Last Month in Yosemite: August 2017

Last Month in Yosemite: August 2017

A summer day in Tuolumne Meadows, with a view of the Tuolumne River and Lembert Dome. Photo: © Gretchen Roecker

A monthly recap of what we saw, heard and did in the park. Here's what happened in August...


A group of Outdoor Adventurers spent an August day exploring the Gaylor Lakes area with guide Dan Webster. Photo: © Robert McDuff Summer summits

'Tis the season for adventure! Our guides embraced summer's long-awaited arrival in the high country by leading backpacking trips to stunning peaks and passes, including a trek to the slopes of Mount Lyell, Yosemite's highest peak. Other guided Outdoor Adventures on our August calendar included a series of day hikes off Tioga Road, several expeditions to the top of Half Dome, and an evening program at Taft Point, high above the Valley floor. 

Have you participated in one of our guided hikes, backpacking trips or other programs? Share your photos from the experience in our new Outdoor Adventures Flickr group.


Conservancy naturalist Pete Devine with a group of donors at their day-hike destination: Elizabeth Lake. Photo: © Yosemite Conservancy/Caitlin AllardCelebrating supporters

In mid-August, we welcomed members of our John Muir Heritage Society to the high country for the Conservancy's annual Tuolumne Meadows Weekend. Participants enjoyed plenty of fresh air (including on a day hike to Elizabeth Lake with our resident naturalist) while learning about the difference donors make in the park. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the weekend! Check out our donor events calendar to see what other activities are on the horizon, and learn more about the many ways you can support Yosemite.


Yosemite Conservancy volunteer Dyane spent part of August stationed at Olmsted Point, answering visitor questions and helping people peer toward Half Dome through a telescope.Tioga tour

Midway through the month, one of our team members brought her family on their first official visit to Yosemite's high country. During a day along Tioga Road, they...

  • stopped by Olmsted Point to chat with a Conservancy volunteer, who was helping visitors peer through a telescope to spot hikers on Half Dome;
  • checked out the east end of Tenaya Lake, where grant-funded restoration work is clearly visible in a boardwalk, bridge, and rebounding beach habitat;
  • watched the Tuolumne River flowing mesmerizingly through the meadows (above); 
  • used the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada to identify wildflowers along the Mount Dana Trail.  

Key takeaway: You can see a lot in one day in Yosemite, but take your time on the trails if you're not adjusted to the altitude!


Founders Day festivities

California red-legged frogs head-started at the San Francisco Zoo were released in Yosemite Valley on National Park Service Founders Day. Photo: © Yosemite Conservancy/Ryan Kelly The National Park Service turned 101 on August 25, and Yosemite celebrated in fine fashion by ... releasing 50 California red-legged frogs in Yosemite Valley.

Early that morning, a team had taken the frogs from a special rearing facility at the San Francisco Zoo and driven them from the coast to the park. Once in Yosemite, the zoo team transferred the frogs into individual plastic containers, and local schoolchildren got to open the lids to let the amphibians out into their new home. Until last year, the frogs had been absent from Yosemite for nearly half a century; thanks to your support, biologists are carefully bringing them back.

Back at the office, we also marked the occasion by answering the National Park Foundation's call for park-themed haikus. We shared a couple of our 5-7-5 syllabbic stylings on social media, but here are some highlights:


Once upon a time ...

... there was a partial eclipse over Yosemite!

While the park wasn't on the path of totality, the sun and moon still put on a spectacular show for those with the proper viewing equipment, and sky-watchers of all ages got in on the fun.

Volunteers and visitors viewing the partial eclipse with special glasses (left) and DIY pinhole viewers from the Yosemite Art Center. Photos: © Kathleen Keller (left), © Yosemite Conservancy/Samantha Welsh (right)

Coming up on our calendars: another month of theater and art in the park, including a special clay class for kids; weekend workshops with Julia Parker; and the official start of fall. We still have a couple of weeks to go until the autumn equinox, but in the meantime, here's a little inspiration for the impending seasonal shift...

In autumn the sighing of the winds is softer than ever, the gentle ah-ah-ing filling the sky with a fine universal mist of music, the birds have little to say, and there is no appreciable stir or rustling among the trees save that caused by the harvesting squirrels. — John Muir, in Our National Parks (1901)

See you in the park, and thanks for reading!

Yosemite Insider