Yosemite National Park
It wasn’t my first visit to Yosemite National Park, but on my previous visits I wasn’t able to hike or spend much time exploring the park. The first time my dog was with me, and as you may know, dogs are not allowed on trails in National Parks so we just camped and did a road tour through Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks. My road tour was enough to give a taste of the park and leave me wanting more however. After a visit or two more, I finally made it back and made it on the trails.
I met up with Sara and Jarrod (@fulltime_wanderers), who I met last summer in Yellowstone. We had a tough, really tough, time finding any camping in or near the park. Some roads were still closed, many campgrounds were still closed (it was the end of April), and because of the snowfall this past winter, many of the park campgrounds were limited because of flooding, possible flooding, and hazardous tree removal. We did manage to find a spot outside of the park after hours of research.
Because of all the snowfall last winter, the waterfalls were amazing this Spring!! It was still early enough to see some snow at the higher elevations too. The Mist Trail to Vernal Fall was our first hike. It is called Mist Trail for a reason. You literally hike through the mist from Vernal Fall and we were glad we had brought our rain gear. We ascended to the top of the Fall on a rock staircase that was also wet with both mist and running water. At the top, you can look over the top of the waterfall and out into the canyon overlooking the trail we had just hiked on to get there. From there you can continue on to Nevada Fall, which we decided not to do this time and instead took the John Muir Trail loop back which offered even more spectacular views.
The next day, we did a hike out to Mirror Lake in the morning and then in the afternoon we hiked the Yosemite Falls trail. A “strenuous climb” is what I believe the sign said along with X number of switchbacks (not good with numbers or purposely forgotten?). Although a few areas of flat and downhill, it was primarily a continuous climb to the top of Upper Yosemite Fall via the many switchbacks. I would stop and take a picture of El Cap and Upper Yosemite Fall thinking it was an amazing view, only to reach the next level of switchbacks and have an even better view. Needless to say I had a lot of similar, yet different, shots to sort through afterwards. And while it was a good climb, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had thought it would be. There was a sense of accomplishment when we reached the top and looked out over the valley. And another sense of accomplishment once we had made it back to the trailhead.
Yosemite is yet another place that holds a piece of my heart, and I don’t think it is possible for me to ever get tired of visiting or exploring. The mountains are always a welcome salve for my soul. It can always be a bit crazy with camping and lodging, especially this year, but Yosemite National Park is definitely a place you should add to your travel list.
Click through the gallery below of some of the amazing views Yosemite has to offer. (Always better to see in person though!) Click to enlarge photos.