I’m just passing this along as an as-yet-unconfirmed rumor, but I’ve heard that Tioga Pass Road may open this weekend. Expect that many areas will still have a lot of snow and/or be quite wet, especially up high. Also, don’t expect any services or campgrounds to be open along the road in the park.
Winter Solstice at Muir Woods. Muir Woods National Monument, California. December 21, 2007. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Last December I first found out about this wonderful annual event at Muir Woods – a winter solstice festival. Although the event starts in the afternoon (officially at 3:00 p.m.), the real fun at sunset and after dark when the trails are lined with luminaria. (Or “candles in paper bags” to those who don’t speak Latin.)
Depending upon the weather, this could be a good day for SF Bay Area photographers to combine winter photography at Muir Woods with a bit of night photography.
The following information is summarized from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy events listing:
Celebrate the longest night of the year with the tallest trees on earth!
Sunday, December 21, 2008, 3 PM – 8 PM, Muir Woods. Cost: Free
This outdoor program is suitable for all ages and will begin at the Visitor Center…rain or shine. Activities and events include the making of solstice crowns, a stage performance of songs, stories, and puppetry, and walking the trails of Muir Woods lit by luminaria. No reservations required.
This evening can be dark and chilly; we ask visitors to bring a flashlight, dress warmly (layers/blankets), and bring a mug for warm drinks. For details, please call the hotline at (415) 388-2596 as the date approaches.
Unless the weather is really, really awful I plan to be there.
The autumn color season in the Sierra Nevada should start very soon. Actually, if you count – as I do – the dry grasses and the high elevation ground plants going dormant, it has already begun. But the real show is the turning of the aspens, mostly in the eastern Sierra, starting around the very end of September and likely peaking during the first week of the month. If conditions are right, it can last as long as the middle of October, but earlier is always better.
Several web sites have posted fall color guides in the past, and since timing is so critical it is a good idea to follow the as the time approaches. One site that is new to me is a US government site that reports on fall colors nationwide. Another that I’ve often followed in the past is the California Fall Color site, though it doesn’t (yet) appear to be active. In addition, I’ll summarize what I know and what I hear about Sierra fall color once the curtain begins to rise on this year’s show.
Correction: I just saw that the road did not open today… It will apparently open on WEDNESDAY. Sorry!
Just a few days late for me – I was up that way late last week – Tioga Pass
has opened will open this Wednesday, at least according to a story in the West Coast Imaging Blog. Let the fun begin! :-)
I discovered something interesting last weekend. I thought that the road, while open for administrative traffic ahead of time, was simply closed to other traffic until the entire thing opened. I was surprised to see a sign about a mile up 120 from the turn off in the park late last week stating “Road Closed 19 Miles Ahead.” I guess it may partially open a bit earlier than the full opening.
BTW, I got a real kick out of the tags at the end of the West Coast Imaging Blog post: Fish Tacos, Lee Vining, tioga pass, Tuolumne Meadows. Anyone who travels over the pass to the east side a lot – as I do – very much understands the reasoning behind the first tag. :-)
I guess it will still be a post-Groundhog Day hike if we do it in a few weeks, right? Despite the fact that Groundhog Day means nothing in any concrete sort of way – or perhaps because of this – a group of us were going to do a hike at Coe Park. But it has rained for the past month or so. It rained all last week. It rained yesterday. It was raining this morning.
Wishing to avoid hiking in ankle-deep mud we have postponed the hike.
SKIING / Free-heelers get their days. Skiers from around the West will head to Bear Valley Mountain Resort next week for the annual Telemark Ski Festival. The festival will run Feb. 8-10 at Bear Valley, which is just off Highway 4 in the central Sierra east of Arnold (Calaveras County)… [SFGate: Tom Stienstra]
As a mid-level telemark skier, and I did go to one of the previous Telemark Ski Festivals at Bear Valley. It was great fun, and I got to work with some really excellent instructors. Recommended.
Tom at Two-Heel Drive (why do I always type To-Hell Drive the first time? ;-) has posted a couple of interesting announcements.
First, he has announced that the Annual Ground Hogs Day Invitational Hike will take place on
Saturday Sunday, February 2 3*. You are invited, so it must be an invitational, right? Details are not exactly set in stone just yet, but there is a good chance that we’ll go to Henry Coe Park (quickly, before the Governator tries to close it) and probably in the morning. Follow the link to Tom’s blog for more information.
* Tom wrote to point out: “Dan: Feb. 3 is a sunday (Super Bowl Sunday in fact)”
Second, he notes a couple of appearances by Bay Area outdoor phenom 4WheelBob and his impressive feat on White Mountain last summer.
From an article in SFGate:
Yosemite National Park received a treasure out of its own past Friday when philanthropist Bill Lane presented the park with the original “Grand Register of Yo-Semite Valley” at a small ceremony at Stanford University.
The Grand Register was a fixture at the Cosmopolitan, a bath house and saloon in the early days of tourism at Yosemite. Distinguished visitors were asked to sign the guest book and offer any comments…
…The signing began in 1873 and continued until 1884, and the book contains more than 18,000 signatures, including those of four U.S. presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt got special treatment. He visited the park in 1903, long after the register was closed. Roosevelt didn’t visit the Cosmopolitan; he made a point of not entering a building, except to drink a lemonade at a studio in the valley. Instead, he went camping with John Muir.
See the article for more information and some photographs.
(An old article – posted here so as not to lose it during the site transition.)
The second Amgen Tour of California is presently rolling through the state – pretty exciting stuff! I managed to get to the prologue stage in San Francisco last week, where I shot a number of photographs. (I am also gradually posting them at G Dan Mitchell | Photography.)
From Two-Heel Drive:
Groundhog Day Invitational pix. We hiked four hours along the misty ridges of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, just up the road from San Ramon. Mount Diablo poked above the mist like the Kilimanjaro wannabe that it is. Temperatures, mild; winds, just enough to dry the sweat.
Tom is describing our “bloggers’ hike” yesterday morning at Las Trampas park in the east bay. I’d write a lot more and post photographs… but I ended up spending a lot of time on another photographic project this weekend – a night photography workshop at Mare Island. (Some photos are posted here.)
In any case, it was a great hike, and I really want to get back to that park again on a very clear (unlike this weekend) day in spring since this seems like a park with excellent view potential.
A highlight of the day was meeting 4WheelBob, whose goal is to reach to the the summit of White Mountain, which is over 14,000 feet. He’s been close a couple times, maybe 2007 will be his year.
For more on Bob Coomber’s outdoor exploits, check out this profile in Backpacker magazine. It makes him out as more of a hero than he’d care to be portrayed, I suspect — he strikes me as a regular guy playing the cards he was dealt. His outoor exploits do seem pretty amazing to those of us not in his hiking shoes, but his vibe is, “you’d do the same, right?” The cool thing is, he helps us believe our answer is “hell, yes.” [Two-Heel Drive]
- Black and White
- Castle Rock
- Death Valley
- Gear Reviews
- Green World
- Mission Peak
- Mono Lake
- Mount Shasta Area
- Owens Valley
- Pacific Northwest
- Point Lobos
- Quicksilver Historical
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Santa Teresa
- Sierra Nevada
- Site News
- White Mountains