Thursday, May 25, 2017

Yosemite: Glacier Point And The Panorama Trail

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

From Fresno California take highway 41 north to the Yosemite Gate then take Wawona Road to the Glacier Point Road turnoff at Chinquapin. Glacier Point is another 15 miles. It is about a 2 hour 15 minute drive and requires an early start to avoid traffic and parking issues, which become difficult later in the day.
            There are roadside views along the way at the Clark Range Overlook, Sentinel Dome and Washburn Point. Sentinel Dome requires a hike and climb to the top but the view is 360 degrees. Glacier Point (7,200’) is about a one-quarter mile walk from the parking area. On a clear day I believe it is the best view in the park with the least effort.

 Yosemite Falls
 Mt. Hoffman, Kettle Dome And North Dome

 Don't Believe This Sign!

Panorama Trail Route

 Illilouette Falls
 Illilouette Creek

 Mike The Patient Trail Buddy

 Half Dome And Mt. Hoffman

 Illilouette Creek And Falls

 Mt. Clark Center

            The Panorama Trail is about 5.5 miles round trip to the bridge over Illilouette Creek. You can see the falls from an area just off the trail before you drop down to the bridge. Take plenty of water for the return climb of about 1,400’ back to Glacier Point. The sign at Glacier Point says it is only 2 miles to the bridge but don’t believe it.
            If you are interested in a longer hike you can continue on the trail past the bridge to Nevada Falls and then return. You could also park in Yosemite Valley at Half Dome Village and take the shuttle bus to Glacier Point and hike back down.
            There is a lot to see from Glacier Point and plenty of views along the Panorama Trail. Just remember to get an early start because it can be a hot climb back out from Illilouette Creek.

            The photographs were taken with a Sony A7R2 with an adapted Leica 28mm 2.8, Voightlander 15mm 4.5, and a Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8.

A YouTube Video consisting of these photographs and additional video clips is available here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mile High Overlook and Mammoth Pool Reservoir

Dale Matson

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Mammoth Pool Reservoir

From Fresno, I took Highway 41 north to County Highway 200 to North Fork. From there I took Mammoth Pool Road out of North Fork I believe it is also called Minarets Road or the Scenic Byway Road. Mammoth Pool Reservoir is about 1.5 hours from North Fork. The three forks of the San Joaquin River have already joined by the time it flows into the reservoir.  is As you climb the first scenic pullout is where you can view Redinger Lake Reservoir from far above.

Redinger Lake Reservoir

After this there is a long winding climb that takes you through a huge burn area (the French Fire of 2014). Eventually you will come to what is called “Mile High Curve” There is a wide area with a pull out to view Mammoth Pool below and the Ritter Range of the Sierra Nevada about 25 miles as the eagle fly’s. It was a beautiful sight on a clear day with lots of snow remaining in the mountains. Less than a mile further there is a picnic area with a viewing area with a sign that identifies the mountains you are viewing. As you face the mountains there is an interesting cluster of granite domes on your left called, “Eagles Beaks”.

 Mammoth Pool At 97% Capacity

 Banner And Ritter

 Mammoth Mountain Can You See The Gondola House On Top?

 Chiquito Creek
 Eagles Beaks

It is still about 20 miles of descent to Mammoth Pool Reservoir with campgrounds along the route. There is a tall bridge across Chiquito Creek, which is quite full as I write this. There is a resort store near the boat ramp called “Wagner’s”. I was on a search for a missing lady there who went missing for three days. We located her and her dog on the 3rd day and she was weak but did not require hospitalization. There are additional campsites near the lake with the boat ramp being about 3 more miles below the store.

The gate was closed to the boat ramp so my son Ben and I walked down to the lake. Some other access points are closed for fishing and boating till June. Before Memorial Weekend when the store opens, the road and entire area is sparsely traveled.

I used a Sony A7R2 and an adapted Canon 400mm f4 lens with a 1.4X extender for some of the shots. I also used a Batis 85 1.8, Batis 18 2.8, and Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 for Sony e-mount.

A YouTube video of photographs and movie clips on this drive can be found here:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Grant Grove Area Of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Dale Matson
Highway 180 out of Fresno CA provides quick access (about an hour) to the Grant Grove Giant Sequoia area of the park and there a sights in the vicinity of Grant Grove too. The road to Panoramic Point near the Muir Lodge in Grant Grove is closed due to snow this time of year but can be accessed by snowshoes or skis. Here is an article about Panoramic Point.
The Grant Grove area also has an information center, camping permits, and restaurant and gift shop. The actual grove area access is just beyond there. There are nicely laid out trails that wind through the giant trees just off the parking area.

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Another area near the Grant Grove is the vista point accessed by driving south on the General’s Highway a few miles. A careful look from there also reveals the Buck Rock fire lookout in the distance. It is a great place to visit when it is open in summer.

There is also Sequoia Lake, which is just outside the park and site of a YMCA camp. Finally, in the spring of the year there are lovely views approaching the park gate of the surrounding foothills and a waterfall along the road.

If one has a limited amount of time, these sites are available and not far from each other.
The photographs were taken with the Sony A7R2, an adapted Canon 400 f4 (Buck Rock) a Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8 and a Zeiss Batis 18mm 2.8.