Thursday, October 31, 2019
Mist Trail – Vernal and Nevada Falls – Yosemite NP
Ian, Court, Kelly, Ryan
This hike is the beginning of what would have been our hike to Half Dome, but as I mentioned in the last post, we had to cancel that trip due to weather. This is a tough hike, don’t let anyone fool you. 10 miles round trip from the parking lot at Curry Village.
I had looked at the topo map before the hike, but wasn’t expecting it to basically start to go straight up from the very beginning. Get ready calves! The trail starts off paved, but at about a 30 degree angle for a while and then it evens out until you reach the long set of stairs heading up to the first set of falls on this hike, Vernal Falls. Since we were there late in the season the falls were not flowing very strong, but they were still beautiful.
The stairs were a real life version of the stairs up to Cirith Ungol (nerd alert) in Lord of the Rings. There was no Shelob at the top though.
After a quick rest at the top where we fended off the well-fed squirrels trying to get at our snacks, we continued on and soon got our first glimpse of Nevada Falls.
More steps were to come.
But we made it. I erroneously thought that the rock formation in front of us was Half Dome, but it was actually Liberty Cap. Gotta get better at reading those topo maps.
Had we climbed Half Dome we would have kept going up from here, but instead we took the John Muir Trail back down to the valley. There was a short section that was pretty icy and will probably be closed in the next few weeks due to treacherous conditions.
The trail switchbacked all the way back down to the valley and we were glad to have our trekking poles to cushion the descent, as we were going at a pretty quick pace to try and get back to the visitor center before it closed, which we did. This was a beautiful and challenging hike that everyone who goes to Yosemite should do if they are able.