October 21, 2015
It was another beautiful Yosemite morning. I walked out the door onto my sandy lawn to get things started. I grabbed my bike to head over to the office and that’s when I saw… the body. Smooshed on the shoulder of the road was a snake-like yet flattened form. Closer inspection revealed little legs sticking out the side. I assumed it used to have a tail, though the animal must have lost it in some other battle. What was this creature? Being from Wisconsin originally, I’m not exactly from lizard country, so I’ve always been fascinated by them and this was a different specimen than anything I’d ever seen. After a few moments, I was back on my bike and headed for my usual daily adventures. Going about my day, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What was that? Maybe it was an escaped pet of sorts? Ranger naturalists are naturally curious people, and I decided to do a little bit more investigating.
November 05, 2013
Red-tailed hawks are top predators. In the words of author Pete Dunne, “...anything readily available and catchable is an odds-on favorite to become prey. Any furred, feathered, or scaled creature that is smaller than a groundhog and turns its back on a meal-minded red-tailed hawk might safely be said to be courting a shortcut toward the cosmic.” Dunne’s poetic description does not exaggerate.
August 16, 2013
When you hear the word “Yosemite,” you may immediately think of Half Dome, El Capitan, wildflowers in Tuolumne Meadows, and blue alpine lakes. But on the western side of the park, roughly 2,000 feet in elevation below the towering El Capitan of Yosemite Valley, lies El Portal, home to park administration buildings, and a plethora of plants well suited to a dry, and hot life.
June 14, 2013
Even though the dogwood flowers have faded away by now, there are plenty more plants ready to continue the show as they begin to bloom throughout the park. A drive along the Tioga Road reveals more than the epic scenery of the high country.
April 05, 2013
Visitors over the past two weeks may have been struck by the brilliant pinky-purple flowers of the western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) tree on their drive to the park.