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Matinee: 'Finding Hetch Hetchy' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

26 November 2022

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 476th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Finding Hetch Hetchy: The Hidden Yosemite.

This 9:50 video follows climbers Lucho Rivera and Timmy O'Neill as they work their way up the granite cliffs that, behind O'Shaughnessy Dam, form the reservoir that provides drinking water to the Bay area. O'Neill has spent three decades in Yosemite Valley but had never been to nearby Hetch Hetchy.

In that he wasn't unique. Few people visit the Hetch Hetchy Valley despite the similar majestic beauty of Yosemite's "lost twin." But that just makes it all the more pleasant an experience. No crowds.

We see them navigate a sheer granite wall, handhold by handhold, before settling down for the night on a portaledge, a cantilevered aluminum and nylon platform hung from the wall. They get up early to make the final push to the top.

It's quite an adventure.

The video was produced by the campaign to Restore Hetch Hetchy. "The mission of Restore Hetch Hetchy is to return the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural splendor -- while continuing to meet the water and power needs of all communities that depend on the Tuolumne River," the campaign notes. To do that, those 117 billion gallons of "water needs to be stored outside Yosemite National Park."

Mikey Schaefer is director of photography and five other photographers worked on the production: Chris Burkard, Evan Rudman, Jeffrey Brundage, James "Q" Martin and Nelson Klein.

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