Swollen by spring snowmelt, Bridal Veil Falls tumbles into California’s exquisite Yosemite National Park- easily one of the most jaw-dropping locations I have ever visited (despite the steady stream of camera-touting, RV-driving, hotdog-munching tourists). The name, taken from the likeness of the wind-drifted water to its matrimonial namesake, is far from unique. In fact Wikipedia lists no less than 38 ‘Bridal Veil Falls’ named in 8 different English-speaking countries around the world. How original.
That said, this particular example is a spectacular one. Plummeting 188 metres from the lip of a hanging valley left behind by a retreating tributary glacier, the light playing in the mist hanging at the falls’ base refracts into a beautiful prismatic rainbow. Although at certain times of the year the water from the falls won’t even reach the rocks at its feet, I was lucky enough to be there in May when the water was flowing full and plump. Taken in the late afternoon sunlight beneath a crisp blue sky, the crowd was not impenetrable, and although I ended up with a couple of blobs of water on my lens when the wind shifted direction, it was a pleasure to run off some shots of this natural icon.
For those who haven’t had a chance to visit Yosemite National Park, believe the hype. Yeah, it’s overtrodden by the visiting hordes, which is a true tragedy for the lover of the natural world, but the valley itself is jaw-droppingly beautiful (quite literally; as I rounded the corner at the far end of the park and got a view through my windshield of the ice-carved gallery bathed in sunlight, my mouth fell open like the hinges had failed). I’d like to take my next visit in winter, when the throngs are thinned and the snows rest on the mountain caps. Till then, I indulge myself with a few more photos of what is a spectacular location.
(The View from Inspiration Point/Tunnel View)
Note: For those visiting who want a slightly quieter experience of the beauty here, visit Hetch-Hetchy, in the northern portion of the park. A valley reputed once to rival Yosemite for its beauty, it is now dammed and flooded, but with breathtaking wilderness and wonderful plunging peaks, as well as some apparently spectacular hiking (I wouldn’t know, I was only there a few hours). Best of all, it is relatively undervisited, and well worth the hour’s detour through the forest.
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