CLEAR SKIES: You may be sitting near a California map at the moment, or perhaps you have access to one on your phone or computer. (We won't make assumptions, but we just bet that you do.) The fact is this: Our state is a big'n -- we all know this well -- and the epic mountain range found near its middle section is notably sprawling. So even though intuitively we understand this, we can see something like the Rim Fire, which continues to burn in Yosemite National Park, and feel as if all of the Sierra Nevada sit under a smoky cloud. That isn't the case, of course -- we know this, you know this -- and viewing live photos from other places proves it further. Beautiful current shots from Mammoth and June Lake and the southern end of the Sierra remind us that the mountains are not fully closed for business over the Labor Day holiday weekend. And that many mountain locals depend on visitors, especially over the big summer three-day weekends. (Note: New reports of smoke in Mammoth were made on Saturday, Aug. 31. Please check with your destination ahead of driving.)
SO... with that in mind, you don't have to postpone that higher elevation getaway. Just check in with the town you have in mind and make sure it is accessible and is reporting clear skies. Mammoth is doing just that, and the summer-sweet Bluegrass Festival is still on for the weekend. Likewise, this is final weekend of the year for the Devil's Postpile shuttle, which ends its run on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Yep, you can still access the stony wonder through early fall, but if you want an easy ride in, you'll need to hop on that over the Labor Day Weekend.
SUPPORT IN THE DAYS AHEAD... And when the Rim Fire is finally put to rest, there are those towns on the western side of Yosemite to revisit. Yes, Groveland, for sure, and all of the communities impacted. If you want to lend a hand now toward restoring national park trails and habitats, you can: Yosemite Conservancy has established the Yosemite Restoration Fund.