Take a Hike! (with me?): Hetch Hetchy edition

Hetch Hetchy is one of those things that I had never heard of before that everyone else seemed to know about.  So I played along and nodded when my friend said how excited she would be to see it, thinking the whole time, “What in the world is Hetch Hetchy? It sounds like a disease.”

Hetchhetchy3Hetch Hetchy is part of Yosemite National Park, but it’s pretty far off the beaten track.  Staying at the Diamond O campground in Stanislaus National Forest, we were conveniently close for a jaunt into this distant portion of the park.

HetchhetchyThe story of Hetch Hetchy is inextricably intertwined with the story of Yosemite as a park.  Yosemite is often touted as the first national park, and yet if not for the efforts of the illustrious John Muir, it might never have existed.  He is given credit for inspiring Theodore Roosevelt to become one of the greatest environmentalist presidents in the history of the country.

Hetch Hetchy was one of John Muir’s favourite places in Yosemite and so he was quite alarmed when legislation was proposed to build a dam to form a reservoir in the valley. He fought the foundation of the O’Shaughnessy Dam for seven years, but he was ultimately defeated.  The dam connects to an aqueduct that is 167 mi (269 km) and provides most of the water for San Francisco (I think I read 80% on a sign at the dam).  To me, that is an amazing feat of human engineering, if a somewhat sad story.

The awesome Manzanita tree

The awesome Manzanita tree (Arctostaphylos sp.)

it has peely red bark

it has peely red bark

O'Shaughnessy Dam

O’Shaughnessy Dam




Water gushing out…ready to travel 167 miles

Tunnel through the mountain...presumably for a train?  I can see the light!

Tunnel through the mountain…presumably for a train? I can see the light!

I followed the trail through the tunnel and around the other side of the reservoir.  Normally, this trail will lead you to two waterfalls, but because of the drought, they were dry…just like Yosemite Falls.



There were still some great views though


5 thoughts on “Take a Hike! (with me?): Hetch Hetchy edition

  1. Oh what a beautiful tree, that manzanita! I want one though I don’t have any place to put it, having planted my allotment of trees until there is no room for even one more ! The red wood looks so smooth, reminds me of my crepe myrtle, the really big one, that has the loveliest smooth golden wood after the bark peels off, which it does at least once a year. That red wood looks like it a desert sunset! That sure is a pretty place, looks rugged but with its own beauty.

  2. Pingback: Roosevelt Dam and Bridge | standingoutinmyfield

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