It started innocently enough -- Jim Fitzgerald and I decided to meet during the trip last week to Joshua Tree to meet in Yosemite Valley and stay at Camp 4 for the weekend. Reports of snow seemed exaggerated, and the price for Camp 4 makes it attractive.
Camp 4 is quite famous and historically famous, both for myself and for the outdoor humanity. "On February 21, 2003, Camp 4 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significant association with the growth and development of rock climbing in the Yosemite Valley during the 'golden years' of pioneer mountaineering". In the spring of 1974 I was drenched in a plastic tent just before the snowfall dropped below the valley floor, and was forced to abandon my spring break trip due to risk of hypothermia. This represents one of my early failures at camping, of which I was reminded for years by my family.
At Camp 4 on Valentine's Day
The weather on Saturday was pleasant with drifting clouds warning of an upcoming storm. We wandered around the valley in the afternoon, taking stock of the place and looking for good photo opportunities.
Later we hiked up to Lower Yosemite Falls and Jim set up his 11" x 14" to capture an oak tree. The Yosemite black oak is currently starring in a recovery effort on the valley floor, which I managed to avoid reading about. Jim's interest is merely photographic, I suspect, he's looking for an increase in value range to help his carbon printing effort.
The Valley Loop trail and the hike to Lower Yosemite Falls are populated by a few hundred thousand (not really) mule deer, so we saw a few.
Lower Yosemite Falls
Near the Falls
Jim with Homemade 11 by 14 View Camera
At the end of the day we found this sight, which seems really cliché. In February it's commonly understood that El Capitan will light up in a blaze of orange at about 4:00 P.M. But not on Saturday.
A Small Amount of Fog