There are very few places that capture the essence of American beauty better than Yosemite National Park. Millions of people visit each year to explore its mountainous terrain, or to experience Yosemite's unique natural wonders such as the giant sequoia groves or the hundreds of waterfalls that nourish the protected landscape.
heyengel / iStock / Getty Images Plus<p>The expected viewing dates begin February 13th and end February 25th. Due to the short timeframe that the Firefall is visible, reservations are expected to book quickly.</p> <p>For those unfamiliar with the Firefall, it is a bizarre and beautiful natural phenomenon that can only occur for two weeks out of the year. At sunset, the waterfall transforms from an icy shower to a glowing flame that appears to flow like lava from the heights of El Capitan. This occurs due to the unique angle of the waterfall against the sunset during mid-February. </p> <p>Despite its massive appeal, the Firefall is actually quite elusive. In order for the illusion to occur, Horsetail Falls must be experiencing a clear Western sky, have enough snowfall the night before, and experience warm temperatures to melt the snow and sustain the waterfall. Due to the angle of the sunset against the waterfall, it can only occur for approximately two weeks in February, but a cloudy day or freezing temperatures can get in the way of the incredible display. </p> <p>Not only are the Firefalls rare, but they're also short-lived. The sunset will only be at the right angle for five to ten minutes, giving visitors a very short window to observe. However, those who have witnessed the Firefall believe it is always worth the effort.</p>
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Alex Honnold has added another gravity-defying accomplishment to his list of historic climbs. The legendary free solo climber from Sacramento, California has scaled Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan in a little less than four hours with nothing more than a chalk bag.
"So stoked to realize a life dream today," the 31-year-old wrote on Facebook on June 3.
Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice little buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.
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Have you ever seen images of the water at Horsetail Fall glowing red like lava at Yosemite National Park? Or better yet, have you ever seen it in person?
"For a few weeks in February, if the water is flowing in Horsetail Fall, photographers and park visitors gather in the waning evening light for an amazing natural display," Delaware North, the contracted concessioner for Yosemite National Park, said. "The Horsetail Fall phenomenon appears when the angle of the setting sun sets the waterfall ablaze with reds and oranges, like a fire was falling down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan."
When conditions are just right, Horsetail Fall glows red like lava at sunset. It typically only happens a few weeks each year. Reddit
The first known photograph of the phenomenon was taken by photographer Galen Rowell in 1973. The so-called "firefall" has captivated onlookers ever since. "It's truly a wonder of nature," said Elizabeth Christie, who posted a picture on Facebook of the waterfall glowing red.
Elizabeth Christie / Facebook
The phenomenon occurs when conditions are just right, usually in mid to late February. Some years the firefall only happens on one or two days, according to the National Park Service. Blurppy explains why the firefall is so "finicky":
Although Horsetail Fall is visible from multiple viewpoints in Yosemite Valley, several factors must converge to trigger the firefall. If conditions are not perfect, the firefall will not glow.
First and foremost, Horsetail Fall must be flowing. If there's not enough snowpack in February, there will not be enough snowmelt to feed the waterfall, which tumbles 1,570 feet (480 meters) down the east face of El Capitan. Likewise, temperatures must be warm enough during the day to melt the snowpack. If temperatures are too cold, the snow will stay frozen and Horsetail Fall won't flow. (Lack of runoff is also why there is no firefall in autumn. Although the sun hits Yosemite Valley at the same angle in October as it does in February, Horsetail Falls is usually dry in October because the runoff that feeds it has long since dried up.)
Second, the western sky must be clear at sunset. If it's snowing, raining, or even just cloudy, the sun's rays will be blocked and Horsetail Falls will not light up. Winter weather can be highly variable in Yosemite, however, and days that start off cloudy can clear up by sunset.
If everything comes together and conditions are just right, the firefall will light up for about 10 minutes. To see Horsetail Fall glowing blood red is an almost supernatural experience.
As the sun begins to set, the falls turn a golden hue and eventually become a bright reddish orange.
Watch Yosemite National Park's video to get a better understanding of the natural phenomenon and to see some stunning images of the firefall: