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It was a few days before Christmas, and the weather forecast called for a winter storm in Yosemite. Memories of fresh snow and heading out into the open in a snowstorm, be it a nearby hill in my childhood, or mountains in Colorado much later, are still with me. I miss those times greatly in the snowfree Bay Area. This was my chance to feel the snow in my face again. The storm ended up being quite a bit warmer, with mostly rain on the valley floor and snow only much higher up, but it was still my best outing in quite a while.


Gallery of my favorite photos


Up to Nevada Fall

It was raining at the trailhead, but since I came this far, I was going to see if I could reach the snowline. It was still raining on the Vernal Footbridge, but the rain changed to wet snow farther up John Muir Trail. It was a wet snow winter wonderland on the Mist Trail above Vernal Fall all the way to the top of Nevada Fall. The snow stopped when I reached the top of Nevada Fall.

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Illilouette Gorge John Muir Trail Footbridge above Emerald Pool Backpackers Nevada Fall Snowy Nevada Fall
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Top of Nevada Fall Snowy pine tree Snowy pine tree 2 Icicles on John Muir Trail Liberty Cap
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Ice Fog in the valley Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall


Nevada Fall

I ventured past Nevada Fall on the closed John Muir Trail. The snow showers were gone, but fog soon started rolling in. Later, I followed the same winter route back down - the Mist Trail and switching to John Muir Trail above Vernal Fall. Farther down it started raining again, it was pouring at times as I drove from the trailhead toward El Portal.

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Fog approaching Foggy Liberty C>ap and Half Dome Shrouded domes Snowy John Muir Trail Snowy and foggy wonderland Rck and Liberty Cap
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A rock and a tree Hiker Drop A look down the Nevada Fall Liberty Cap
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Icicles Tree above the fog Fog approaching Nevada Fall Vernal Fall


Gates of the Valley

The snowline lowered just above the valley floor overnight. I stopped at the Gates of the Valley at sunrise, and could not believe the crowd of photographers that gathered there. Having never sstopped at that location and with not enough time to scout out some place else, I succumbed to the convenience and conformity....

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Sunrise at the Gates of the Valley El Capitam reflections Snowy Marced River CLoudy Gates First sun rays on El Capitan


Tunnel View and Inspiration Point

After the colors dissipated, I drove up to Tunnel View, and hiked from there to Inspiration Point. As I went higher, there was almost a foot of fresh snow.

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Sugared Tunnel View Wawona Tunnel Discovery View Tunnel view in BW Trail to Inspiration Point
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Inspiration Point


Last rounds

Upon my return from Inspiration Point, the clouds closed in and it was not long before steady rain developed. I circled the valley for a few last shots, even recapturing one from a distant past. Even in the rain, the Gates of the Valley viewpoint was busy...

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Misty patch Tunnel View Lone tree Rainy Gates Rainy Gates


Last updated: July 17, 2017
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