Sunday, May 04, 2008

Yosemite - Vernal Falls Trail

On Saturday May 3rd, we went to Yosemite National Park. I highly recommend that you don't go there as you might annoy me by making it too crowded. As always, Yosemite was beautiful. It was beautiful before you were born, and it will be beautiful after you die. The pace of change there for the granite, water falls, and forests is on a timescale so far outside that of a human that it seems eternal. The ethereal beauty is likewise timeless.


On this trip, we took the Vernal Falls trail to the top. You can read about the trail here. It rises 1,000 feet over about 1.5 miles, although you actually walk about 1/2 mile from the parking area just to get to the trail head for a round-trip approximating 4 miles. I'd previously been up Vernal falls 13 years ago. At that time, there were a couple of factors that made this trip really, really hard. Back then, it was a wet year in the park and the water was running down the stairs on the "Mist" trail. It was enough to make you think they "Missed" the naming on that trail and should have called it the "feet are under 3 inches of water, drenched to the bone, watch your step trail". Also, I was out of shape on that trip. It was like climbing the face of Kolvir - those of you who have read Roger Zelazny will know about Kolvir. Anyway, this time I was in much better shape and there was a lot less water. You still got wet, but not drenched, and you could keep your feet dry if you were careful. I still needed to put my camera in a large zip-lock bag, but otherwise it was great. This time the trail seemed relatively easy even though you climb 600 granite steps and 600 feet in elevation over the last quarter mile.

What a spectacular view! Yosemite never fails to humble and amaze.


As usual, there were some free-loaders there in the park. It's a $250 fine if you feed them - but enough people must risk this fine that the animals get a lot of handouts. I imagine they don't try to fine the squirrels, and so they swarm all around you and even on you.


Anyway, as long as it isn't a day when I will be there, this hike is strongly recommended. On my days there, you need to stay home!

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