I took my Wednesday Walk on Thursday, March 19, last week and hiked the trail up from the Wawona Tunnel up to Artist’s Point and then on along the ridge on the Pohono Trail visiting the original Old inspiration Point, as well as Stanford, Crocker, and Dewey Points. It was a breezy beautiful day and the Valley glowed in the cool spring sunshine.
I expected more birds, but perhaps they were staying in the sun, as the south ridge was still in cool, dark shadow. Reaching the area of Old Inspiration Point, though, I heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl calling from an old sugar pine near the trail. I stopped to listen and he kept calling, undeterred by my presence. I hear them around my house too, at a lower elevation, and have seen them several times. They seem very confident in their ability to remain unseen, as they let me approach within a few yards before they fly. I didn’t even try to see this one. I moved on along the trail, hearing his calls receding in the distance.
I had lunch at Crocker Point and then hiked on up to Dewey Point for views of the Clark Range and the High Sierra. Some snow remained on the higher peaks and snow still covered Horizon Ridge and Mount Hoffman, although I’ve heard the coverage is only 16% of normal.
The real treat of the hike came on the way back when I saw something I’ve never seen before. I stopped at Old Inspiration Point (the upper one, not the one designated by the trail sign) for a snack. It was about 3 pm and the sun slanted toward the horizon. Looking across at El Capitan I noticed a flickering of color in the chimney slot in which Ribbon Fall tumbles. Ribbon Fall is the longest single fall waterfall in North America–when there is water. I hadn’t seen it on my hike up the trail, so I assumed there wasn’t enough snow melt for Ribbon Creek to even be flowing. As I watched, though, I saw some white spray being blown by the wind up through the chimney and a rainbow appeared filling the slot. The sun must have been at just the right angle to illuminate the inside of the chimney and catch the spray. The rainbow display continued for about another ten minutes and then started to fade.
It was one time I wished I had a good camera with a telephoto lens, but I took several shots with my iPhone. Every time I hike, even an old familiar trail like that one, I see something new. I have a friend who doesn’t like to hike the same trails over and over, but I do. It’s like visiting with an old friend–there’s always something new hidden in the familiar.