Tag Archives: Yosemite National Park

A Dry Spell

I shared this picture on Facebook the other day. I have to say that I am spoiled with all the lush, green vegetation right in my own backyard. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Walk at PR

But this is not South Carolina, this is Southern California. And we are in the midst of a drought.

Do you see a problem here?

Over watering? Oh yeah. Just a little, don’tcha think?

Yet, in comparison, sometimes as writers we may hit a Dry Spell. Those times when we rack our brains, searching for the right word, the right sentence, the perfect…well, you know. We walk along on a creative path, all green and lush as our subconscious liquidates on the page. And then something happens.

We hit a dry spell.

For some, this may happen all at once. For others, they may notice a drain on their stored creative juices over a period of time. Either way, their well runs dry.

Let’s be honest. Many of us go through our daily routines more numerous than a single human being should be allowed. And some of us are ready to commit ourselves after a long, exhausting day spent fulfilling the many tasks that lay before us.

With that kind of schedule, how is one expected to be cognizant of every single issue that happens in our world? It’s just not humanly possible.

But we in California are in a dry spell and severe drought restrictions have been put into place.

May I just say…Finally!

Hello! It certainly took them long enough. I mean, come on, this drought has been going on for years. The water supply is down to an eighteen month reserve. Yes, you read that right. Eighteen months!

Blink, and it will be gone!

Okay, I guess I’m as bad as the next guy because the reality of the situation didn’t hit me until I returned home from my trip from Phoenix last month. And I thought it was dry there. Practically the whole state of Arizona is desert, right? But it isn’t quite in the same league as this western Golden state which has now turned into a scorching golden-brown before our very eyes.

82 percent of the state of California is in an “exceptional drought”, the driest conditions since 1895. Record-low rainfall has sent rivers, lakes and water reservoirs to their lowest levels in many decades, threatening the water supply of many cities. In turn, this has also increased the risk of wildfires, which has already ravaged parts of the state, most recently an area near Yosemite National Park.

Although the drought may alter the way we use water, the people that it affects the most is the farmer. In an attempt to keep up with water demand, many farmers are drilling new wells. Recently, in Kern County, one farmer drilled five new wells at 2,500-feet deep a piece — twice the height of the Empire State Building — in a desperate attempt to tap into new water sources below.

And for the farmers less fortunate? They are bulldozing hundreds of acres of thirsty, but still reasonably healthy crops because there isn’t enough moisture to keep them alive through the worst drought people in the area have ever seen.

There is a growing sense that nobody outside the San Joaquin Valley really understands the far-reaching implications of the drought, how it’s put the main source of the nation’s food supply at serious risk, threatening to disrupt an entire industry and ruin people’s lives.

One farmer went as far as posting a sign on his property that says,

“No Water. No Trees. No Jobs. No Food.”

No food? Oh, that’s just great!

I can’t stop thinking about “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Can you say Dry Spell?

Yet, before we get upset because of the lack of urgency, let’s take into consideration that a drought doesn’t cause the immediate excitement that perhaps a tornado, earthquake or hurricane can. It’s been said that a drought is like watching a movie in slow motion. It’s a slow death, a silent killer—with a potential to be just as destructive.

So what can we do?

Here are the top ten suggestions:

10- Check your faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks. Replace your toilet with a low-flow model. That old toilet and a small faucet leak can waste up to 20 gallons of water.

9- Replace your shower heads with low-flow heads which use less than half the water. (I know, I know, I hate then too. But do we have a choice?)

8- Take shorter showers or perhaps take a bath instead.

7- This one’s for the kids. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth!

6- Run the dishwasher only when full.

5- Use recycled water for your plants.

4- Store drinking water in the fridge in lieu of running it in the sink to get it cold.

3- Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator instead of under the hot water at the sink.

2- Take precautions to prevent fires which occur most often in the kitchen.

And the number one suggestion is…

1- If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.

Okay, you caught me. That wasn’t the number one suggestion. I just couldn’t help myself. But it is a real suggestion used in previous droughts across the country. And if we all do our part, perhaps we can help preserve our water supply for future generations, but more importantly, our Farmers!

Although forecasters are now expecting an El Nino weather pattern for Southern California this winter. Yay! But I’m not counting on it. So for those of you who are being plummeted by an overabundance of rainfall this year? Send that excess moisture this way!

As for the creative dry spell? I don’t think those top ten suggestions would be of any help.

Yet like a drought, whether as an individual or collectively, we need to take immediate measures to keep productive. Don’t wait until you’re faced with the dangerous feeling of discouragement. Do whatever it takes to replenish that creative well!

So what do you think? Have you ever experienced a Dry Spell? Did you know how bad the drought was in California? How have you recovered from a lack of creativity? What are your suggestions for water conservation? Have you been affected by the weather in your neck of the woods?

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!


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Fire Fall—A Marvel of Nature!


Isn’t that an amazing picture? What is it? At first glance it looks to be a flow of molten lava, something that you’d expect to see coming from volcanic activity. Perhaps you would expect to see something like this on the big Island of Hawaii, in Indonesia or the Philippine Islands. Why there are a plethora of volcanoes all over the world for that matter.

Yet this actually is not a river flowing of magma emission. This is a rare phenomenon that happens for only a two week period during the year. This magnificent marvel of cosmic alignment happens in a small window of time, a flashing moment at sunset if, and only if weather permits it.

Where is it you ask?

Each year countless nature photographers converge upon Yosemite National Park to capture the evanescent spectacle of Horsetail Fall, its longest free-falling waterfall with a drop of 1,500 feet along the granite face of El Capitan. They pass the time hoping for clear skies so they may duplicate this manifestation that was first recorded in color back in 1973 by photographer Galen Rowell.

Michael Frye who wrote the book, “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite” said that “Horsetail is so uniquely situated that I don’t know of any other waterfall on earth that gets that kind of light.”

For many years before this occurrence was captured, photographers only had to point and shoot to obtain another famous Yosemite firefall which was man-made—a cascade of embers that was pushed from a bonfire on summer nights off Glacier Point.

But all this has become a lesson in Physics, Geometry and Astronomy as photographers study the angle measured from north eastward along the horizon where the vertical circle intersects, otherwise known as azimuth, a horizontal angle of bearing.

A horizontal angle of what? Let’s keep this simple, shall we?

The azimuth degrees and minutes of the earth’s orbit are relative to the sun that defines the best time of day to encounter it. So they wait patiently looking for the lowest angle of light that will shower Horsetail Fall with a kaleidoscopic sunset while the sun’s rays reflect off the granite directly behind the water which may vary in levels of intensity over the course of the same two weeks of the year, every year.

You can imagine all the calculation and timing it takes along with the cooperation with nature to be successful because Horsetail Fall empties into a small area on the eastern summit of El Capitan and only flows during winter and springtime in years with adequate rain and snow, which has been scarce this year, although the experts say it doesn’t have to take a lot of water to light up the fall.

But most importantly, the southwestern sky must be clear and February is the peak time of year when storm clouds often obscure the setting sun. So when the environment cooperates and conditions come together, the scrawny Horsetail Fall is the shining star of the park.

The Fall lights up like fire around dusk and last for just about two minutes. And with the recent storms and snow, this means the persnickety fall is flowing again and park officials are hopeful that it will last at least through February 24th, which generally is the last day of the year to catch a glimpse of it.

“If you hit it at just the right time, it turns this amazing color of gold or red-orange,” said Frye, a photo instructor with the Ansel Adams Gallery in the park.

Though the popularity is reminiscent of an actual fiery fall that entertained guests in the park from 1930 to 1968, there’s no comparison to the natural activities and occurrences in Yosemite that are far more amazing and more valuable— everything from a sunset to wildlife to rainbows at Vernal Fall.

Yes the majestic Horsetail Fall is a fire fall—a true marvel of nature!

So what do you think? Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park? Have you ever seen the likes of such a phenomenon? What volcanoes or waterfalls have you had a chance to visit? What are the things that you enjoy about nature? And how do they inspire you?

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Thank you for your many thoughts and fine comments everyone!



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