16 June 2016 – Yesterday we were up on the rim looking down 4000 ft to the valley floor. Today we were hiking in the Yosemite valley floor looking 4000 ft up. We took the highly rated Mist Trail which leads to 3 waterfalls. However, we only had time (and energy) to reach the first set at Vernal Falls.
1.5 miles of 10 degree incline gaining 1000 ft is quite a challenge for little legs. Plus, we aren’t in full hiking shape this year. After yesterday’s climb, I mistakenly thought the hike would be easier than it was. I recorded 300 flights of stairs on my fitness tracker.
The park was not overly crowded but even on light days the valley floor can be overwhelmed. We found parking to be something of a challenge but luckily only had to search for about 10 minutes. However, it put us about .75 miles from the trailhead.
The trail itself is paved and follows the path of the river which keeps it cool – but also increases the mosquito population as it nears evening. The trail is also really busy. Too busy for our taste, but still – its Yosemite, so one cannot complain too much.
The kids had a bit of a rough go on the incline given a lack of sleep and the strenuous hike the previous day up the Panorama trail, especially Aurelia. But we managed. The primary portion of the trail ends at the Vernal Falls bridge, where you see the lower falls directly below you. However, to see the more spectacular upper falls you have to go, that’s right, higher 🙂
We continued to the upper falls which were astounding – water falling from a straight-edged cliff making it look like a curtain. The trail ends and one point and continues as a steep stairway cut into the granite along the river canyon. You feel both the mist of the spray as well as the vibration of the falling water. We went only a quarter way up the steps and turned around to head back down. It was just too much for the kids – and too much of a risk with them so tired.
We returned to our car at about 6:15. The sun was going down and the 70 degree weather was more like 55 – so we put on our jackets and enjoyed dinner al fresco beneath half dome amongst the majesty of Yosemite.
On the way out of Yosemite, the park decided to give us one more treat – a beautiful view of half dome during the sunset.