USA Travel Diary Day 10 – Yosemite National Park

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.

Cosy Bear Cottages
Cosy Bear Cottages

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.

Merced River
Merced River

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.

Ground squirrel
Ground squirrel

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.

Steps to Vernal Falls
Steps to Vernal Falls

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).

Vernal Falls
Vernal Falls

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.

Climbing El Capitan
Climbing El Capitan

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.

El Capitan
El Capitan

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s