We are fortunate this year that El Niño gave us a respite from the drought; a good snow pack in the Sierra! I moved to northern California 4 ½ years ago. My wife told me many times that the ephemeral waterfalls, those that dry up and go away quickly, make Yosemite especially beautiful in early spring. But years of drought gave us little snow, leaving those falls dormant or very short lived. I never had a chance to experience them.
Last weekend, we took an overnight visit to Yosemite. My wife was right, everywhere I looked there was a waterfall that I had never seen before. Even Horsetail falls, the one that lights up like fire at sunset in February, was still running. The Merced River was running strongly. We hiked along the Merced River on the trail to the bridge at Vernal Falls.
At the juncture of Illouette Creek and the Merced River, the waters roiled over the cascades making whitewater that looked like a giant head of cauliflower and sounded like thunder. It was amazing.
For me, the real treat was Yosemite Falls.
It, too, thundered from the water crashing over the cliff. Yosemite Creek was rushing harder and was fuller than I have ever seen it.
But the real treat was a brilliant rainbow in the mist at the base of the lower falls.
Though other colors could be seen, the sun highlighted the red-orange spectrum casting a golden glow over parts of the landscape.
Yet, as I traveled through Yosemite, another thought struck me. As humans, ephemeral describes things that come and go quickly; in the span of short periods within our lifetime. But, solid rock in places like Yosemite last for time frames impossible for humans to comprehend but do eventually wash away. To the earth is really ephemeral?