3:30 am, I pull into the dark, ghostly underbelly of Yosemite park. The sky is illuminated by the lights of the stars watching curiously over us as we gaze around into the valley. The Sky is dark, but dimly lit by the fairy like dots within. Just enough to contrast the alluring silhouette of the granite ridgelines around us. Peering up at the allusion of the day to come, we hear only the cool spring breeze, and the crashing roar of waterfalls hiding just behind what the darkness shields. Perhaps defending us from the mesmerizing sights that our tired minds cannot yet comprehend. An 8 hour flight, and 4 hours of driving have left us exhausted. A quick two hour slumber in the car, and we hit the trails as the sun stretches it’s rested arms around the valley.
The Next Few Days
We begin our journey by assaulting the mist trail. long, towering steps wind up and around the magnificent Mist Trails slipping below Vernal, and Nevada falls. Indulging in the misty touch of the falls is as effortless as the water falling itself. The cool breeze is rewarding frosty treat to our sweaty bodies. Looping up behind Half Dome, we then slip away into the Little Yosemite Valley for a nights rest, we take time to enjoy the beautiful Merced river lush with wildlife, and plants.
From there we retreat back to Yosemite Valley, opting to take the gentler slopes of the Jon Muir Trail, avoiding the thousands of stairs and hundreds of people. The road less traveled, is often the road more enjoyed. The trickling watervents cool us as we encase the valley walls with our tiny footsteps, quickly forgotten before anyone can ever hear them. Eventually falling into the valey, we explore the lower elevations and enjoy some shopping, resupplying, and engulfing ourselves in a hot meal prepared in the cafe. A nice change of pace after two days of hard hiking. Well deserved, we sleep in the valley to prepare for our following venture out of the valleys grips.
Next, We ascend the lumbering trial of Yosemite Falls, 4 hours of constant stair climbs and switchbacks, elude the crowds as you enter into the back country for a gentle nights sleep under the gentle glow of the western sunset.
Then, climbing high above even the valley ridge, Indian Rock awaits our approval, instead we ask it of ours as we stare in awe of the amazing views that unsuspecting visitors attain as they climb it’s elderly lap.Bright and early, we escape further and make pace towards North Dome. Amazing views of the valley restore faith to our aching calves and arches. To shimmy across the valley ridge is to two step with the clouds, and sing to the songs of the glacier fed cool breezes as they brush their soft hair across your cheeks. Standing in the sandy, desert grains high in the clouds, looking into the lush green waterfall fed valley, and out onto the glacier ridden high country is truly an amazing sensation. Savor this.
Finally, extending our farewell we slip off into the dark night, descending the steep rock walls above Mirror Lake. Our final stop is a gentle nights sleep in the famous Yosemite Valley itself.
Some words of Advice to future travelers