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Hetch Hetchy Valley - or, shall we say what it used to be - is one of the least visited areas of Yosemite National Park. Yes, the valley has been under water for nearly 90 years, thanks to the liberal bureaucrates who ruled San Francisco back in 1916 - and still do - but despite the fact Hetch Hetchy Vally is under water, there are many beautiful areas to explore, including the AWE INSPIRING hike to Wapama Falls.

Photo:  Classic view of Wapama Falls, taken from O'Shaughnessy Dam, with Hetch Hetchy reservoir in the foreground.  The hike to Wapama Falls, from the dam is 2.6 miles each way, with an elevation gain of about 200 feet, but the hike is actually harder than it sounds, as there are a lot of up and down areas, and there are even stair steps, similar to the world-famous Mist Trail out of Yosemite Valley.

Photo:  It's 11:00 o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, and I've just hike across O'Shaughnessy Dam, gone through the granite tunnel, and I'm rewarded with an award-winning view of Hetch Hetchy.  Kolana Rock is to the right, and Hetch Hetchy dome is to the left.  The elevation is only about 3800 feet, and today is hot - 100 degrees - so it's a nice hike to Wapama Falls.

Photo:  Since the trail is low in elevation - 3800 to 3900 feet - it's HOT.  On this late June day, the temperature hovered around 100 degrees, so I was glad that I brought plenty of water.  You can drink the water, untreated, that flows from the streams but you'd be smart to treat the water before you drink it.  Unfortunately, water contamination is a problem in Yosemite National Park.

Photo:  Beware!  Poison oak lurks everywhere along the trail to Wapama Falls!  I was surprised to see the leaves turning colors in late June... If you're savvy to the Sierra Nevada mountains, you'll recognize poison oak, and you'll avoid it like the plague.

Photo:  You can enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery in every form, including wildflowers, which I love.  Along the trail to Wapama Falls, I spotted a beautiful group of Evening Primrose.  They are so beautiful!  I was surprised at the display presented on this late June day, so I couldn't resist taking a photo.

Photo:  If you like Western Polemonium flowers, you won't be disappointed at Hetch Hetchy, as they grow in moist areas along the trail to Wapama Falls.

Photo:  This guy isn't exactly a "wildflower," but he's enjoying lunch in a lush basin, where Tueeulala Falls flows. Tueeulala Falls is seasonal, at best, and it was nearly out of water on this late June afternoon.  But the squirrel didn't seem to care, as he was enjoy a feast of a nut, courtesy of a nearby Coulter pine tree.

Photo:  Mr. Lizard enjoys sunbathing on a granite rock, near the base of Wapama Falls.

Photo:  The first view of Wapama Falls you get is simply AMAZING!!  After the 2-1/2 mile hike, which is long and hot, you get rewarded with cool mist, but you're not drenched, and natural evaporation takes care of you.  

Photo:  Before Wapama Falls flows into Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, it takes five different directions, so when you're hiking to the falls, there are several bridges to cross, and each bridge provides a different view of the falls.  I filled my canteen from the falls - I used 1-1/2 quarts of water each way - and the water was delicious!  This is some of the purest water in the world, but I took no chances as I treated it.  Call me "chicken," but I have suffered from tainted water during previous hikes in Yosemite, so I take no chances, and I take no prisoners.

Photo:  Hi mom!  Hi dad!  I actually hiked to Wapama Falls, and I'm enjoying my day!!!  Thanks to a passerby who took my photo, I didn't have to take a "selfie" to record the monumental occasion.

Photo:  I love this "erratic" boulder placed on a piece of granite, overlooking Hetch Hetchy reservoir.  If I had the power to push this 20-ton rock about five feet, it would be at the bottom of the lake.  It's amazing the things glaciers did 10,000 years ago to make this area of Tuloumne County so scenic and amazing.

Photo:  I am simply in awe, standing at the base of Wapama Falls, and watching the water cascade over the granite rocks.  Although I'm not a "Sierra Clubber," I agree with John Muir, in that Hetch Hetchy Valley was unique, and should have been protected forever, as per Yosemite Valley.  However, John, and his boys were outvoted by the liberal bureaucrats in San Francisco, and now Hetch Hechy Valley is submerged by 400 feet of water.  I hope the good folks of San Francisco can look to the east, and be proud of the environmental damage they are responsible for.

Why did I wait until I was 64 years old to hike to Wapama Falls? I don't know the answer, but I do know that it's an easy hike, but every blister, and every step you take is worthwhile, to enjoy the beauty of Wapama Falls.

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