Some of you may have been to Vernal Falls before and will be familiar with this hike. However, when my FIL asked if I'd like to go on it, I had no idea that it would be quite like this. Let me just say, I am no mountain goat and definitely not confident when it comes to hiking steep trails. Not only was this steep, but also once you started up the Mist Trail, it was very wet!
Anyhow, after we got Dan and the kids set up for the morning, Tom(my FIL) and I headed to the shuttle stop. We didn't have to wait long before one of them came and we were on our way! The shuttle was great. It stopped at various points of interest so that you could easily get to where you were going. Once we got to our destination, we began the hike.
The first half was paved and at first gradual on the incline. Tom reminded me to take it at my own pace and not to rush. Okay...I'm not that out of shape. Soon, I found out what he meant. The hike had long, steep stretches that just burned my muscles! Thank goodness it was in the morning and the scenery was lovely. We could see much to distract me from the burn and huffing of breath! If I was not with my FIL, I might have just called it quits then, but he was a great encourager and would remind me that we didn't have to rush:-)
After what seemed a very long time, we made it to the bridge. This is what I call the half way point and if you aren't too keen on going up further, this is where you might stop. We stopped briefly to enjoy the rushing river, take a picture or two and have some water before we began our accent up the Mist Trail. Here I am, catching my breath and being awestruck by the power of this river. Behind me, if you look closely, you can see Vernal Falls.
After I caught my breath and while I still had the will to continue, we headed up. At first, I wasn't really sure why they called this the Mist Trail, but as we continued up...I soon found out! Let me just say, that if you think the first part of this trail is steep...wait until you start up the stairs! The stairs are rock cut and look like they were placed there by ancient peoples. And if I hadn't been so concerned about falling off the edge, I would have appreciated them even more:-) On top of being steep, they were really wet(I was wearing running shoes with lousy tread...next time it will be hiking boots!). After a few minutes heading up towards the stairs, we donned rain gear. I felt rather silly, but I am glad that I had it on...I would have been even wetter than I was with it on! Here I am, just heading up. To the right are rocks(which I was often found clinging too) and to the left is...river.
In the picture above, you can see the mist a little, but this next one really shows why it is so wet and why I needed the rain gear! I had to finally remove my sunglasses, because they were becoming a hazard. There was so much water on them that I could not see! I was rather wet...dripping actually:-) To the left of me, you can see, just barely, Vernal Falls. It was magnificent!
I saw several rainbows as I climbed(always with the encouragement of Tom). This particular picture(below) has a double rainbow. The upper one is barely visible in the pic, but it was lovely! Slightly higher in the climb was one that was 360 degrees. I've never seen that kind.
I have to say that there were several times my fears got pretty intense, but my FIL would just say, "You're doing great! How about we just wait for these folks?" And I'd say, "Sounds wonderful!" Tom was not expecting me to do as well as I was...nor was I! In my head, I was thinking, "Tom, I can't do it anymore, lets go back." But then I thought..no, I'm going to finish it. I told him I was too stubborn to not continue on. And you know...it was totally worth it
I am somewhat afraid of heights and if there aren't railings and it's slippery...well, that is even worse. But you know, I would do it again. The chance I had to spend with my FIL and to see the beauty of this place was too precious! Breathtaking and glorious!
Here is Vernal Falls...isn't it beautiful!?
I did make it to the top and I have some pictures. I'll post them a little later. This is an experience I will never forget. I don't think there are many words that really can express how I felt doing this and how I felt as I looked upon all the beauty around me. Perhaps my enthusiasm for it can speak my feelings.
Later in the day, Tom took Dan and the girls here. No, the girls did not go up to the top(although they were hoping Fiona might try..and there were little kids going all the way up by the way), but they did make it to the bridge. Dan went ahead by himself and Tom took the girls back down to the shuttle spot. When Dan came back, he told me he realized that it had taken alot for me to do that since it was so out of my comfort zone. At the time, I hadn't really thought about it...but he was right. I like to feel safe and in control...there I didn't always feel so, but by the time I'd gotten back down...I felt really excited by doing it. And I am glad that I did it...next year? Maybe!