To blink at the precise time on Tioga Road might mean missing Siesta Lake in Yosemite's High Sierra.
From Olmsted Point, the drive continues west and passes the junction to White Wolf before driving past a small unsigned turnout along the south side of Tioga Road. There seems to be no apparent reason for the turnout but a few seconds later, a glance to the left makes the reason immediately apparent why the turnout is there and a hasty u-turn returns to explore tiny Siesta Lake.
To call it a lake seems like a bit of a stretch. Siesta Lake is more a swamp with a pond in the middle. The tiny lake is also undeniably beautiful and begs to be explored by navigating the intermittent and often wet trail around Siesta Lake's periphery.
The reflective, still water creates captivating images of fresh, natural form within the silence of fragrant, evergreen, treed borders. Tiny insects flirt with the tension of the water's surface and well-hidden birds pleasantly interrupt the silence. This is a very beautiful place where it is overwhelmingly tempting to sit, relax and bond with the natural perfection and simplicity.
There is insufficient time to fully appreciate the experience of Siesta Lake. Both the Yosemite National Park Service Map and the more detailed National Geographical Yosemite Trails Illustrated Topographical Map indicate a smaller lake a short distance further south but time prevents further exploration beyond the Tioga Roadside attraction. There is still a lot of driving to do.
Continuing west on Tioga Road to Crane Flat, then south past beautiful Hodgdon Meadow leads to the twisting, turning and historically significant Big Oak Flat Road which descends towards the entrance to Yosemite Valley. The valley is hazy with smoke from prescribed burns.