Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Nine years ago, we took the shuttle from Mammoth to Devil's Postpile. We didn't go on to Rainbow Falls, though. This time, we hesitated. Would it be worth it? Would there be enough water in the falls? Would we see the rainbow? Yes, yes, and yes!
We got off at Stop 9 on the shuttle and hiked about 1.2 miles to the falls. (This is the shortest hike to get there--the hike from Devil's Postpile is much longer.) Everything we read said to show up around midday to see the rainbow. That's what we did, and we found that the rainbow effect started around 12:15. At first, the rainbow wasn't in the waterfall itself, but across the pool--see above.
Over the next hour, the rainbow moved steadily into the falls and then higher within the falls. It's faint, but you can see the rainbow across the falls in the picture above. When we were there, the best vantage point was from the first overlook. We tried the middle overlook, too, which wasn't as good. We didn't try the lowest viewpoint--the base of the falls--as getting there involved negotiating a steep and long stone staircase.
The chipmunks have this place wired. They're fat and sassy, stuffing themselves with trail mix. They eat the nuts first and leave the raisins til last. (We didn't feed them, but many others did.)
We heard from several people about how the water level was much lower than a normal water year. But you have to remember, we live in the desert. This is the most water we've seen in forever. It was totally worth it, even the hike back (which was uphill, in full sun--whew)!