Offbeat

By Jamie Smith


Dozens of photographers gathered to witness Yosemite’s incredible Firefall, only to miss the amazing phenomenon when it was over in seconds.

Yosemite National Park is known for its awe-inspiring beauty and its rare ‘firefall’ – a seasonal waterfall that occasionally gleams gold in the sun and appears like fire.

Pic by David Gordon/Caters News – Horsetail Falls in Californias Yosemite National Park on 27/02/2016

The rare all only flows in Winter and early Spring, but if weather conditions are right during mid-to-late February, the fall appears at sunset as beautiful golden fire raining down from Horsetail Fall.

The name ‘firefall’ comes after a Yosemite tradition where burning embers were thrown off Glacier Point and appeared like a waterfall.

While the original ‘firefall’ was stopped in 1968 due to too it becoming too popular, the modern day ‘firefall’ lives on to stun it’s dedicated viewers on rare occasions.

But this year one group of photographers were left particularly disappointed when the phenomenon was over in the blink of an eye.

Andrea Spearow captured the moment of disappointment when she took trip to Yosemite with her friends in search of the gorgeous falls.

Andrea, a retired professor, said: “I was with two good friends on vacation for the long weekend. We had learned about the “fire fall” phenomenon just a few days prior to our trip, and also learned that the Park system was implementing a new program this year to help keep the crowds down and under control.

Pic by Andrea Spearow/Caters News: The Horsetail Falls in Californias Yosemite National Park. 18/02/2018.

“Saturday was unusually warm and dry and the sky was perfectly clear. Sunday, however, the weather was supposed to change quite dramatically and bring some much-needed snow and rain, but this change meant the probability of killing any hopes of witnessing the “fire fall”.

“Feeling lucky though, we decided to take our chances and drive into the Valley from where we were staying just outside the Park, very curious to see what – if anything – was in store.

“Once we parked we could see a crowd of photographers, a very excited and friendly group they were.

“We were able to capture a glimpse of the golden light on the granite wall, which was lovely even without the water flowing from above.

Pic by Andrea Spearow/Caters News 

“Unfortunately, the weather was rapidly changing and our spirits were falling — the sky was darkening as clouds moved-in, threatening to block our fire-y waterless waterfall. It was not looking hopeful.

“Finally at about 5:50 we decided to give up. It was getting cold and most of our new friends had begun to pack up and head back to their cars with their long lenses and tripods in tow.

“I laughed at the few optimists who still stood staring up into El Capitan, hoping upon hope that something mysterious magic would still emerge.

“As we were walking down the road back to our car, we noticed a man in front of us excitedly pointing-up to the granite wall.

Pic by Andrea Spearow/Caters News 

“We all turned around and got a glimpse of this strange crimson light that suddenly appeared on El Capitan. I raced to find a spot clear of trees to grab a photo of it.

“Within a minute it had disappeared. By the time anyone was able to set up their gear once again, it was too late.

“One man collapsed down onto his knees shouting “Oh no! No, no, no!” He had missed the entire show.”