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Mather Musings: "Snow Knee" Tree

July 15, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

"Snow Knee" Tree



Trail to North Dome from Porcupine Creek

Lots of hikers along the North Dome trail today (July 15) were hot and thirsty during their ascent back up to the Tioga Road. The sloped area along the trail (photo) shows evidence that water (in the form of snow) is quite prevalent here throughout other times of the year. This tree has developed something called "snow knee" which starts forming when the tree is young and is bent over by snow and/or pushed at a angle by snow's pressure down the slope. Eventually this tree managed to grow upward towards the sun, but retained a signature of its struggle against the snow from its early days. Be sure to carry plenty of water and sun protection with you on your hike to North Dome as the latter part of the route has little shade and the hike back from North Dome is mostly uphill.

mather musings




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Did You Know?

Merced River in Yosemite Valley

The Merced River was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1987. Eighty-one miles of river runs through Yosemite National Park, including a stretch in Yosemite Valley.