• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

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?

Vernal and Nevada Falls

In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.