Hetch Hetchy is on the Tuolumne River, often referred to as a "wonderfully exact counterpart of Yosemite National Park." When the ice glaciers carved out Yosemite Valley, it carved out several other valleys in the high sierras. One of those valleys is often referred to as "Yosemite's twin." That twin is this place and some call it Yosemite's lost valley.
In 1906, San Francisco faced a horrible earthquake. For years, San Francisco was looking for a body of water to harness for its power and energy.
The earthquake caused many fires and therefore moved to the topic of needing a water source to draw from, to the top of the political list.
The city of San Francisco wanted this valleys water supply and John Muir and the Sierra Club fought endlessly for five years to stop them. One year after John Muir died, San Francisco won the rights to build a dam.
In 1914 thousands of trees were cut down and granite mountains had holes blasted through them. They dammed up the water and built the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The dam was completed by 1923 and expanded again in 1938.
They call the dam the O'Shaughnessy Dam. The dam creates a lake and under the lake is a valley as beautiful and Yosemite Valley.
Now, millions of dollars need to be poured in to make repairs...and the Sierra Club is trying to have the dam removed and the valley and meadows restored to be enjoyed by tourist since Yosemite Valley is so overcrowded. It would be a good thing to restore Yosemite's twin valley since San Francisco has other choices to meet their water and power sources.
Here Is An Excellent Short Video
Video Part 2
This is a great Yosemite hike. You can hike to Wapama Falls. It is a 5 mile round trip. It is an easy to moderate hike. Start at the O'Shaughnessy Dam Parking lot. The best time to go is April To June.
The trailhead begins one mile west of the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite National Park on Highway 120. Go right (north) on Evergreen Road and drive 7 miles. Go right at Camp Mather onto Hetch Hetchy Road. Go through the entrance station and continue on for another 8 miles. The road will end at O'Shaughnessy Dam parking lot.
This places gives you the Yosemite waterfall scenery without the crowds. The crowds of visitors just do know know about this beautiful valley and its waterfalls. Every time we have been here, we feel like we have this place completely to ourselves.
There is a lot of poison oak along the trail, so be careful. Keep your eyes open for rattlesnakes. It is 2.5 miles to the top of Wapama Falls.
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