Debbie Croft: ‘Firefall’ workshop available

There’s plenty of winter fun under the sun and in the snow in Sierra foothills communities. Now is the time to plan ahead for participating in one or more of the following events:

• Wintertime wonders of Yosemite National Park make for great photography. One natural phenomenon occurs every year in late February at sunset. For a few days Horsetail Fall is lit by the setting sun, when weather and precipitation conditions are just right. The stream of water appears to be illuminated as it pours down the granite on the east side of El Capitan. The water transforms into a ribbon of orange or gold light, earning the nickname “firefall.”

John Senser, a professional photographer with the Yosemite Conservancy, will lead a photography workshop from Feb. 27 through March 3. Nature’s golden firefall and winter’s landscape will be the subjects of the weekend sessions. Photographers of every level will benefit, and both digital and film formats are allowed.

The workshop package price includes camping, but may be upgraded to hotel lodging after registration is complete. Go to or call (209) 379-2317, ext. 10, for more information.

• Snowshoeing in Yosemite is an exhilarating way to experience wilderness beauty. The Yosemite Conservancy is planning snowshoe excursions on two Saturdays: March 8 and March 22. An experienced nature guide will lead the group from Badger Pass to Dewey Point for lunch, then back again. It’s a 7-mile trek with a challenge level of moderate.

From Dewey Point the breathtaking view encompasses Ribbon Fall, Leaning Tower, El Capitan and Yosemite Valley.

The weekend package includes camping, park entry and snowshoe rental. Details are available at or by calling (209) 379-2317, ext. 10.

• The 65th annual Hornitos Enchilada Dinner will be held in the historic Gold Rush town on Saturday, March 1. Every year, rain or shine, a crowd of several hundred gathers to wait in line for the event.

This year’s efforts are dedicated to the women, past and present, as well as families, community members and friends responsible for the dinner’s continued success.

In addition to the meal, arts and crafts vendors will display their wares at the park. Live music and entertainment will be provided by Hacienda Valencia, with dancing horses and Sol del Valle’s traditional dancing girls. Country music will be performed by Sandy Smith.

Dinner will be served in the Golden Stag Hall, and is also available for takeout. The cost is $12 for adults and $6 for children. Sponsored by the Patrons Club, the proceeds are used for community restoration projects, student scholarships and more. Call Mary Ann Vischer at (209) 376-2320 for details.

• Developing future scientists and leaders is the goal of the NatureBridge teen summer program. Students are immersed in the Sierra Nevada backcountry for two weeks of field-based research. The skills learned outdoors can then be applied to their future education and occupations.

Becky Zentmyer, course director, says, “The course is student-centered, inquiry-based learning at its most adventurous.”

Three sessions at Yosemite and one at Olympic National Park in Washington state are open for enrollment. To learn more, go to Any questions? Call (209) 379-9511, ext. 19, for Yosemite sessions or (206) 382-6212, ext. 13, for the Olympic session.

• Sonora’s Celtic Faire takes place the weekend of March 7-9 at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. A special family/education day will be held Friday, March 7. Group rates are available, and the Friday event is alcohol-free.

Traditional music and entertainment includes fire juggling, Scottish bagpipes, Scottish and Irish dancers, battles, jousting and costumed re-enactors. Food, beverage and related vendors will also be on site. Celtic bands from around the world are on the program, including Golden Bough, Tempest, Celtica, Black Irish Band and more.

Details about this event can be found at

• C.B. Mosher traveled the world and settled in California to write about his adventures. During a short-story writing workshop, Mosher will coach writers on turning their experiences into tales worth reading.

For six weeks writers of all skill levels will receive the instruction, critiquing and guidance necessary for getting published.

The work of some past participants is now in print.

This workshop is sponsored by the Mariposa County Arts CouncilThe first class will be held Wednesday, March 12, from 6-9 p.m. in MCAC’s Treetop Gallery. Registration is $50 and must be submitted by March 6. Go to or call (209) 966-3155 for more information.

Mosher has several stories, books, textbook chapters and scientific articles to his credit. To learn more about the author, go to