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In Search of the Firefall

| January 25, 2006

Janyce writes: “I was told that for a few days a year just at dusk the waterfall at Horsetail Falls looks like the old firefall. Have you heard this and do you know the approximate days this would be visable?”

Ahhh! You mean the famous shot Galen Rowell took. It’s true. For just a few days each year if the conditions are right Horsetail Fall looks very red and can resemble the Firefall Curry and Company used to put on.

You can find the image here: it’s number AA00088.

The story is Galen and Chris Vandiver spotted it after a climb. They rushed over to where it was but he was too late. The next night he happened to be out with Ranger Dick Riegelhuth when he saw the fall again begin to light up. He and Riegelhuth raced over to the concessionaires wood lot where Galen snapped the now famous image.

I’ve been in the viciinity a few times when it’s turned a golden yellow but never the bright red. It normally happens in February the exact date varies because of the Earths wobble. I would say any photo you get of Horsetail Falls at sunset is bound to be a beautiful shot but if you’re really interested in getting a shot try a few days before or after February 14th.

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About Loyd: For over 30 years I've enjoyed hiking, backpacking, fishing, photographing and exploring Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. More About the Author. View author profile.

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