It’s our final day in Yosemite and there’s been a difference of opinion about the severity of today’s trail: daughter No 2 wants to go hard core with a scaling of El Capitan, while daughter No 1 prefers the gentler Valley Floor Loop. Son-in-law is somewhere in between and I just want to relax in the cabin with a good book! A compromise is reached and we head into the valley to hike the 7 mile Mist Trail. Facts they have omitted; (1) it’s a mile from the car park to the trail head, so the 7 mile walk is in fact 9 miles (2) this includes 880 metres of elevation (3) including 600 stone steps (4) which are wet with spray from the waterfall.
After a breakfast of bacon sandwiches, during which we manage to set the fire alarm off (twice), we drive once more from our cabin down into Yosemite Valley, park up and set off for the trail, which threads up and up alongside the Merced River. The first 2 miles are hard work but manageable.
Then, as we approach Vernal Falls, we must contend with the steps. And the spray. I take off my jumper to keep it dry and daughter No 2 puts it her rucksack, together with my water. She then saunters up the steps, never to be seen again.
Not only are the steps wet and slippery, but after the first 100 or so, the handrail stops. I manage maybe 400 steps before it dawns on me what a mission it’s going to be for an old lady with a bad knee to get back down again. The others are way ahead of me. I try to gesture that I’m going back down. Then begin the treacherous descent, which is thoroughly terrifying.
Once I reach the bottom, it occurs to me that I am wet and only wearing a t shirt and it could be some time before I’m reunited with my clothes. So, in order to keep warm, I continue walking until I am out of the forest (ie back at the car, which is in a clearing).
An hour later, the kids reappear and there is a difference of opinion about what proportion of the steps I actually managed. We drive on to El Capitan picnic area, where daughter No 1 and son-in-law can’t resist having a bash at climbing the huge monolith.
Then it’s back to the cabin for our final night in Yosemite. We have been here 3 days and walked a total of 24 miles and I am shattered.