Yosemite Valley Trivia

The California Spanish explorers encountered a free flowing river coming down from the Sierra into the Central Valley. It fed the growing agricultural needs of the population. They named this river for Mary, “Our Lady of Mercy.” We now call it the Merced  . . . the same river that hugs the John Muir Trail as we hike Half Dome.

In the early years of the park the river often flooded. Early settlers, led by Galen Clark, dynamited the glacial moraine at the Valley entrance near El Cap / Bridalveil Fall, lowering the water table. Water was used by the grazing livestock. Closer to Yosemite Falls, the Yosemite C reek was diverted east a bit to power a sawmill that Muir worked at. He even lived in a hut attached to it. Check out this photo of Muir’s “hangnest.” When you stroll near Yosemite Falls, you can see where we think it was  located. Water does not flow by there today.

 NEWS: A late Friday night fire destroyed a VERY old building in Mariposa. Gone in the blaze are the Mariposa Pizza Factory, Pony Expresso Coffee House & Trading Post, Tracy’s Yarns, Larry’s Coins, Grace Notes Chimes, Mariposa County Arts Council and Windows on the World Bookstore. I’ve blogged about how great the Pony Expresso and the Bookstore were. I know the owners and this is tragic. The cause is not known but smoke was first seen coming out of the attic of the pizza parlor just before 9 pm. The building at Hwy 140 and 5th Ave is made of over 100 year old wood and went up fast. Damage is estimated at over $1M. No one was hurt. Sad, very sad.

The now former Pony Expresso

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You better stop; Look round. Here it comes, here comes your 19th nervous breakdown.” – Rolling Stones 

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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2 Responses to Yosemite Valley Trivia

  1. Maureen L says:


    thanks for the fast news on the Mariposa fire. do you think those businesses will be able to rebuild?

    also, I think it was Yosemite Creek that was diverted for the sawmill, not the Merced herself. remember that Muir claimed he only sawed up downed trees for Hutchings. (although downed trees continue to contribute to the ecological community.)

    if you walk the trail to Lower Yosemite Falls in the counter-clockwise direction, starting from a bit to the east of the bus shelter, there’s a side trail to the Galen Clark bench and the site where Muir built a cabin with the creek running through it. it’s called Falls View, I think. there’s a plaque there dedicated to Muir by social workers.

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:

      Dang it…you’re right. I just changed it. Can you proof my posts?? Low pay – high respect.

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