Monday, February 21, 2011

Let The Fire Fall!

Back in the Sixties the concessionaire that ran the hotel at the top of Hosetail Falls in Yosemite National Park used to do this thing where his staff would set up this big ol' bonfire at the top of the Glacier Point cliff. As dark was falling they'd light this sucker up, get a good hot blaze going, and then...well, let's let this guy take up the story:
"At 9:00 each evening in Camp Curry, the crowd which had gathered for the nightly campfire program, would fall silent. A man would call out to the top of Glacier Point "Let the Fire Fall!", and a faint reply could be heard from the top of the mountain. Then a great bonfire of red fir bark would be pushed evenly over the edge of the cliff, appearing to the onlookers below as a glowing waterfall of sparks and fire."
This went on from the 1870s until 1968, when the Park Service came to the realization that horsing burning logs off a cliff in a wildland national park wasn't, well, very "wild".Or natural. And stopped doing it. There are people who have been grousing about this ever since.

But the thing is that it turns out that under the right conditions Yosemite's Horsetail Falls can do the same thing or better:
"If there's enough water and if the sky's clear enough to get a sunset, the setting sun will be at an angle to the falls and this causes it to glow. It's rare to get such great conditions - a lot of water and decent sky. It's pretty wild to see because, at first, you can barely make out the waterfall. As the sun starts to set, it glows yellow a bit and then, all of a sudden, it lights up and looks like lava."
Gorgeous, isn't it?But isn't that just like fucking Nature?

Instead of giving us a good show when WE want it, it makes us wait and wait and wait and wait until everything is just right before doing something spectacular. And sometimes it never does it at all.

No wonder more people go to Disneyland.


Lisa said...

It is gorgeous, and you were lucky to have known the earlier times.

Those Mickey T-shirts are horribly grotty.

FDChief said...

Aren't they appalling? I suspect that they were NOT for sale at the actual theme park!

Lisa said...

Nope -- don't think they jibe with the whole Mickey ethos . . .

mike said...

Probably Bourbon Street and not Disneyland - and it must have been Mardi Gras. I think I used to know the guy with the beads. If it is who I think it is then he would have made a good Goofy. But then whoever it is, he is probably a bit Goofy.

Lisa said...


I'm sure Ranger Jim wishes HE could be the bead guy -- I feel he would consider the clever Mickeys high fashion statements or a clever case of zoomorphism.

FDChief said...

mike, Lisa; I have as much of a weakness for statuesque blondes as I do for every other woman, but I'm sorry; there is no dignity on earth to be had in encasing your breasts in cartoon mouse-pouches. Lovely as they may be, the scenery is not improved by the landscaping.

And as I recall the photo was from a New Orleans Mardi Gras. Doesn't excuse the Minnie-bra, but, there.