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Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America – 2420 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall, which makes Yosemite Falls the seventh (counting Gocta Cataracts) tallest waterfall in the world.

The three sections of Yosemite Falls include the:

Upper Falls – a 1430-foot (436-m) drop. The base and top of the Upper Falls (1, 2) can be reached by trail from the floor of Yosemite Valley, and by descent from other regions of the park. Yosemite Creek (1) meanders around higher elevations in the park before taking the plunge. At later times during the year, Upper Yosemite Falls can be a wet face of rock, as in this October photo. Plan your visit accordingly. Wikipedia notes that at times like this, some rock climbers climb the rock face, an extremely dangerous activity since an afternoon thundershower could re-start the falls and sweep the climbers to their deaths.

Middle Cascades – five smaller plunges that, taken together, account for a total drop of 670 feet (205 m). This section is a narrow, constricted gorge lacking of public access. According to the Wikipedia article, several climbers have required “expensive” :-) (bring your checkbook) helicopter rescues because of the steep and slippery terrain.

Lower Falls – a drop of 320 feet (97 m). Yosemite Creek (1, 2, 3, 4) flows from the base of the Lower Fall and into the Merced River (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) nearby. The pool at the base of the Lower Fall is surrounded by piles of talus, which is slippery from the mist and high humidity.

According to Ahwahneechee legend, the waterfall was called “Cholock,” and the plunge pool at the bottom was believed to be inhabited by the spirits of several witches, called the Poloti.

When photographing the Falls from near the base, be prepared to keep wiping the heavy mist from your lens filter. :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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