Yosemite is not one to hold back on its magnificent surprises. And it's no different in February, when for two weeks the setting sun sends its last rays in just the right spot to make Horsetail Falls seem to be flowing with lava. But the odds of seeing the phenomenon are very little, as there are many variables involved. Nonetheless I made my way to the park to try my luck.
The main weather condition needed is a cloudless horizon. This allows for the sun rays to travel without being diffused by clouds or mist, hitting the water that drops down the side of El Capitan just right. Well, as you can see in the pictures, the horizon was filled with clouds and mist, so it didn't look promising. We walked The Valley floor for a couple hours scouting for a good location to set our tripods in.
Another important condition is that enough snow needs to melt in the high Sierras in order to feed Horsetail Falls; otherwise there is no waterfall. Luckily enough, the mix of thundering rain in the past week with just the right amount of snow made for a good visible stream of water.
As sunset approached, I started to see the clouds dissipate in the distance, and like magic, the sun star started to become harsher in-between the woods of The Valley. Maybe we had a chance afterall.
Then just like that, the rays of sun started to dance in front of our eyes. It went up and down for a good twenty minutes, finally hitting the flowing water mist and nude rock. Like in a science fiction movie, the see-through water started glowing shades of orange and red. The odds worked in our favor, and I couldn't help but lose my breath.
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