Dogwoods in the Valley

May 1, 2013
Yosemite Valley

My husband and I refer to his days off from work as his “four-day” because that’s how many he gets.  This “four-day” we drove to Yosemite Valley to see the dogwood trees.  Native Americans used the dogwoods to make daggers, arrow shafts and baskets, as well as dye from the roots of the trees.

Our first stop was at Fern Spring, just over the Pohono Bridge on Southside Drive.  Fern Spring, shaded by one large dogwood among other trees, continues flowing even during the driest summers.

Although many will drink the water here, it's unadvised to do so.
Although many drink the water, it’s unadvised to do so.

We stopped at Sentinel Meadow and were awed by the towering granite walls surrounding the valley.   No matter how many times we visit Yosemite, we are still moved by this great beauty.  John Muir says it best:  “[T]he far-famed valley came suddenly into view throughout almost its whole extent: the noble walls, sculptured into endless variety of domes and gables, spires and battlements and plain mural precipices, all a-tremble with the thunder tones of the falling water. The level bottom seemed to be dressed like a garden, sunny meadows here and there and groves of pine and oak, the river of Mercy sweeping in majesty through the midst of them and flashing back the sunbeams.”

Walking through Sentinel Meadow.
Walking through Sentinel Meadow.

We walked the narrow path of trodden grass through the marshy meadow down to the Merced River.  From there we viewed upper Yosemite Falls in all its glory.

Upper Yosemite Falls from the meadow.
Upper Yosemite Falls from the meadow.

At the Yosemite Chapel (built in 1879) located across the street, we kneeled and prayed together for a moment.

Yosemite Falls and Sentinel Bridge in the distance.
Sentinel Bridge in the distance.

Next, we ventured over to Curry Village where the abundant dogwoods were filled with fragrant white blooms.

Looking up.
Looking up.

We stopped to eat pizza and the young bartender told us about the only pink dogwood in all of Yosemite Valley.  It is located on Executive Row in the President’s yard (the president of DNC–the concessionaire of YNP) whose wife requested the house because of that dogwood.  As we drove out, we looked for it but didn’t find it.

The blooms of the tree were too high.  Chris pulled one down for me to see.
The blooms of the tree were too high. Chris pulled one down for me to see.

Lastly, we stopped at Cascade Falls and walked among the giant boulders through the rugged canyon to watch as the water plunged 500 feet and made its way to the Merced River.

Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls

It’s nice to know that Yosemite, the dogwoods and the waterfalls are there, in all their splendor and glory, until next four-day….

13 thoughts on “Dogwoods in the Valley

  1. You have us all sighing, Janet, wishing we were hiking along with you… By the way, have you read the book “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed about hiking the PCT? I just finished it yesterday and have a sudden urge to do a hiking pilgrimage, although it probably won’t happen…


  2. For some reason, there isn’t much dogwood in Chicago, though it does grow in the wild on the other side of the Lake. I enjoyed your pictures of the blossoms. And I like the redesign of your blog, by the way.


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