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Tuolumne River Cascades

After taking a lazy, meandering path through Tuolumne Meadows, lingering in the sunshine as long as it can, the Tuolumne River reaches the meadow's western edge and realizes it's behind schedule. A series of cascades ensue as it tries to make up for lost time and unlost elevation. In an incredible bit of good fortune, there's not only a sloping sheet of granite here, but Earth's gravitational field is also present in the area, and the river is soon able to get back on track.

It would seem that the Tuolumne leads a charmed existence, but in fact it's all downhill from here. There's a brief, happy trip through the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, but then the river hits the dam at Hetch Hetchy, where it becomes a prisoner awaiting the pleasure of the residents of San Francisco. Eventually it'll travel through huge pipes down the foothills and then across the Central Valley to the bay area, where it'll end up brushing somebody's teeth or flushing their toilet. No wonder it wants to stay in Tuolumne Meadows.