Sunday started super early for Josh, J and me. We were up and packing our backpacks at 5:30. C slept through it all. It had been decided the night before, that she would take on a lesser hike with her G-ma and the rest of the non-half domers.
The Half Dome group consisted of myself, Joshua, my bro Garrett, and my parents. Oh yea... and J in the ERGO.
We started our hike along the river and I decided to stretch a bit before we began. Good thing I did too... the hike gets right into it. We had a very long, steep, uphill trek right off the bat.
When we first started, Josh was sportin' out tot. We eventually discovered that the backpack I had on was heavier and traded. He's so nice to me....
The first milestone you hit is the crossover bridge at the foot of Vernal Falls. It's super pretty and we were able to take a couple pictures here and use the restroom.
At this point, the mist trail begins. Here is a description from Yahoo Travel:
"This hike is also known as the Mist Trail because it passes right beside Vernal Falls, which in the spring blows a heavy mist everywhere. This 1.4 mile roundtrip hike is considered a moderate hike, with a steep 400-foot elevation gain in just over a mile. It is recommended that you wear shoes that grip as the path can be slippery. You can see the rushing water from the Vernal Falls Footbridge as well as the top of the falls in the distance. This is probably the busiest and most crowded hike in the Valley, small wonder given the loveliness of the trail. Plan on spending an hour or two on your walk. The trail may be closed in winter."
Once you reach the top, you can (while safely standing behind the guard rail) peek over the top of the falls. We posed for pictures here too.
We paused here for some snacks. Funny story.... I didn't notice till the last second, but J was holding a pretzel out to feed a squirrel. When I looked and saw how close it was, I was worried it would bite him. The squirrels are fearless up there. They tell you not to feed them, because it teaches them not to be afraid of humans. It's that fear, though, that keeps them a safe distance from us. Well.... I guess plenty of people don't follow that rule, and we had a very brave squirrel come for a snack. I had an open bag of snack mix in my hand when I swiped at him and yelled, "NO". Yea.. snack mix everywhere. Dang squirrel ended up with a feast.
Now, on a side note, this is the spot where the three hikers went over the falls on that Tuesday. They climbed the rails to get photos and when one slipped, two more attempted a rescue. They all three were swept over the falls.
Lesson: Enjoy the beauty of nature without taking risks. Keep their families in prayer ok?
Moving on from that point, the hike intensity mellowed a bit for us. Funny... I said to my mom, "hey.. this isn't so bad... I could do this for a while..."
The weather was perfect for us. Even though much of the next portion of the hike was in direct sunlight, it wasn't so hot that we were miserable. And the trek up to Nevada Falls (the falls above Vernal) wasn't super misty. It was the easiest part for sure. Once we made it to the base of Nevada, we paused for more photos and to give the J man a snack.
You can see that the ground is mostly flat at this point.
A bit of upward hiking and we hit the top of the falls.
I saw this cool babywearing tourist family and I had to snap a photo. I zoomed waaayyy in so that they wouldn't notice and think I was a creep-o.
I'll stop there for now.. It's getting late and my sleeping boy on my lap needs to get put in bed. Stay tuned for the rest!