Friday, May 9, 2008

Staring into the Abyss #5 - Yosemite as you (maybe) have never seen it

Well, perhaps you have seen this view, if you have been to Yosemite. It is the view up the Merced River Canyon above Yosemite Valley, as seen from Glacier Point. The two waterfalls are the justly famous Nevada Falls (upper, 594 feet) and Vernal Fall (lower, 317 feet). Because they are on the Merced River, they have the virtue of not drying up in the late season, although they can shrink to insignificance in a dry year. The falls have formed along prominent joints in the Half Dome granodiorite. The glaciers moving down the valley plucked at the more jointed rocks down-canyon, forming these glacial stairsteps.

The hike to Vernal Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the park. In the early season, hikers will end up entirely drenched from the spray from the base of the falls. Unfortunately, there is an utterly beguiling green pool of water just upstream of the the fall that just begs to be soaked in on a hot day...it is fun right up to the point that one gets caught in the current and gets swept over the brink. Believe the signs and find somewhere else to swim!


1 comment:

Ryan J Hollister said...

Having just read the first chapter of "Off The Wall: Death in Yosemite", it is unbelievable that nearly 40 people have gone over Vernal & Nevada Falls. Some of the folks were cooling off, but more stupidly, nearly a third went over while trying to attain the "perfect" photo. I like the safe perspective that Geotripper provides from up high.