About three years ago, I took my son to Yosemite National Park for a day hike.
Josh was a high school freshman back then but had done a few mountainous hikes including Sierra Nevada’s Horsetail Falls and a few along the Santa Cruz Mountains.
He just graduated but wasn’t too old to join me on a return visit last week along one of popular Yosemite trails – Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.
This nearly seven-mile round trip hike consists of 4,000-feet elevation from the trailhead at Happy Isles shuttle stop. This is where most people filter in and out of the buses.
Like most hikes, you must make sure to bring plenty of water. Unfortunately, the bladder in my hydration pack sprung a leak and I was forced to empty out the water at the beginning part of the hike (as a backup, I brought an extra bottled water for such an emergency).
The three-mile ascent to Vernal Fall served as a warm up of sort. It’s also the most congested part as hikers of all levels take this route to the Mist Trail – postcard moments here for the shutterbug, beginning at the bridge overlook – and the John Muir Trail.
We got drenched on our previous visit on the Mist Trail due to a strong runoff from the snow pack that year coupled with going in April rather than June. Spring is usually the best time to catch the waterfalls in Yosemite.
The Mist Trail this time around was more like a fine spray. No matter, we took it anyway since our small group had a few first-time visitors to the park.
After stopping at a peaceful spot atop Vernal Fall for lunch, we continued on to Nevada Fall, which, according to the sign, was another 1.3 miles. Sounds easy? Not so when you’re traversing uphill along the spiral, craggy staircase trail.
By then, the crowds thin out along the trail. For the most part, the degree of difficulty is medium to strenuous, but you soldier on and do your best while taking in the view. That’s what makes Yosemite so spectacular come any time of the year.
I still can’t believe I still have friends that have never been to this place.
Not only did we make to the top, but we had to do so with our water supply nearly spent. Our return trip was backtracking from the Mist Trail to the bridge overlook at Vernal Fall, where the drinking water was aplenty from the tap.
From there – just like we did three years ago – Josh and I did the downhill run on the final leg back to the trailhead.
Some things never get old.
By VINCE REMBULAT
209 staff reporter