Last weekend, 4 of us went up to Yosemite for a 5-day weekend in the woods. The original intent was to climb half-dome on Sunday, but with the Sierra getting about 50% more snow than normal, there was still enough snow on the top & sides of the infamous structure to delay the cables going up until about 3 days later, rendering us to come up with a plan B. Fortunately, plan B provided enough adventure for my next post.
We ended up staying outside of the park, which at first was viewed as a PITA, but in hindsight, is the way to go during the Disneyland season of Memorial Day to Labor Day. Resting in Mariposa/Midpines, I insisted on getting up at 430am everyday, so that we could avoid the "morning commute". This was the scene at about 4:40am everyday for us:
Water boiling, coffee mugs ready to accept hot water and starbucks readybrew:
Friday, we tackled the Upper Yosemite trail, with a little off-shoot onto Yosemite point. Shortly after parking the car, we could see the moon just about to go in hiding before we started our day:
It didn't take long to walk and get excited about what we were about to go and see:
Upper & Lower Yosemite falls:
The trail is a little unique such that it takes you away from the falls a bit, which ended up adding to the dramatic effect. As I turned a corner, a heard, and felt, a boom that instinctually made me think of an earthquake, avalanche or rock slide. Nope, it was the not-so-constant roar of North America's highest waterfall raging at over 2,000 gallons per second and running at 384% the capacity of last June.
We made our way up to Yosemite point, affording us unique views of the valley, that we'd only continue seeing in the next few days, only from better vantage points. Below, you can get a slight taste of the flooding experienced in Yosemite valley from all the run off:
On the way back down, we found a little unadvertised off-shoot from the main trail that allowed for better viewpoints of some of the main attractions:
Upper Yosemite, with Half Dome in the background, under a blue sky that can only be replicated in the Sierra:
Looking down over lower Yosemite, with mother nature putting on a show of her own:
As I was taking the above photo, some clouds rolled in over the top of Yosemite falls, making for an almost seamless transition of white clouds over white water, metaphorically, as if water was falling from the sky:
If you look closely, you can see a rope going over the falls, which is for people to walk across. Down in the infamous camp 4 section, you can find people practicing. Yeah, no thanks.
Saturday, we tackled 4 mile trail, followed by the Panoramic trail. We actually walked away from the trail start, so that we could get a glimpse of some of the flooded areas:
In the calmness of the morning, both from campsites, and in nature, can be some of the best times to catch views like this, without anyone around:
4 Mile trail is about 4 miles straight up via way too many switchbacks, providing vantage points from the other side of the valley.
Here is El Cap, waking up from through the trees:
Once we saw this view, we knew we were getting to the end of our little 4 mile warm up. It's funny when you see little overhangs like this, because you think "I could totally go hang out on the rock", but once you get up to it, there's not a chance in hell I would do so:
After quickly stopping at Glacier point from some food, we got on our way to Panaramic Trail over to Nevada Falls, with a few stops along the way.
One of my favorite things about this park is that it isn't idiot proof. Desi likened it to a death trap. There are so many places in the park where there aren't poles, or any kind of safety mechanism to prevent you from something that Darwin would laugh at. Hell, even Yosemite wonders how many every year (top left):
Arriving at Nevada falls, I was eager to compare how different it would be now, compared to when we were there last October. While Yosemite falls had a non-rhythmic sound, Nevada falls more like a Jet Engine. As expected, the water was absolutely dumping over the falls, giving new meaning to the trail below it called "The Mist Trail":
Tack on the next days hike which will get it's own post, and I am a changed man from being in the wilderness for 3 days. I think anyone who has done such a thing probably "gets it". It's no reason why the below conversation happened, and I'm sure glad it did: