The Great Southwest Trip 2017


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Saturday, September 30

And again, I am lucky enough to be able to wake up in a beautiful place and hang out with wonderful people.

Yosemite Valley used to be a yearly camping trip, but I got busy and it got crowded; I came back in 2016 at the end of September, and fell in love with it all over again. I was so happy to be there!

We all got up at various times and had breakfast and talked about what we wanted to do. Nobody else wanted to hike down from Glacier Point, but since Sherry and Todd had never seen Yosemite, they offered to give me a ride up there and then they'd go sightseeing while I hiked back to camp.

Our campsite, which actually worked pretty well considering that we had six people, two vehicles and two tents in it.

Sherry is in the bear box trying to find something. The bear box started out waaay too full but as we ate stuff, it was easier to organize everything.

And on the right, a hitchhiker on my truck...ew.

So about 10 am, Todd, Sherry and I piled into their car and started off for Glacier Point. On Saturday, September 30. Which happened to be an Open Parks (aka free) day all across the country. Which hadn't been announced yet when I got the camping permit...
On the way up to Glacier Point, this is looking across at the exit road.

We got to Glacier Point just before noon, and (free day) there was a HUGE line of cars waiting to get in and park...we were about #20. Let me out here, I said, and I'll walk to the trailhead. So they did.

Here I am at Glacier Point. And the outlet is hidden in the rocks, like it belongs there or something. Made me laugh. I'm surprised nobody was using it...

So here are the trail markers and the warnings and stuff. It's 8.2 miles to the valley by the shortest way, which I am planning to take, which includes going down 600 stairs from the top of Vernal Fall, the Mist Stairs. I've done this hike before, and know the trails pretty well...I also know there's a part just before Nevada Fall where the trail goes uphill for a bit, so I'm prepared for that too.
The first pic shows what I'm hiking through...it was GORGEOUS.

The second one is looking down on Half Dome.

In the third, you can see both Nevada and Vernal falls, which is where I'm going-downhill to the right, swing around the end of the valley, up and over that piece of rock on the right, then down from Nevada Fall. I had figured it would take me about 4 hours, so I told everyone to expect me between 5 and 6, just in case...

Part of a burned tree, beautiful trail, Illilouette Falls (the trail crosses it) and more beautiful wood.
Illilouette Falls. Yes, they really do need all these silly looking warnings; the water seems friendly and mild, but the edge of the fall is sharp; if you slip, you go over, and don't think it doesn't happen...
I was up there an hour ago! And oh, god, the trail is going up...and up...and up... Time for a grasshopper break!
It really was a gorgeous hike, although the uphill part was WAAAY worse than I remembered. But here are a lizard, a butterfly and a raven, so it's worth the effort!
Look how far I've descended...I'm almost even with the base of Half Dome...and now Nevada Fall is getting closer.
Nevada Fall! The view out over the valley...and the fall itself. And there I am on the bridge, ready to do the last 2.5 miles to the campground!
This guy was from San Jose; he was out backpacking with his stuffed dog, Howard. This is looking back up the trail down from Nevada Fall. A squirrel yelling at the hikers. Loudly. The fall from the trail down.
Three shots of the actual trail, with people so you can see how steep/wierd it is. The last mile up to (or in my case, the first mile down from) Nevada Fall are just killer.

Looking back DOWN on Vernal Fall

And ACROSS at Nevada Fall!

So I'm near the top of Vernal Fall, and I'm a little worried about the Mist Stairs, because I've been down them before, they're REALLY HARD, and I'm tired. I've hiked about six and a half miles, and there's still these stairs to do. And then I see this sign, and I think, Great! An easy short cut around the stairs. And I went...UP. And up. And up. Turns out the 'easy short cut' took me BACK UP almost as high as Nevada Fall (remember, I just came down from there) to the John Muir trail, which I hate because it used to be paved, and now the old asphalt is worn smooth and it's slippery...and oh, by the way, this 'short cut' has now added TWO MILES to my hike!!!

But by the time I figured it out, I was committed, so I just did it. Cursing the rangers the whole way.

This is the trail that never ends... You can see Vernal Fall up through the trees. I'm on the bridge here. Pretty! Almost back in camp..
I got back at 6, and chilled a bit before making dinner. Diana worked on my neck (thank you Diana!) and dinner was good, and I didn't have to do dishes, yay! The propane can ran out, and the whole bottom of it frosted up...kinda cool.
After dinner we had the ceremonial Roasting of the Peeps and all posed for a pretty nice group shot!
But wait! What did everyone else do all day? Diana hung out and relaxed. Erica and Rey left after Todd, Sherry and I did, and they hiked up to the Mist Stairs...here are their pictures:
And Todd and Sherry hung out at Glacier Point for a while, then drove down, stopping (or trying to) at various viewpoints...remember how it's an Open Park day? Evidently all the buses of tourists arrived in the afternoon...they said driving down from Glacier Point was not at all good...but the views certainly were!