We set off early from San Francisco to spend the afternoon in Yosemite. I had feared that with only one afternoon to explore Yosemite we would feel very rushed, but I needn’t have worried. We decided to spend our time in the Yosemite Valley, as the guide book recommended. After seeking some advice from a very helpful lady in the information yurt, we set off to walk the Mist trail to Vernal falls. It goes without saying that the scenery was stunning.
All the way up the trail we saw lots of bold chickeries – they look just like tiny squirrels. On our way into Yosemite we had seen lots of people swimming in the rivers, which was such an appealing idea that we packed our swimming costumes into our bags with every intention of enjoying the fresh water at some point in the afternoon.
There was a significant contrast in the heat in Yosemite compared to San Francisco and I quickly began to appreciate my investment in a Camelpak-style water bag so that I could constantly sip water on the way up to the top of the trail. At about 800ft elevation the sound and sight of Vernal Falls was utterly spectacular. We could feel the spray from the waterfall standing about 50 metres away from the edge of the water, then as we approached the edge of the rocks the most beautiful rainbows were formed from the sunlight refracting off the water spray. The beauty and enormity of the waterfall and scenery was awe-inspiring and gave that feeling of being oh so incredibly small in the whole of creation.
On our way back down the trail we found the perfect secluded spot for us to don our swimming gear and take a dip in the incredibly refreshing water. We could happily have stayed there for hours enjoying the cool water contrasted by the hot rocks.
The helpful Yosemite guide had recommended watching sunset from Glacier Point, an hour’s drive up from the valley, describing the view as inducing the feeling that you were ‘on top of the world’. These photos really don’t do the view justice. It was breathtaking and humbling – the waterfall that had made me aware of the vastness of creation in comparison to us tiny humans – suddenly seemed oh so small when all we could see were great mountains from 7400ft elevation. Rather than seeing the sun set, we served as an audience for the moon quietly, quickly rising over the top of the mountain.
I absolutely loved Yosemite and would have relished more time to explore its delights further. Definitely one of my favourite places of the trip so far.