Even though I’ve gotten out on some good dayhikes, I’ve spent the past few weekends stuck in the Bay Area and the cabin fever has really set in. I was determined to head to the mountains this weekend, and the siren call of the Yosemite Horsetail Firefall window called my name. Many who are familiar with Yosemite know the history of the real firefalls, where a bonfire would be pushed over the Valley rim, but the environmentally correct, 21st century version is created by Mother Nature. In late winter, the angles of the setting sun, when combined with the snowmelt runoff, can create a natural firefall, with the falling water illuminated with a bright orange glow.
Several variables need to come together to make the firefalls happen, and I knew that my only chance of making the window would be this weekend, so weather forecast be damned, I was going to head to the Valley no matter what the forecast had in store for us. We headed out Saturday morning and did some snowshoeing around Crane Flat (I would have preferred my cross country skis, but didn’t get around to waxing them in time). We then headed to the Valley and set up camp at Upper Pines and headed over to the Ansel Adams museum. After a reality check, we accepted the fact that the thick overhead clouds were going to restrict any possible appearance of the firefalls and headed over to Curry Village for dinner. A nice campfire sent us to bed and then the rains kicked in overnight. The constant drizzle this morning kept us from any more snowshoe adventures, but it was still great to get out to the mountains and play in the snow a bit. Can’t wait to spend some more time up there this winter!