As you can see in this photo, Mirror Lake was full of water (and like a mirror) a few days ago. This is unusual – in part it is true because of the time of year (spring), and in part because it is one of the most wet years on record in California and the Sierra.
Most times you go to visit Mirror Lake (and it’s a gentle one mile walk from the Yosemite Valley shuttle bus stop) you’ll find a sandy basin, and no lake it all. This was my experience when I visited with Julian at the end of last summer.
Mirror Lake was a stop on the great tour of Yosemite around the turn of the century when tourism of the rugged West was still somewhat novel. They had a hotel, boat houses, and (in the winter) ice skating. The lake, however, was artificial, and it took more and more dredging to keep it a lake. When the Park Service stopped keeping it artificially moist in the middle of the last centruy, it began reverting to its natural state: very seasonal and mostly dry.
My photo echoes views made by great 19th century photographers and painters of Yosemite (Mirror Lake was a favorite view).
Thanks to Phyllis for post-processing this photo.