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Yosemite: Its Wonders and Its Beauties (1868) by John S. Hittell

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VERNAL FALLS.

The Vernal or Piwyac Fall, in the Piwyac Cañon, is a mile and a half east-south-eastward from Glacial Rock, on the main Merced, and it is four hundred and seventy-five feet high, though there is so much spray that the bottom cannot be distinctly seen from any point from which a measurement is possible. The stream here is thirty yards wide, and it shoots over quite clear of the rock. The water near the top is green, and the name Vernal was given to distinguish it from a very white fall a mile beyond. Piwyac is in a very, rough canon, impassable for horses. The top of the fall is reached by ladders, and a natural battlement of rock, just high enough to lean upon, offers a convenient place for looking over the cataract. Those who approach the fall from below, on a clear afternoon, can always find rainbows, and frequently can have them forming nearly a complete circle, closing in to the beholder’s feet. Piwyac is interpreted to mean a shower of crystals. The photographer placed his camera within a few hundred yards of the fall to take the view given in this collection, though the fall is also represented in another taken a mile to the west.

XV. Piwyac, (Cataract of Diamonds) Vernal Fall, 475 feet high.
XV. Piwyac, (Cataract of Diamonds) Vernal Fall,
475 feet high.

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