Music: The Sahara of Snow Pt 2 by Bill Bruford

It turns out that spring in Yosemite is not necessarily about wildflowers, honeybees and bears looking for huckleberries. At 4,000+ feet, in early April, spring means slush and icy patches covering trails to spectacular waterfalls – melt water that will slowly reveal yet another amazing layer in what Yosemite has to offer. The last time we were here, in late November, the melt water was long gone. Most of the waterfalls had dried up and the rushing rivers had turned to babbling brooks. This time, we got to see another side of the park. The waterfalls were big, the rivers fast, and the landscape was mainly covered in white.

Luckily, we knew we might encounter come colder weather somewhere along this trip, so we were prepared. The mornings here have started cold, in the 30’s, gradually warming to near summer temperatures by the early afternoon. We saw a full 45 degree swing one day, when we started out at a chilly 35 degrees and ended with an 80 degree afternoon, so warm that we were tempted to take a dip in the ice water river that runs through one end of our campground.

We understand that late May/early June is when the snow will all be gone and the wildflowers will finally be in full bloom. We’d love to see that. It’s hard to imagine what it might be like when there are even more visitors here, though. We’ve only been here during the off season, but each time the valley at Yosemite has been pretty well packed with tourists –families from all over the U.S. and everywhere in the world. We must have heard half a dozen languages spoken on one path alone. Some, knowing they were coming to sunny California, seemed to have packed for the beach. We saw more than one family slipping and sloshing along icy paths in Bermuda shorts and flip flops. One guy, fed up with the inability of his plastic sandals to grip the ice, took them off and walked barefoot to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. We call that destination dedication.

Even though it is hard to fathom vying for space in an even more densely populated Yosemite, we can see how it would still be a wonderful place to visit in the summer. Perhaps in another few years. For now, we’re heading south to warmer climes – San Benito, another one of our favorite spots!

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