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East Side of Yosemite Choked with Smoke, but to the South it is Clear (Update: Fire Out)

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UPDATE August 16: the area is free of smoke and quite clear. Apparently it was a small fire high up in Lundy Canyon.

I drove up Hwy 395 from Bishop to Lee Vining. A brisk and cool front had cleared out the air to around June Lake the night prior. But Lee Vining Canyon / Hwy 120 / Yosemite east entrance are choked with smoke, as is Lundy Canyon. It’s so thick that the mountainside cannot even be seen from within the canyon. Not sure where I’m headed now as the stink is intolerable.

Another desk-ranger at the Lee Vining visitor center was 100% clueless, telling me that “there are 48 fires in California and it’s smoky everywhere, why does it matter?”. Which was nonsense as I had just seen and driven through 90 miles of clear air to the south just prior. The only thing worse than an idiot is an idiot who thinks he knows something.

Yet another desk-ranger at the Lee Vining visitor center was telling visitors how they’d have wonderful views of Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne Meadows, etc.

Heavy Smoke in Lee Vining Canyon area
f1.8 @ 1/3700 sec, ISO 20; 2017-08-14 13:46:19
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 63mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]

So much for my plans to shoot in the Conness wilderness and Tenaya Canyon areas. Even down here the acrid smoke was very unpleasant. I turned around and headed down to Rock Creek.

Heavy Smoke in Lee Vining Canyon
f2.8 @ 1/2100 sec, ISO 20; 2017-08-14 14:37:16
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 6.6mm f/2.8 @ 57mm equiv (6.6mm)

[low-res image for bot]

At least on August 14, the smoke from the Yosemite east / Lee Vining / Lundy area does not go much further south than June Lake. So go to Rock Creek and hike up here, it’s gorgeous. But bring mosquito repellant, because Mosquito Flat lives up to its billing. It is still spring in this area, with many flowers along the trail.

Sunset at Chickenfoot Lake
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 40; 2017-08-14 19:36:38
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]

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