Yosemite's Sunlit ‘Firefall' to Soon Shimmer

Horsetail Fall puts on quite the spectacular show, when conditions are right, during the second half of February.

Chris Falkenstein

THE SECOND HALF OF FEBRUARY? We're often quite busy. We might be finishing off a box of chocolates, the ones in the cardboard heart box, if we didn't polish off every last one on the evening of Feb. 14. We could be getting a jump on spring cleaning, knowing that March, with its spring-break-y vibes, gets pretty hectic. Or we might even be packing up the last of the holiday decorations, the outdoor ones that we really, really meant to get to, before 2019 vamoosed. But over in Yosemite National Park? Horsetail Fall possesses none of those particular worries. Rather, the famous, cliffside feature is ready to make a little magic by dancing with the setting sun, and by "magic" we do mean science, as what happens can be explained by where the sun is and where our planet is and weather conditions being perfect and so forth.

AND WHAT HAPPENS... from the middle part of February all the way to the end of the month? If the water is splashing over a certain spot on El Capitan, along the eastern part, and the clouds have taken the night off, the way-up-there natural wonder can take on an "orange glow" that pretty much beats any other orange glowing thing (jack o'lantern fans, you may have to swing by the Big Y to decide for yourself on that particular matter). The famous valley can bustle, for sure, with other waterfall fans, and if there's snow or ice around, you'll want to check in on the roads before you go. As for a murkier sky scene? Yep, word is that "(e)ven some haze or minor cloudiness can greatly diminish or eliminate the effect." So before you gobble those Valentine chocolates or get an early jump on spring cleaning, plan your trip to Horsetail Fall, which finds its truly fanciful side in the sunshine come the second part of February.

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