Yosemite was INCREDIBLE. None of the pictures I can show you do this experience justice. I have to admit, I was slightly hesitant, going to a national park all by myself. I did my research and found that the most prominent danger to a young solo female is to encounter a bear. I figured that even my amazing boyfriend wasn’t going to win a fight with a bear if he were present, so I went anyway.
Luckily, I did not see a single bear. There were a few squirrels though, and they scared the freaking daylights out of me!
I arrived at the park Monday afternoon. After checking into my hotel (about 15 miles from the South entrance), I drove up to the park to check out the sequoia trees. I didn’t know anything much about trees when I got there, but I knew I was about to see some really big trees.
OMG. SO BIG.
I learned that sequoia trees have the widest girth, while the redwood trees are the tallest. I did see some redwoods on my trip as well. They were all really big.
Tuesday morning I headed down to the Valley floor. I knew it was 35 miles from the park entrance, and estimated it would take about 90 minutes to get there. I didn’t account for the fact I was going to want to stop and take pictures on the drive though. I don’t know how long it actually took to get there, nor was I too worried about what time it was at this point.
I made it to the Visitor’s Center and after some encouragement from the park ranger that the trails were heavily populated, decided that I was going to hike the Vernal/Nevada Falls Trail. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to go, but I figured I would see what happened.
The first part of the trail was steep, but paved. After about an hour, I felt a few drops of rain. I had read that rain = slippery = extremely dangerous. This was the first time I thought about turning around. It was also the where I met my new friends, Mark and Marie.
We decided that the rain was a fleeting happenstance and that we could keep going. I wanted to go too, but it no longer seemed safe to go on alone, so I asked if I could tag along. They were extremely welcoming and a great couple to spend the day with!
Thanks to their motivation, encouragement, and patience, we made it all the way to the top of the Nevada Falls!
See my hand in that picture? I am hanging on to the guard rail, shaking, because I am standing directly over a 1000 foot drop. Absolutely terrifying and exhilarating!
The whole climb (and descent) was terrifying, and I wanted to turn around so many times! But I knew I couldn’t let my new friends down, and I sure as heck wasn’t going down by myself. I am soooo proud of myself for doing it!
One of the top 5 days of my life!
The hike in all took about 6.5 hours. We got to the bottom of the trail and split ways about an hour before sunset. I really wanted to checkout Mirror Lake before I left the park since I wasn’t planning on coming back the next day.
I was exhausted and hungry, but decided to just go for it. The trail was only a mile out and it was FLAT. A magical word at that point in the day!
It was worth it.
Then I drove out of the park, saw a great sunset, and an awe inspiring moon. I stopped at an Italian restaurant and had a giant slab of lasagna, then promptly passed out in bed for 10 hours. Glorious.