Wowza Sight: Horsetail Fall in February

The Yosemite natural attraction can take on a glow come late winter.

PART OF LOVING NATURE... is knowing that the most exceptional experiences can be complete, didn't-see-that-coming surprises. You're on a hike and there, in the distance, are two rabbits at play. You wake up in the morning, and exit your tent, only to find that snow has given everything a layer of sparkly icing. And the perfect sunset, whether it is peach or coral or pink or all of the above, never fails to do the whole taking-away-the-breath thing. On rare occasion, though, we do know when an exceptional experience in nature is due, simply by looking at the calendar. One such case? Horsetail Fall, in Yosemite National Park, which can light up, with a photo-ready glow, during some February afternoons. "Can" is the operative word in that sentence, and "some" is also something to consider, too. The story with the pretty waterfall is this: It is positioned in such a way where, come late February or early March, the setting sun can give it a brightness and lightness that almost seems supernatural. It's the position of the sun and the waterfall and the time of year, yes, but much has to do with the weather, and whether clouds are raining on photographers' parades. Ah, indeed, many photographers, of both the professional and weekend variety, call upon Yosemite Valley to see if they can't snap Horsetail at the exact right moment, come the perfect afternoon in late February, right when things up above are looking mighty magnificent.

WHERE TO STAND? El Capitan picnic area is cited as a favorite spot to see the sight, though "different angles and locations" may give you a fresher view. The flow of the fall also adds to the mix, so getting lucky is part of the adventure. You may one day come across two romping rabbits on your hiking trail, and a sudden overnight snowfall of great beauty, but that depends on the snow and bunnies. Seeing a Yosemite waterfall aglow, however, is slightly more predictable, though "predictable" in no way diminishes its dazzle.

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