Yosemite is a beautiful place, so we wanted to share our journey. If you need to catch up, you can check out the first two parts here:
Day 3 - Vernal Falls Hike
Trails Used: Mist Trail to the top, John Muir Trail back down
Trek: 8ish miles
Elevation: 6,500 feet
End Point: Yosemite Valley Floor
So here's the thing. Kyle & I didn't really train for Yosemite. We did the stairclimber at the gym for an hour like twice and thought we were good to go. We work out, we're in good shape, we definitely fuel properly. What could be the problem? Well, come to find out...hiking for that many miles, through tough terrain and steep hills, for that many hours a day...that works some different muscles, man. And boy-oh-boy were we sore.
Our original plan was to hike Cloud's Rest, a 15-mile hike at almost 10,000 feet elevation. On a typical day we would jump all over the chance to hike this, but we hurt so bad. I seriously contemplated getting a massage from the Yosemite resort, I was so sore. After 2 days of long, uphill hikes with really heavy packs, we were aching for something a little more leisurely.
And you know what? That's ok.
Sometimes it's good to listen to your body (or your heart or your gut), and do what feels right. Just because you set out on a path doesn't mean you can't change direction. So that's exactly what we did, we veered off course and went in search of a new adventure.
Vernal Falls (or any of the falls) weren't in our original plans partly because we were at Yosemite in off-season at a time of year that the falls are normally pretty dry. Lucky for us, Yosemite had record rain just days before we got there, which meant the falls were a-flowin', so we set out to hike to the top of Vernal Falls.
Distance-wise it's only a couple miles to the top, but a lot of it consists of stairs going straight up. So much for resting our sore muscles. :)
Once at the top, you could get pretty close and look out over the edge of the waterfall. But by this point I think Kyle had had enough edges, so we headed back down via the John Muir Trail.
This third day was a pretty steep departure from the two previous days. While the first 2 days of hiking were secluded and deep in the wilderness, this last day's hike was far more established and touristy. I'm glad we got to experience both.
Based on our trip here's what we would suggest for anyone interested in going to Yosemite:
Go during "off-season"- We've heard that Yosemite during the Summer is uber-crowded. Trust us, you want this experience to yourself
Hike the trails nobody is hiking - Being alone in the wilderness truly allows you to escape into nature and relax
Backwoods camp at least 1 night- This is so different than being at a campsite. Everyone should have to poo in the woods once in their life, right?
Plan easier days in between harder days- We didn't do this but wish we had - rest days are good for the body!
Back at the campsite we indulged by the fire, reminiscing about the past 3 days, and already planning our next visit. We'll be back, Yosemite. You're too beautiful to resist.