High Country Water, Flowers, and Mosquitos

Spreading phlox in the Yosemite high country
Spreading phlox in the Yosemite high country

My wife Claudia and I spent Fourth of July weekend in the Yosemite High Country, scouting for my upcoming Hidden Yosemite workshop. There’s still plenty of water flowing in the creeks and rivers, and some big reflecting ponds remain in the west end of the main Tuolumne Meadow. Some flowers have appeared, like the spreading phlox shown here, penstemon along the side of the Tioga Pass Road between Yosemite Creek and Olmsted Point, and a few patches of shooting stars in damp meadows. I’m sure more flowers will be blooming soon. It promises to be a good wildflower year in the high country, but the peak probably won’t arrive until at least early August.

My nickname for shooting stars is “mosquito flowers,” because they grow in boggy areas and always seem to blossom at the same time as the mosquitos. Just the sight of shooting stars makes me itchy. And sure enough, the mosquitos were out, but we didn’t encounter any maddening, intolerable swarms. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping that these little pests won’t be too bad this year, but it’s probably just a little too early for them at the higher elevations. But even clouds of mosquitos won’t keep me away—the high country is just too beautiful to miss.

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