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Yosemite Ranger Notes

About This Blog

Ranger-naturalists have been interpreting the natural and cultural resources of Yosemite for park visitors for nearly a century. In this blog, some of Yosemite's park rangers share recent observations from around Yosemite.

All posts are shown below, or you can view posts by topic.

Stewards of Stone - Stabilizing Yosemite Cemetery

September 25, 2013 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

The Yosemite Cemetery is filled with echoes of Yosemite’s past. For American Indians the origins of these echoes reach back many hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. The echoes of non-Indians go back only to the mid-nineteenth century, yet this was a time of great change in the American perspective on wild lands and scenic resources. A visit to the Yosemite Cemetery will bring you closer to many of the personages that began the development of what we now call Yosemite National Park.

 

Lyell Glacier

September 11, 2013 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

August 29 marked the 142nd Anniversary of the first recorded ascent of Mount Lyell, Yosemite’s highest peak (13,114 feet). J. B. Tileston made that ascent in 1871. He left his base camp at four in the afternoon the day before he summited. Darkness found him bivouacked high in the mountains where he....

 

Steller's Jay Coloration

July 01, 2013 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

The Steller’s jay is one of the more common birds Yosemite visitors see. It has beautiful blue feathers that aren’t blue at all--that is, they have no blue pigment in them.

 

Lady Slipper Orchids

June 25, 2013 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

I was exploring Yosemite's mountain forests at about 5,000 feet elevation recently, when I found my favorite patch of lady slipper orchids still in bloom. I say "favorite patch" because the first time I ever saw such lovely and unusual flowers was here in this gorgeous little swale. It was love at first sight and a turning point in my life. I was so taken by them that I decided to study botany in college.

 

Sierra Mountain Kingsnake

April 23, 2013 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

Dangerous snake? It sure is... if you are a lizard, nestling bird, or small mammal. If you are a human being, it is mostly harmless. The Sierra mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata multicincta), with its rings of white, orange, and black, has to be the most spectacularly colored snake in Yosemite. Some call it the coral kingsnake because of its somewhat similar appearance to the venomous coral snake. Fortunately for Yosemite visitors, the nearest wild coral snake lives in Arizona.

 

First Blooms of the 2013 Wildflower Season!

January 11, 2013 Posted by: Bob Roney

Every January the Merced Canyon opens the annual flower show with waterfall buttercups (Kumlienia hystriculus). These beauties live around wet areas where water continually drips or near waterfalls where they are kept fresh by spray.

 

What Causes Rockfall on Calm Days in Summer?

December 19, 2012 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

What causes rockfall on calm days in summer? When it rains and rocks fall we pretty much know that running water probably triggered it. Likewise we understand that earthquakes and the freezing and thawing of ice on cliffs can also trigger rockfall. However, there are other triggers that remain a mystery. Why is it that rocks also fall on perfectly calm summer afternoons with no apparent cause?

 

What's a Bird Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

October 10, 2012 Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison

On October 2, 2012, local naturalist Michael Ross spotted a bird he had never seen before, at least not in Yosemite. After careful observation he determined it was a gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis).

 

Did You Know?

Person hiking on a trail

This year, Yosemite Conservancy will provide over $9 million in annual support to Yosemite. This funding will restore trails and habitat, protect wildlife, support art & theater programs, and more. Join to become a Friend of Yosemite today. More...