Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let the Fire Fall!!!

With the heat cranked up on high, I tore off my wet boots. The sun is starting to set, the temperature is dropping, so I started to get comfortable for the drive back to the hotel which would take some time. Making basic conversation and plugging my phone into the charger so I could flip though the pictures I had taken during the earlier part of the day, I look up to see a bunch of people standing in a meadow for no reason. "Ashley!!! People standing in a meadow for no reason with cameras!" I scream. She looks over and sees what I am talking about, slams on the breaks, and whips the car into any make shift parking spot she can work with. Once again we are hopping out of the car like we were 6 years old and at Disney World, running across the street not even thinking to look to see if cars were coming.

Running in to the middle of the field we look up to see the one thing we came all this way for.... Horsetail Fall. This seasonal waterfall, only appears when the conditions are right. Hard to see during the day due to the lack of water that streams from it. However, during the last two weeks of February when the snow starts to melt, the sky is clear and the sun sets. You get this amazing once in a life time opportunity to see the magic that happens. Well that is unless you are a Ranger for Yosemite, and you just got it like that. 

Through the trees we see the faint orange glow of the sunset bouncing off the water descending in two streams side by side from the top of 1,540 feet of solid granite rock. A sight you have never seen before. But I was not impressed with the view I had been given, and where all these photographers had decided to stay to get sight of this natural phenomeon. So I decided to go and find a clearer view. I started running. I had no idea how long this thing would last, so time was an issue for me. I ran far, stopping trying to see if I could see it a little more then my original position. I could have just been running and never found a better place then my original spot, and just been wasting time. I found a photographer off on his own deeper into the field. The location I was did not have much snow cover, but in some areas like around him, there was some that was still solid on the ground. Yet the area still was not for my liking. I continued to run further until I found a couple with a tripod in an area a little more clear. Not as much obstruction from the trees. 

Snapping a few photos, I realized that Ashley had stayed back at the original spot. I ran back, and yell her name out of breath. Kind of afraid that more people would follow and steal my secret. She starts to come my way, and I sprint ahead once more. She is exhausted so she just quickly follows, as a couple follows behind her as well. I get to the spot where the photographer was in the middle of the field. Where the nice patch of snow was. Running through I slip and fall, sliding on my hands and knees. I don't think twice bounce up and continue to sprint ahead. Finally I get to the area where the couple was with the tripod. Ashley and the couple are not far behind. By this time the sun had set just a little bit deeper and the fall was just a little bit more orange. 

It was a sight you don't see everyday. The "fire fall" was a featured story on and all over the news. It was kind of amazing, that no one really had heard of this natural phenomena, yet they have. Ashely nor I had heard of it before, which made sense. Yet we go, see this fall, and then it was like everyone was suddenly talking about it like this was the first time it had ever happened before. But clearly it has happened before because there are previous photographs of it.

There was an old tradition in the summer time of 1872-1968 where at the top of Glacier Point. Every night burning hot embers were dropped from about 3,000 feet. Since they dumped the embers simultaneously the embers resembled a glowing waterfall. The national park ordered the fire fall to be discontinued do to a rising number of visitors. The hotel that was at the top of Glacier Point ended up burning down and was never rebuilt. Makes me wonder if they did this to mimic Horsetail since it only happened in the early spring. 

In 1973 the first color photograph was taken of Horsetail fall. Many people continue to come back year after year to try to capture this breathtaking event. It has nothing to do with the photographer, only on the weather and your own personal luck. Unfortunately you can not guarantee that you see this. It may be years before it appears again. But that does not stop people from coming back. 

I got what I had asked for. To see this rare event, that I had not even known about except two weeks prior to the trip out here. I must be doing something right, because sometimes my luck seems a little too amazing for my own good. But I'm not complaining. I am just going to keep doing what I am doing in hopes it will continue. 

Yosemite Fire Fall -- Here is a link to a great little video to check out about the fire falls -- both natural and man made. 

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