Yosemite National ParkAfter finishing my 6 days of backpacking and before the hiker bus started up to Tuolumne, which only runs at 8AM, I had a bit of time to poke around Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately, the camera had given up as I tried to take one last photo which happened to be of Upper Yosemite Falls as it is glimpsed on the return along the Mist Trail. This new camera runs on a proprietary battery and I haven't bought an extra, so that was about it with picture taking. Still, with the whole afternoon and, it being summer, evening, I have to do the touristy things. After setting up camp and getting rid of my bear canister, I hopped on the park shuttle and got off at the Yosemite Falls stop.
I wandered my way off to the right, where a path meandered its way in the vague direction of the falls. Boardwalks and pavement make the routes here accessible to all. There is some climb, but it is gentle as the path snakes around. A spur goes off to a viewing point that is meant to allow you to see the upper and lower tier together, but I went past this and so did the rest of the crowd. The crowd was large, but not so much that movement at ones own pace was awkward. Signs along the way promised I would eventually be standing on a bridge in the spray of the fall and my dimming memory had already alerted me to a wet bridge ahead.
Ahead was the bridge. The clumps of people on it stopped after a short distance from the other side. Crossing it, I still could not see the falls until I got to the edge of gathered people. The bridge was quite dry. Actually, the fall isn't even coming down in that direction and goes off to the side instead. This probably isn't the reason the signs and my memory were wrong, that is probably due to the 50% of normal water in the snow pack and the falls are already drying out. They are still a good spurt by southern California standards, but a pale shadow of their springtime exuberance.
I found a spot to watch the water fall for a bit. People set up their family photos in front of the falls and generally went about their rituals. A few kids scrambled among the boulders in the stream in disregard of the signs screaming danger from all sides and their parents let them with equal disregard. I guess they think it won't happen to their kids, but bad accidents do happen on those rocks so it has to happen to someone's kids. I've been known to bounce around on those rocks myself as a tyke. Further up, one kid seemed to be trying to find a way up the fall, but then at the highest reasonable spot, turned and started encouraging a parent to get out the camera instead.
After a while, I continued down the path which took me along the more direct route to the falls. This path warned of a steep grade I didn't really notice. It gives the missed view of both tiers together with a short central fall as it closes in on the parking lot. It also has a cute 3D bronze map of the local area. Back at the road, I probably should have gone left for the closest stop, but I crossed over to the lodge instead to continue on my way around the valley.
©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Jul 2012