Hikers recovered bales of marijuana from a plane crash in Yosemite. Photo by Ron Lykins, via Rick Schloss

The day weed fell over Yosemite

Marijuana once fell from the sky in Yosemite. In December 1976, a drug smuggler’s plane ran into engine trouble over the park and crashed near a high-altitude lake about 10 miles from Yosemite Valley, killing its two pilots.

Word got out to the valley’s community of so-called dirtbags, a ragtag group of outlaw rock climbers, that there were 3 tons of Mexican red-hair marijuana sitting in the snow. “It was like the Klondike gold rush,” a ranger later told the Fresno Bee.

Climbers and park workers trudged through the chilly backcountry in search of the wreckage and returned with bundles of marijuana the size of hay bales. Wild parties were thrown. Climbers who once dived dumpsters for food were suddenly buying cars and new packs. One climber was rumored to use cash from his haul to fund a successful climbing company.

Men’s Journal

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