Yosemite National Park’s Black Elm Tree, Cook’s Meadow

Yosemite National Park’s Black Elm Tree, Cook’s Meadow

Yosemite National Park’s Black Elm Tree, Cook’s Meadow. As you enter  the Park from either entrance, you come upon the loop called Cook’s Meadow.  You may first see Yosemite Falls, at 2425′ the tallest in North America.  The 3 mile loop around Cook’s Meadow can be accessed by foot, car, or Yosemite’s free transportation.  I headed out on foot with my camera and tripod.  It had snowed the night before.

Cook Meadows is one of the few meadows at 4000′ elevation. It is located at the very end of Yosemite Valley.  Glacier Point is on one side, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls on another side, and Yosemite Village on a third side.

When the valley was settled by white men in the late 1800s, they built a town on Cook meadows, with Ford model T s parked diagonally next to stores alongside the dirt road. Later they moved the town over to the edge of the valley, and used Cook Meadows as a land fill. Eventually Cook Meadows became a campground for tourists in the 20th century.

The area was trampled over quite a bit, as there were no trails built until much later.

In the 1997-1998 El Nino year, the Yosemite Valley and Cook Meadows were flooded by the overflowing Merced river. Afterwards, the Meadows was dug up, and the garbage from the landfill removed, so that the Meadows would have a natural drainage for rising waters. Camping was banned, wooden boardwalks added, and the Meadows restored to its former luster.

The Black Elm Tree stands proudly in Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite. It has stood proudly as a testament to time.  I have watched it grow for the last 64 years.  It is double the size that it was when I first started to visit the park.  It’s leaves change color with each passing season. Late fall brings a beautiful display of orange leaves.

For more information go to https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm



silver-star Portland Metropolitan Photographers Association Merit Sept. 2013

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