Yosemite Day 1

Today I took off for what has become an annual winter trip to Yosemite National Park.

We just had a rough (at least for California) winter storm come through, however it was breaking and the weather should be great in the park. I awoke to rain and clouds in my San Jose home. I guess the storm was clearing a little late! As I made my way down 101 to Hwy 152 and over Pacheco pass, the scenery was unusually spectacular as the clearing skies were highlighting the emerald green of California hills this time of year. I probably could have just stopped and painted here for the day…but I would have to save that for another time. Going over 152 and Pacheco Pass, clouds and fog were hanging in all the California hill valleys. As soon as I got over the pass, suddenly it was instant sunshine. The entire central valley of California was clear!

On to Yosemite. The weather had backed up against the Sierras a little, but clearing. After some traffic delays, I finally got to Yosemite Valley. It was wonderful. A foot of snow was everywhere, and the plows were still out clearing roads and trails.

I wanted to do a painting prior to checking into Yosemite Lodge. With the new snow, there were not a lot of places to pull off and find a place to work. I also was not in my winter boots yet, so looked for an easy place. I settled on Sentinel Bridge, which is one of the most famous picture points at Yosemite. Half Dome looms over the Merced River, sometimes casting an exact image in the water. Winter water seems to be darker, though, and today was no exception. I spent about 90 minutes working until it was about time to pack it in.

Here is the view from Sentinel Bridge:

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A not so good snapshot of my painting–

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After checking into the lodge, a shower, and a good meal at the Mountain Room (the baked trout was great) it was time to retire and relax.

Yosemite Bound

I am off to Yosemite Park tomorrow for a couple days of painting. As usual, I received a special coupon where I stay one night free for every night paid. It should be great as a large storm front just passed through and there should be plenty of sun and snow. Last year I went around this time and ran into Scott Burdick. If I can post to the blog during the trip, I will, but otherwise will post when I get back. Below is a painting I did last year.

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