Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It has been over 70 years!

Sunday, my hubby, my sister in law Joanne and I went on an adventure.

I had seen a news story late last week on our local CBS affiliate KPIX. They had gone to Yosemite National Park to do a story about our lack of rain and snow this winter. We have not seen rain here in northern and central California since October, and this is our rainy season. 

No rain or snow means no snow pack in the Sierras, California's main source of water for much of the state. It is so dry, that there is no snow on the Tioga or Sonora passes, which are usually closed between November and May, or even later, depending on the snow fall. They were both open in January, something that has not happened in over 70 years. 

And that meant that many parts of Yosemite Park that are usually buried in snow in the winter and inaccessible were open. Including Tenaya Lake. Not only could you visit frozen Tenaya Lake, the lake it self was not covered under many feet of snow. 

People were skating, picnicking on the lake ice, even playing impromptu hockey games. I thought it would be fun to take a day and go visit the park and lake after I saw this news story. I did not know my sister in law had seen this same news report also.

On Saturday, we were chatting and she mentioned she was going to go to Yosemite on Sunday. I asked why and she told me about the news report she had seen. I told her I had seen it also and I would go with her, if she wanted company. When we talked to my hubby, he said he would like to go
along for the ride too. 

So Sunday morning we got up early and headed out on our adventure.
I had packed us a picnic lunch to eat at the park. Many of the concessions in the park had closed down for the winter, as usual, not knowing the winter weather would be arriving so late! It took about 5 hours to get to Yosemite and then another hour or so to get to Tenaya Lake, with a few photo stops in between. 

 A view of the back side of Half Dome from Olmstead Point.
Beyond Half Dome is the famous Yosemite Valley. 
Perched on a cold granite wall at Olmstead Point. We might not have had much rain or snow, but the winter cold had arrived anyway.
From Olmstead Point you can see Tenaya Lake.  

Here I am out on frozen Tenaya Lake. 

Frozen sold from shore to shore. The sounds coming from below the ice sounded like whale songs. It was very cool being able to visit the lake and knowing that it may be another 50 years before we have a  winter like this again.

After we left the lake we decided to continue on over Tioga Pass, passing Toulumne meadows. We decided not to head back down to Yosemite Valley, but go the Tioga pass route and head up to the Sonora Pass. It was cold and windy at the pass, and sadly barren of snow. 

We headed down the pass to Hwy 395 to travel north to go over  Hwy 108 and the Sonora Pass, another pass over the Sierras not usually open after October, until May. 

When we got to Hwy 395 we stopped at a vista point to view Mono Lake and eat our picnic lunch.  

After lunch we headed up Hwy 395 to Hwy 108 and started up the Sonora Pass. Because this road is less traveled than Tioga, it is much more narrow and winding. But full of beautiful views! I can't imagine making this trip by horse and wagon!

After we traveled over Sonora Pass we headed down to the central valley and on to home in Sonoma County. It was a long day of driving, about 500 miles in 15 hours. But a chance to get away for the day and experience something we might not see again in our life time, 
was worth the long but beautiful drive. 

Rain is forecast this week which means snow in the Sierras and the chance to make this trip at this time of year will be gone. 


  1. Hey Berta!
    -Did the same trip over 120 and then Sonora Pass over the Christmas break. Also did Mammoth Lakes, June Lakes & Bishop.
    -Looks like weather this week. Nice pics Berta.
    Bill Carlson

  2. What beautiful pictures! I forget how magnificent the Sierras are!
    Not only are you very clever with your crafting, but what a great idea for
    a trip. Except for the altitude I would have loved to go.


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