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Oh, Yosemite in the Fall!

It has been over three years since I have taken a trek out into Nature.  That is way too long!

Therefore, this autumn I was determined to get away, seeking the colors of fall.  But when I first made this decision, it was too early in the season—the colors were not yet emerging.  I thought about heading up to Bishop at some point, so I could find fall colors as well as take a side trip to Mono Lake.  But I did not want to drive 7-8 hours just to get there before I could start wandering around. Then I got busy, and all of a sudden it was the end of October and finding fall colors was still on my list.  But this past week opened up as light in terms of work load, and I could actually take a couple days off.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  John Muir

That’s when it dawned on me:  I could head to a place about 220 miles northeast of me.  After all, I had been there before in the fall and saw some the yellows and oranges of the season. But then hesitations set in.  I was not thrilled to see that the park’s website says the area “is not known for spectacular fall colors.” Other reasons not to take the trip kept coming to mind as well:  I could only get away for a couple of days. It was raining the night before I was going to leave with more rain predicted the next day.  In fact, several of the roads into and through the park were closed because of snow, and the need for chains—that I do not have—were a distinct possibility. Even if the weather were great, some of the roads were under construction. And the website said the park’s various waterfalls boasted no more than a trickle of water.

I thought about not going.

But every time I thought about canceling, I just had to remember that I was heading to Yosemite National Park. YOSEMITE!

phone tunnel view sunny

Cold, rain, limited access—none of that mattered.  It would be great to get back to Yosemite even for a day.  And the trip was stupendous:  I did not get rained on.  The road construction delays were minimal.  The dense clouds of the first day were replaced by sunshine the next morning.  It was cold, but who cares?

100_0984I wandered among the trees and found fall colors.  Although there100_0943 were no vibrant reds or oranges, the yellows, golds, browns, and corals were in abundance.  As I wandered through the trees, I heard the chittering of the birds and watched the bushy-tailed squirrels racing over the branches.  I watched a peregrine falcon soar over head and a mule deer wander along the road at dusk.  At one point, a raven stopped to chat, patiently waiting on a fence post.  At other times, I sat beside the Merced River, enjoying the silence and the solitude.


100_1062The road to the Mariposa Grove opened the second day, but the road to Glacier Point stayed closed due to snow.  The impressive granite walls of Yosemite Valley were accessible both days:  Half Dome, El Capitan, Sentinel Rock, and the Cloud’s Rest View.  The groves of pine, fir and sequoias were punctuated with the subdued colors of fall at every turn.  I could ask for nothing better.  As John Muir says, “This grand show is eternal.”

Here are some of the photos I captured as I wandered through Yosemite National Park in October 2013: 


“The mountains are calling and I must go.”  John Muir



“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”  John Muir







“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”  John Muir



leaves again



“The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.”  Theodore Roosevelt




President Lincoln preserved the Mariposa Grove in 1864 at the same time Yosemite Valley was protected.  Later, Theodore Roosevelt apparently agreed with the action:  “A grove of giant redwood or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a beautiful cathedral.”





“No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied—it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.”  Ansel Adams

“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”  John Muir

(What a difference a day makes!)

Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday Afternoon

Wednesday Morning

Wednesday Morning

“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”  Ansel Adams



“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charms.”  Theodore Roosevelt


 When Muir arrived in San Francisco in 1868, a carpenter he met in the city asked him where he wanted to go.  Muir’s response:  “Anywhere that is wild.”  Muir started walking east, out of the city.  Makes sense to me!

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NOTE:  I shared a fuller look at Yosemite in an earlier post that was fresh pressed in May 2011.  If you have not been to Yosemite yet, place the visit on your bucket list!  If you have been, what memories can you share? Or is there another national park you can recommend we all visit?  Another one of my favorites is the Grand Canyon.  Maybe I will get back there in the summer!

Comments on: "Oh, Yosemite in the Fall!" (18)

  1. Robert Ostrove said:

    What a lovely photo essay, Patti.

    • Thanks, Robert! It was a great trip, especially since I had not been out for a long three years. You know what a long three years it was! Thanks for stopping by–why are you up so late?!

  2. Argh! Did you go right off the bat? How many days were you there? Whenever I think of Yosemite, I always feel like doing a planning and reservations. Maybe I just do what you did…no hesitation and just go. I have to have to see Yosemite before I leave Cali.
    Truly, A Yosemite post never fails! Such beauty I see whenever I come across a post of Yosemite. It’s calling out to me. The reflection shots look so cool. You are so “lucky”.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I feel lucky getting out there even for a short time. It was not an unplanned trip but I made the arrangements pretty quickly. On Friday I realized I could take a couple days off and checked for a hotel close to Yosemite for Tuesday–and found one! It takes me about 4-5 hours to drive to Yosemite, so I left Tuesday morning, played in Yosemite a bit that afternoon, stayed over in Mariposa, spent the next day in Yosemite again,a nd headed home in the late afternoon. It was a great full two days! I do encourage you to see Yosemite before you leave the state! There were lots of hotel rooms available.

      • Ah, thanks. Not I’m more confident I can do it just fine.

      • Have fun! Check weather conditions which impact road conditions, but the park is always open. A good starting point for road info is to call !-800-GASROAD. It tells about all California roads and gives a number to call for updates on roads inside Yosemite.

  3. Stunning! We were in Texas for 29 years and never made it out to Yosemite, much the pity. We did go to Muir Woods, though, and I know how awestruck you were with the natural beauty you saw. Nothing like being out in nature, especially in the fall.

  4. This is a stunning walk .. especially for those of us like me who haven’t visited Yosemite! The opening and closing pics are excellent bookends for the treasures that lie in between.

  5. Stunning scenery! It must have been wonderful being there.

  6. […] emotional self by connecting with friends and laughing at myself. For my spiritual self I took some treks into Nature, took more photos, and expressed gratitude more consistently.  Some of these actions also turned […]

  7. […] started getting back into my role as a Roadside Naturalist.  First, I took an overnight trip to Yosemite and then another to Sequoia National Park, both in an effort to make sure my bad knees would not […]

  8. […] National Park is one of my favorite nature destinations.  I have traveled there many times over the years, and I am always overwhelmed by its natural wonders. Given its […]

  9. […] to national parks, and if I find one that fascinates me I am apt to go back again and again.  Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon are two of my favorite destinations.  Each visit has enough […]

  10. […] Yosemite National Park.  It is such a vast natural wonderland. It is one of my favorite places.  Typically when I visit, I stay in the popular Yosemite Valley area, driving in through Wawona.  I bet most tourists do the same thing.  I’ve written about some of my past visits several times, once as a general overview and again about a more recent fall visit. […]

  11. […] I’ve visited Yosemite National Park in the fall before, so I knew there would be some impressive color to appreciate.  This time, the colors came through even on a rainy day. […]

  12. […] of my favorite places to watch the fall color transformation is Yosemite National Park.  This year, however, I decided I would visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, figuring […]

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