A few photos from our quick trip over Sonora Pass and down to Mammoth on HWY 395 in our quest to see what was left of the 2016 fall colors. The previous week's storms had gotten rid of most of the amazing color, but we still managed to find great splashes of gold in McGee Creek, where we took our Christmas card photos. I must say that Zephyr played a large role in framing and pushing the shutter release.
Fishing was nixed at Convict Lake because of extremely blustery winds, so we decided to hike the lake's perimeter instead. Zephyr made it 1.3 miles and rode the final mile and a half on my shoulders. Not bad for a tired and hungry three-year-old!
Enjoy the photos!
I had a few spare hours after dropping-off the WildLink crew for their amazing week-long expedition last Tuesday. (See their expedition photos here). Desperately in need of a huge hike to work-off the stress of this school year, I set-off for the summit of Mt Hoffmann from the May Lake parking lot. Three miles and 2200' of elevation gain will get you to the summit and the amazing 360 degree views from the geographic center of Yosemite.
There's also a ton of great geologizing to be had along the way. Hoffman is made of the Mt Hoffman Granodiorite, which is pretty, but the star of the hike is quartzite and quartz-mica schist that has been folded and twisted like taffy. The entire set of photos can be found in the Photo Journal. (PS, I also caught/released) eight brookies in May Lake in 45 min of fishing/photographing.
And a rough 3D model of a piece of the quartzite along the trail.
Realizing that we had a busy week in store for us, Laura and I decided to take Zephyr out to the Tuolumne River in La Grange to A) get away from it all & B) see the rare salmon or two spawning. We successfully spent two hours at the river exploring, throwing rocks, finding aquatic snails and shed snake skins. We most definitely did not find a chinook salmon spawning.
The drought and the resulting lower flow regimes from the Don Pedro Dam have been devastating to the population. Just a few more than 200 came up to spawn last year, and thus far 2016 isn't going much better: 48 fave been counted by FishBio to date. The state is trying to increase the flow regime of the Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus rivers to boost the salmon population and increase the health of the Delta downstream (while also possibly exporting more Sacramento River water south). I think it will work, but many farmers are willing to fight to prevent the extra flows from ever happening. It will take a novel collaboration to reduce the amount of groundwater pumped in the face of reduced surface water deliveries within the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts. I would really love for my son to see a healthier river with lots of salmon some day soon. I'd love to be able to take him salmon fishing on our river.
Ryan J Hollister - Geoscience & EnviroSci Educator, Avid hiker, Landscape photographer, WildLink Club Advisor, Central Valley Advocate.