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Autumnal Equinox Rolls in With a Bad Attitude

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I got up at 4 AM to drive to the eastern side of Yosemite, but as it turned out, I had both good luck and bad luck. The good luck was the coldest and heaviest snow I’ve ever seen this early, the bad luck was having to wait 2.5 hours for Tioga Pass Rd to open. NPS made everyone wait until the road was almost totally dry (!), while they lied to everyone parked and waiting “being plowed” (I heard this repeatedly), the same sort of stunt they pulled back in 2010—blatant lies then (see the newspaper writeup), though slightly more truthful today as there were a few inches of snow on the road and about 5 inches near the pass. Unlike CalTrans, a 4WD with snow tires is the same as a Toyota Camry with bald street tires to the NPS, as far as being allowed to go through. I won’t cut those jokers any slack, because I’m unaware of any time they have every done right by visitors or the people who live across the pas, nor do rangers have any sense that wild means weather too—the best days they shut out visitors (snowstorms are terrific). I've been visiting there for 35 years and it is increasingly anti-visitor IMO. But at least the younger employees (with no say in such matters) do smile and are cheerful, making the best of a crummy policy.

Once the parade started, I was rewarded with some gorgeous views, and when I reached the eastern gate I decided to hike up Dana Canyon. But having been delayed too long and the snow too deep, I only made it half way up; I had slipped a few times too—when that happens I remind myself of how broken ankle could mean freezing to death... and I had forgotten to take my gaiters and being totally alone and it being about 22°F with 8 inches of snow at 10,800', I shot what I could and headed back down, whereupon it began to snow heavily again.

Exceptional Snow on the Autumnal Equinox, about 9800' elevation
f5 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 64; 2017-09-21 16:11:05
NIKON D810 + 8.0-15.0 mm f/3.5-4.5 @ 15mm

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