Yosemite Firefall Shows up in a Rare Time With Its Breathtaking Beauty

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Yosemite Firefall Shows up in a Rare Time With Its Breathtaking Beauty
PHOTOGRAPH: Wikimedia |

Nature really has some ways of flaunting its beauty in rare times. Fortunately, photographers have captured the one-of-a-kind phenomenon of the Yosemite Firefall which only happens when the conditions are right.

Flowing Lava of Yosemite

Some wonderful things only happen at the right place and at the right time. That could be said of the molten lava flowing from a fall found on the eastern side of El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park, California.

Actually, it is not molten rocks expelled from volcanoes during eruptions. It is instead real water flowing from Horsetail Fall. What makes it appear glowing and burning is the unusual moment when the setting sun illuminates the waterfall at a perfect angle for a few days which only happens in February.

Moreover, water is not always flowing from the seasonal waterfall. Thus, there is no assurance that the flaming fall would happen each year in Horsetail Fall.

This makes the moment extra special for many photographers who travel to the area despite the challenging road conditions. Ray Lee, a photographer who captured the Yosemite Firefall this year, shared on his social media account how the trip almost did not happen because many roads were closed to due mudslides.

The Firefall From the Glacier Point

Camp Curry in Yosemite FirefallJenny Dabon | CitizenOracle

A 1921 advertisement for Camp Curry featured the Firefall and the voice of the Stentor.

The “Firefall” actually got its name from a manmade Firefall that once occurred in Yosemite. In 1872, real burning hot embers were spilled from the top of the Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park to the valley 3,000 feet below.

History has it that David Curry, founder of the camp, would yell “Let the fire fall!” as he stood at the fall’s base each night to kick off the start of spilling embers. This tradition which was held by the owners of the Glacier Hotel for over a century for seven nights each year as a splashing ending to Camp Curry for seven nights every year.

Many people would travel to witness the flowing Firefall causing heavy traffic in the campgrounds. During World War II, the National Park Service (NPS) stopped the tradition since it was an unnatural event in the natural area. It returned, however, after a war for two decades.

The ceremony eventually ended permanently in 1968 after NPS once again, and permanently this time, discontinued. The reasons stated was that the manmade event deviated from the natural park’s policy for natural wonders. George Hertzog, NPS’ director at the time, said people could go to Disneyland to witness such spectacle.

After 18 months, the hotel was destroyed by an electrical fire. While the Firefall and the hotel now only live in memories, the Yosemite Firefall is a natural phenomenon that can be witnessed with our very eyes.


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