June 27, 2014
Total distance: 4.6 miles
When I was a child, exploring didn’t mean hiking on a trail in Yosemite. It meant walking with eyes wide open through our manicured backyard after Mass on Sundays. Enraptured by nature, I would finger the leaves of the bushes, cradle the berries, hunt for spider webs, and inspect the grass for bugs. The memories of that young inquisitive soul were awakened as I walked the trail to Westfall Meadows in Yosemite National Park.
Leaving behind the noise of Glacier Point Road, I entered the shadowy forest. Pink pussypaws growing in the sand brightened the way. The scent of cinnamon drifted through the breeze. The fragrant air was filled with whistling birds.
Slowly meandering along the path, I explored and eagerly looked for wildflowers.
Indian paintbrush and western bistort were spread prolifically and easy to spot.
Less prevalent were the blossoms that were closed until the sun filtered through the giant pine trees, unfurling their petals.
While looking, I spied a bird’s nest tucked into the branches of a bush.
Later, a giant multicolored rock caught my attention.
Along the way, I realized that many of the trees possessed a unique beauty.
I saw a tree whose bark I thought had been clawed by a bear. No other trunk in the vicinity appeared to have these marks.
The defined route ended and a faint trail commenced through the delicate meadow.
The path led to a stream with several logs placed neatly across the water.
Some areas in the meadow had a distinct wetland odor.
A dense stand of corn lily plants grew at the meadow’s edge. Walking towards them through the marshy grass, I found flowers that were new to me.
Retracing my steps, I headed back and crossed the street to the McGurk Meadow trail.
Each year I visit McGurk Meadow to see the wildflowers. Unlike the deserted and unmarked trail of Westfall Meadows, this trail is well-used. I walked to the end of the meadow admiring this year’s flowers, passing many people along the way.
These are the other flowers I saw while exploring. Many of them you will recognize since I post them often; they seem to pop up all over:
I am blessed to be able to explore nature on the trails of Yosemite, and to experience a profound sense of wonder on every trail or even in my own backyard.