• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

Mather Musings: Wolf Lichen and Snow

September 08, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Wolf Lichen and Snow
Letharia vulpina
    
Wolf Lichen - up close  Lodgepole with Wolf Lichen

Red Fir with Wolf Lichen

September 2012
White Wolf area

These ornate, chartreuse, fuzzy-from-a-distance growths on branches and trunks of trees not only give a vibrant accent to a late season stroll through one of Yosemite's red fir/lodgepole pine forests. They also give some hints as to what one might expect if you were to stick around through the winter. Wolf lichen likes to grow on the trunks of trees where it can get a good hold, such as on thick and sturdy-barked red fir (bottom picture above). But you'll notice that it only starts a certain height above the ground…around White Wolf it's usually around eight or nine (or more) feet up from the ground. Turns out that it doesn't like to grow under the snow, so the height that you first see it on the trunk of a tree is a good indication of the average snow depth for an area (meaning eight or nine feet or more in a lot of areas near White Wolf)! The White Wolf Lodge closes this week, the campground closes next week, and the Tioga road will be closing at some point in the not too distant future as the snows set in and turn the high country into a very different world.
 

mather musings




Post A Comment

Submit Comment

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.