Monday, July 20, 2009

Yosemite Hike

Most of the times I've gone to Yosemite, its been as a tour guide with a first-time visitor. So I always did one of the two popular routes in the park - Wawona Road + Glacier Point Road or Tioga Road, which cuts across the park - to hit the must-see attractions like Bridalveil Falls, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, etc. Its been a long-time wish to visit the roads - and attractions - less travelled in the park and on Saturday, I finally got the chance to do that as we made a day trip with the wife's cousin's family.

This weekend was a free - as in, no entrance fee - weekend at Yosemite and the usually crowded park was even more crowded. Parking lots were overflowing and parked cars lined the roadsides close to all the popular spots. Our target was the hike to Vernal Falls but after trying in vain to find a parking space in Curry Village(the closest point to the trailhead), we gave up and the frustration was so hight that we actually decided to head back home. The silver lining was that this made us stop at one of the numerous places alongside Merced River to let the kids cool down and wade in the water. Aside from being fun for the kids, the spot offered a cool view of Bridalveil Falls across the river.

The stop cooled us down a bit and we decided to try our luck once again and so headed back to Curry Village. This time we did find a spot and the day looking better already, we took the shuttle to the trailhead. A beautiful view of the river greeted us right at the start of the trail.

We got the feel of a real hike right at the beginning of the walk as we spotted a rattlesnake coiled up at the base of a tree.

The first part of the hike, which is 0.8 miles long, took us to a footbridge that gave us a view of Vernal Falls in the distance. The trail was at an incline for the most part and so quite strenuous, especially for the kids. The reward though was a pretty sight with the waterfall itself and the creek from it flowing over the rocks.

The womenfolk and the kids headed back from the bridge while Sundar and I pressed on towards the falls. The views ofcourse got progressively better as we walked the trail and were amazing as we got real close to the base of the falls.

The trail got steeper and we had to climb steps. The mist spraying from the waterfall was strong enough to form puddles and make the steps real slippery. But it was a great feeling watching the water thundering down the wall while the mist sprayed on us. The rainbow forming at the base as the water washed over the rocks was just icing on the cake. I'd earned the ire of the rest of the gang for several things that day but those moments made it all worth it :)

Satisfied, we headed back instead of going all the way to the top of the falls. From the parking lot we drove to Glacier Point to try and catch the sunset. We missed it by a few minutes but the colors in the sky were still a nice consolation.

On this trip, I sampled a small part of Yosemite that I hadn't seen before. But its only whetted my appetite to see more of its beauty...


At 5:44 AM, Blogger Dot said...

What's with travel blog and serpents?? Most bloggers don't fail to post pics of serpent..ewww. Similar to spoiler alert for movies, there should be alert for distasteful snaps :)

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji,

Trip pictures are really good...
On a side note:
Did you check out Sify/telugu?

Radha's daughter is debuting with Nagarjuna's son...
She looks totally different from her mom...

Romba avasiyamana news! thought I will share it with you.. because the slide show had a very nice picture of Amala....


At 9:49 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, the misty trail is absolutely gorgeous and one realizes how much you have climbed/scaled more so when you begin the downward descent!

My husband and I continued on to do the Half Dome - first time I went all the way up, and the second time I stopped at the base while he continued on. The views just get more and more amazing and you proceed on. You must try it. The misty trail on the way down gets a little arduous, because you desperately want to finish trekking and the steep slippery steps get quite daunting, and pretty hard on the knees climbing down.

Glad you guys went back and tried the parking lot again!

At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Prakash said...

Yeah, I really loved the Vernal Falls hike too. We had a couple slightly elderly people who were finding the climb tough, but it was so beautiful, they just keep going.

Sigh ... times like these, I miss the Bay Area ...

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Kay said...

Oooh! I envy you. I would give my eye teeth to hike 8 miles. My goal is to hike El Capitan one day. Let us see..

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice! i enjoyed the hike, when I did it several years ago - when i was young and fit!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

dot, not a big fan of snakes - and all things reptilian - myself but seeing it this time was a thrill :)

sujatha, thanx! actually 2 photos of Amala. looking pretty as ever :)

shwetha, half-dome?! Wow, that IS great. me, i'm not even aiming that high(pun unintended!) for now. i'll be happy if i make it to nevada falls one of these days :)

prakash, times like these, I'm glad I'm in the bay area :)

kay, 8 miles? its 0.8 miles to the bridge. we'd have probably hiked another mile or so. and El Capitan? do u mean Half-Dome? El Capitan would be climbing and not hiking I think :)

sreela, good for u! this is one of those things i miss doing when i was young and fit. but better late than never :)


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