As temperatures dip into the twenties at night, hundreds of American black bears in the park are reaching the end of the stage known as hyperphagia, and are entering their fall transition phase before they descend into hibernation. During hyperphagia, bears strive to eat up to 20,000 calories per day (the equivalent of about fifty-seven hamburgers), consuming berries, insects, sugar pine nuts, and acorns, as well as anything else they can get their paws on. When food availability drops off, bears enter into a fall transition phase, tapering off on their massive calorie intake, and slowing their movements as they search for a warm, dry hollow (maybe under some tree-roots, or in a cranny in a talus field) where they will be safe and warm for the cold winter months. This bear was filling his belly with grapes! (Photo taken through binoculars; never approach wildlife to get a good photo!)
Working to protect resources globally and locally, Yosemite will become the first National Park to begin the transition of our public transportation over to zero-emission buses. National parks represent a unique opportunity to lead by example, in conservation of natural resources and demonstrating sustainable practices. “Since its establishment in 1890, airborne pollutants have steadily degraded Yosemite’s resources. Deploying Proterra’s battery-electric buses will help with this ongoing challenge and will greatly improve local air quality.” — Chip Jenkins, acting superintendent, Yosemite National Park.
The full moon two weekends ago lit up Yosemite Falls, as well as the snow and ice accumulated on the shelves and cracks to the east of the plume of water and light. When the moon is bright over Yosemite, you often don't even need to turn on your headlamp to walk the trails: moonlight reflects off of the granite cliffs and illuminates the valley for those awake and outside to see it.
Check out this burly wood!! Burls are a type of abnormal wood growth that create knobs and protrusions on the trunks and branches of trees. Burls are valued across the world for their commercial value in creating unique wood products, but, in national parks, their value is aesthetic and ecological. These burls are on the trunk of a fallen black oak tree, a tree which provides critical wildlife habitat in the Sierra Nevada for species like Pacific fishers, as well as providing the primary source of calories in the fall (through acorns) for many wildlife species including our beloved black bears. #invaluable
Color is a striking property of both nature and the man-made environment, caused by light refracting off of (and being absorbed by) objects and surfaces. Most colorful things in nature are colorful for a reason! For some insects and amphibians, bright colors can say "I'm poisonous" to predators. Birds are often brightly colored to attract the attention of potential mates. Flowers can be colorful to attract pollinators. Designers and photographers, too, use color intentionally to make people think or act a certain way. It has been postulated that red and yellow can make people hungry. Complementary colors (two colors opposite each other on the color wheel, used together) can draw people's eyes to a photo or a piece of artwork without knowing why. . What unnoticed impacts might color be having on your brain?
Yosemite is quiet, but far from silent. Find a still place to sit and listen, and a soft hum will begin to fill your ears: Thousands of gallons of water rushing over stone and sand; small creatures moving through the grass and soil, empathically gathering seeds and mushrooms for their young; dry leaves shifting against each other in currents of cool air; the hoof-steps of a mule deer and her fawns, shuffling through oak leaves searching for acorns to eat; ravens and songbirds calling to each other from far away. This soundscape is one of our most cherished resources, that we strive to protect to the greatest extent possible for those who chose to listen. Learn how Yosemite is protecting our soundscape: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/soundscape.htm
Reflection. --- Experiences in Yosemite are frequently transformative. The wild, empowering stillness of Yosemite can provide space to reflect upon ones place in the world. Even after leaving the park, reflecting on experiences created here can be as important as the experiences themselves. --- Has reflection in / on Yosemite changed your worldview?
There are magnificent happenings, miraculous moments in time, surrounding us on all sides at every instant; if we chose to open our eyes and see them. From the grand vistas that hold timeless and obvious aesthetic power, to the minutia we might experience by stooping down and examining any part of the world slightly more closely.
We asked you two weeks ago: If it was your job to tell the world why Yosemite is important, what would you say? This is what you said. --- Links to original posts: https://www.instagram.com/p/BbsPYfNAMaW/?taken-by=yosemitenps https://www.facebook.com/YosemiteNPS/photos/a.156902234358067.26538.138795446168746/1504534859594791 . . @neonjackie229 (Instagram commenter): It's the way the forest gets dark first but I can look up at the granite walls and see the disappearing golden sunlight. It's the cold wind of Tuolumne Meadows that blows on my face as I drive through the park at dusk. It's the bighorn sheep that I've never seen but know are there. It's the red rocks at Mono Pass, and it's smell of campfire on my clothes. But that's just me I guess. . . @christian_cattell (Instagram commenter): If I could tell the whole entire world why Yosemite is important in one singular statement, I would tell all those that are listening that it's important because it is a demonstration of what happens when the planet is left alone to do it's unadulterated thing. The natural and unique features here inspire two very human traits: exploration and adventure. What always has been and always will be has driven powerfully-souled humans to continuously and vigorously rewrite the word "impossible," routinely altering the potential of what any singular person is capable of. . . @mmmmmpickles (Instagram commenter): When hope is lost there is a place to go and find it again. It is there in her granite and on her trails. It spills over in waterfalls and glitters in the snow. Yosemite has moved us for generations and will continue to do so for as long as we allow ourselves to be in awe of her majesty. . . Jon-Michael Rosenfeld (Facebook commenter): It's the perfect outside terrarium that shows both the negative and positive impact we as humans have on our environment. You learn; it is a privilege to contribute to this planet, how you choose to apply that contribution depends entirely on how you see it. Yosemite National Park is the perfect example of people who thought to contribute something great for future generations to enjoy and learn from.