of a hanging valley.
On the way to the falls, the group traverses a beautiful Yosemite Valley meadow.
Uh-oh!  Does this mean we were'nt supposed to walk through there?
Kat finds her way across one of the tributaries of the Merced River!
Well, not all the way... Ruben and Kat get their feet wet.
The last stretch of river--John, Brandy, and Ruben ham it up...
Yes!  We made it to Yosemite Falls!
The group climbs up to the base of the falls.  Get a load of those granite boulders!
Lily and Emily catch a taste of the mist.
Ruben checks out the wildlife!
On the way back to the car (after an exciting little run-in with a baby brown bear) we get another suprise--an unexpected view of Half-Dome, a granite massif sliced in two by glacial erosion.

And what better spot for a group photo...?

Next stop--Capitan Meadow, for an exquisite view of Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan.
The group looks for climbers on the 4000' wall of El Capitan.
Mia and Renee cruise across the meadow, with El Capitan in the background
After a long day of glacial geology, the two old salts show the young geologists how to relax--in the Merced River
Not long before everyone's in.  Splash!
There's Lily, Ruben, and Liz!
Our two leaders pose for the swimsuit issue of 'Geology Today'.
Matt and Liz warm up--with a full view of El Capitan in the background!