(September 8 – written by Dave)
So much for it being a rest day. Based on advice from Inge and Fran, we decided to get up early and walk the famous Mist Trail past Vernal Falls and on to Nevada Falls. Some signs said that this was 5 miles, some said that is was closer to 8. Given that it took us close to 5 hours, I’m betting that it was 8. The hike is basically up all the way to the top of Nevada Falls and back down all the way from there. Our fine, fit cycling legs were complaining loudly on the walk back down. And even on the way up for that matter. Must be using different muscles – that’s my story anyway.
After a fine brekkie of Killer Dave’s toast (you can buy just about everything in the Yosemite Valley store), we hit the trail about 8AM. People were stirring in camp, but the trail was pretty empty at this time. The morning sun was hitting the surrounding peaks but not making it to the valley floor – creating some really nice light for photographs. The falls are on the Merced River, and the Mist Trail more or less follows this up the mountain side. I took a lot of photos early on, only to discover that as we climbed, the views got even better. It was definitely a case of taking too many photos today – my senior editor didn’t mind however as it gave legs a break.
The walk back down, especially below Vernal Falls was entertaining to say the least. By now the trail was packed with people of every shape and size. And just about every type of hiking gear. We saw a man about half way up, using oxygen. We saw a guy in Top Siders. We saw women in bikini tops and men with no tops. We heard more languages than you can imagine. It was a virtual United Nations conga line at times. Boy, were we glad that we got up early!
We are a little undecided on moving on tomorrow or staying one more night here in the Valley (if a camping site is available). There is still a lot to see here. We are slightly beyond peak season but it is still mobbed. There are a lot of dying trees but otherwise Yosemite seems to have come through the California drought ok. If this is the quiet season in Yosemite, it is clearly a case of being “loved to death”. All the same, we’ve enjoyed it so far – below are some photos from today to show you where we’ve been.