Yosemite: Mariposa Grove

December 11th, 2011

Earlier this fall, we went on a family trip to Yosemite National Park in eastern California. We took a ton of photos while there, but I just haven’t had the time to process them until now. Since Yosemite is such a vast park, I hope to post these up separated by the area of the park from which I shot them.
Giant Sequoia at Mariposa Grove

We stayed in the south, so one of the closest sections of the park to our lodge was Mariposa Grove. Mariposa Grove is the section of the forest that features Giant Sequoias, as seen above. The Sequoias dwarf the surrounding redwoods and other evergreens.

Giant Sequoia at Mariposa Grove

The true size of these mammoth trees cannot be appreciated until you’re standing right beside one. Some of the swampy areas throughout the forest are full of horsetail (Equisetum sp.), sometimes fields of it.

Horsetail at Mariposa Grove

Wildlife could be witnessed throughout the forest, particularly several species of rodent seen scurrying through the underbrush carrying the cones of the evergreens towering above. Below, the chipmunk-sized Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel stopped to enjoy a treat among the pine needles.

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Above our heads, birds hopped from tree to tree, and frequently we’d hear the hammering of woodpeckers on bark. Most stayed too far up in the trees for me to get good pictures of, but I was able to sneak up on a Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) Woodpecker and enjoyed watching him scavenge for food.

Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) Woodpecker

Several mountain streams trickled throughout the forest, leaving many damp areas for marsh plants to grow. Of course, the shade provided by the tree wouldn’t allow lush undergrowth, but I did spot this plant growing in several places. I have no idea if it is an aquatic or not.

Plant Growing from Stream at Mariposa Grove

The trails at Mariposa Grove are not very extensive, but we very much enjoyed exploring the area. I found many of the normal attractions (hollowed out tree tunnels in particular) a little kitschy, but once we got away from those, the pleasant evergreen aroma, scurrying animals, and dwarfing sequoias made for an extremely tranquil walk in the woods.

Many more pictures from Marioposa Grove are below:

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