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John Muir lived in the Yosemite Valley from 1868 to 1873. The attention he won for Yosemite assured its place as a national park. Muir wrote, "Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly revealed beside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things." The Yosemite calendar shares the spirit of awe Muir felt so clearly almost 150 years ago.
14 x 22 inches, open
In the winter months Yosemite weather can be cold and snowy. The snow may melt quickly in Yosemite Valley, which is at 4,000 feet. At higher elevations, more snow accumulates and can remain on the ground until spring.
When the winter storm clears, Yosemite becomes a wonderland of bright sunny days, snowy meadows, icicle-draped pines and oaks, and snow-encrusted mountaintops. Visitors can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and hiking.
The granite crest of Half Dome rises more than 4,700 feet above the valley floor. The impression from the valley floor that this is a round dome that lost its northwest half is an illusion. Here it's shown with Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Retreating glaciers and flowing rivers carved many of Yosemite's spectacular features, including Cathedral Rocks. The granite formation became well known through the popularity of Albert Bierstadt's painting "Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Valley," which he created in the early 1870s. It now hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Yosemite Valley Chapel, the park's oldest structure, is a favorite setting for weddings. The chapel was built in 1879 about a mile from its present location. It was moved in 1901.
Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is made up of three separate falls: upper (1,430 feet), middle (675 feet), and lower (320 feet). The falls are visible from many places in Yosemite Valley, especially around the village and lodge. A strenuous, all-day hike brings visitors to the top of Yosemite Falls.
The Mariposa Grove, near the park's South Entrance, contains about 500 giant sequoias, perhaps the largest living things on the planet. Some of the giant sequoias may be more than 3,000 years old. Attractions include the California Tunnel tree, which was cut in 1895 to allow coaches to pass through, and the Fallen Monarch, which fell more than 300 hundred years ago, but resists decay.
Vernal Fall, which flows 317 feet on the Merced River, is accessible via the Mist Trail, which climbs close enough to the fall that hikers must travel through the fall's mist. Yan-o-pah (little cloud) was the local name of the fall before rechristened as "Vernal" by a member of the Mariposa Brigade in 1851. Although the waterfall runs year round, by the end of summer its volume is substantially reduced.
El Capitan, a 3,000-foot vertical rock formation on the north side of Yosemite Valley, is a favorite challenge for rock climbers. There are dozens of named climbing routes, all long and difficult. The Mariposa Battalion gave the formation its name when the soldiers explored the valley in 1851. El Capitan is a loose Spanish translation of the local Indian name.
Olmsted Point, along the Tioga Road, looks down on Yosemite Valley from the east. Visitors to the point can see Half Dome and Tenaya Lake with the mountains beyond. The lake is named for a Native American chief whose people once lived in the valley.
El Capitan Meadow shows off Yosemite's Mediterranean climate. The park's summers are usually long and hot, and its winters relatively mild in temperature. Although the upper elevations may receive snow as early as October, here visitors can enjoy vivid fall color in sparkling sunlight.
A serene landscape awaits the visitor to this area near Tuolumne Meadow. The meadow area lies on eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, at an altitude of 8,500 and higher. With the spring rains, wildflowers appear; bears can be seen in the warmer months. Late in the year life is quieter here.