Visiting S-W USA next year : tips and recommendations?

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
skysurfer5 Regular Member • Posts: 366
Re: Visiting S-W USA next year : tips and recommendations?


I second the many recommendations for Yosemite.  Yosemite is my favorite national park.  It's actually a tie with Yellowstone, but since I live only 90 miles from Yosemite Valley I get to visit Yosemite a lot more often.

The waterfalls usually peak late-May to mid-June, but should still be running nicely when you visit in July.  In addition, the high country roads (i.e. Glacier Point and Tioga) will almost certainly be open by July.

Over the years, I have posted a lot of information about Yosemite for members of the Oly DSLR forum.  Here are links to some of the those posts with information you may find useful. Some of the information is travel-related and some is photo-related.

In addition, if you happen to be in Yosemite on a Friday or Saturday evening, I suggest getting yourself up to Glacier Point.  The first thing to do it watch the alpinglow during sunset.  It's magical.  The second thing to do is to stay after dark for the astronomy program.  Every summer weekend from the time Glacier Point Road opens until the Labor Day Holiday (Labor Day in the US is the first Monday in September) there will be one or two astronomy clubs at the Glacier Point Amphitheater with telescopes to show the tourists the sights in the night sky.  Our club (Central Valley Astronomers, gets one weekend each summer, but we won't know which weekend for 2013 until February or March next year.  The rangers first organized the Glacier Point Star Party in the mid 1970s.  I have made each year but one since 2001.

A typical star party will have 8 to 20+ telescopes ranging in size from 4" to 24" (it depends on the club) and 100 to 500 tourists (it depends on the weekend and the moon phase).  We prefer a new moon weekend because the moon washes out the fainter nebulas and galaxies.  The planets and star clusters and the brightest nebulas are fine with a moon.  Of course, if the moon is out, its usually the first thing people want to see.

I also know quite a bit about Sequoia and Kings Canyon, so if you want info about them just ask.  I just haven't posted much about them here.

There are several people in the Oly DSLR forum who I know are from California and who visit Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon often.  You might want to sound some of them out also.  Heck, some of us might be willing to play tour guide if schedules permit.

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