Fire falls and Almond Blossoms


Except for the heat of the summer – from mid-June to end of September – a trip to Yosemite takes you through a variety of fascinating moods with an element of delight and awe that never fades.

Two weeks ago, with the buzz around a potentially spectacular natural fire fall (the Horsetail falls at sunset), we headed down to Yosemite for probably our 30th visit into the park.

The conditions have to be absolutely right to witness the fire fall – a cloudless sky in winter during sunset coupled with the contradictory requirement of enough snowpack and just the right doze of temperature for the very wispy Horsetail falls to spray down the eastern face of El Capitan. The last time such conditions took place was 5 years ago.


Naturally, the park was crowded. The two common spots where one could see and photograph the falls had no less that 3000 photographers combined, with an unparalleled array of photography equipment spanning every camera, lens, tripod and accessory vendor in the business.

We reached the El Capitan picnic lot around 2.30 pm and found the wispy Horsetail amidst a sea of gray. The skies were gray till about 4 pm and we contemplated heading back and coming in the next day. But persistence paid off, and the skies started clearing around 4 pm with a spectacular display of the fire fall by the time the sun went down.


On our way back to San Jose, we were greeted by miles after miles of lush displays of almond blossoms in a manner we had never seen before. As expected, the Valley had something new up it’s sleeve, making sure we would come back again.