Velvet Blue - Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
Half Dome, one of Yosemite National Park’s most well known features, rises high in to a velvet blue star filled sky both reflecting in the Merced river that runs slowly through the nearly flat Yosemite Valley Floor. Theses giant cliffs were carved clean by the force of massive ice glaciers that flowed through Yosemite Valley during the last ice age. When the glaciers receded Yosemite Lake was formed by massive boulders that were dropped by the glacier forming a dam at the far end of Yosemite Valley. Over tens of thousands of years the Yosemite Lake slowly filled in with silt forming grassy meadows, some of which remain today. Over several thousand more years, most of the meadows slowly filled in with a lush green forest of pines, aspen and oak trees forming today’s Yosemite Valley floor. This small corner of the Merced river harkens back to the views that must have occurred nightly on the fresh clean glacier lake that formed after the last glacier slowly receded.
The glaciers and the large lake are now gone but this place is in a constant state of change. The powers of nature slowly wearing away the granite cliffs as the hard rock is slowly pealed back layer by layer by the forces of water and ice. A small lake known as Mirror Lake just under the face of Half Dome used to serve as a great reflecting pond has begun to fill in and turn to Mirror Meadow. During the wet season the pond returns for a short time. Fortunately this reflection will last a bit longer but even it will eventually change.