by Jean Henry Mead
My husband and I traveled the length of Yosemite in July and were surprised to find so much snow in the mountains, which range in elevation from 2,127 to 13,114 feet. Some 3.7 people visit the park each year.
The park is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it can also be dangerous. The day we were there, three young people were swept over Vernal falls to their deaths because they had climbed over the guard rail to take pictures. We read the following day that 17 park visitors had died in the first seven months of this year.
Half Dome (in the background) attracts a great many rock climbers each year and we saw quite a few that day.
I was surprised to learn that the park encompasses 761,268 acres and three counties over the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas. It's a horticulturist's paradise with 7,000 diverse plant species and 160 varieties of rare plants that exist within the park. It's also a geologist's dream.
I once lived in the San Joaquin Valley for more than a dozen years and visited Yosemite a number of times, but each trip reveals something new to admire and photograph.