4 June 2016: There and Back Again

El Capitan Meadow

Author: Mayra Zarate and Emily Barnett

CA: Mono Co- Santa Cruz Co: Through Yosemite

Our first stop on the way back was Tuolumne Meadows. The meadows were wet and lush while the landscape consisted of mountains covered in forests and or rocky slopes with snow that melted away to create streams and gushing waterfalls. We observed a flooded meadow surrounded by lodgepoles who were slowly invading the meadow. We clambered up to Pothole Dome to get yet another glacier lecture and a special talk from our TA, Ranger Jack, about what each of the peak’s names were. The view was spectacular! Our next stop was at Olmstead Point, where we had a terrific view of Half Dome. Max caught his specialty; a Western Fence lizard, and small patches of snow allowed for a final round of snow shenanigans. Some others stayed behind in search of a pika, but instead found the fat and fuzzy marmot. On our way to the last stop, the landscape progressed from a snowy pine forest to a drier pine forest all the way down to the raging and flooded Merced River that was surrounded by tall, vertical, rocky walls. We were absolutely astonished at some rock climbers that even when looked at through our binoculars looked like tiny creatures on this massive rock wall. El Capitan was truly something to behold. It seemed like around every corner there was a majestic waterfall pouring out of the glacier-carved rocky hillsides.

Finally we were on our way back to our homes in Santa Cruz and the landscape once again shifted to chapparal as we drove alongside the Merced River. Some cars were filled with the songs from many pop artists, while other cars preferred to listen to the songs of birds off of Christophen’s iPod. We arrived safe and sound, aware that this was just the beginning.