We headed to Curry Village to make breakfast and get some coffee before doing the approach trail to Snake Dike, in preparation for climbing it with our friends Gretchen and Jax the following day. We figured we save ourselves some time by making sure we knew exactly where the climber’s trail breaks away from the main trail… sometimes finding these can be tricky. We began hiking from Happy Isles, following the Mist Trail past Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. The trail to Vernal Falls involves a lot of up hill, with a long section of steep stone stairs. From Vernal Falls to Nevada Falls the terrain is a less steep due to the switch backs in the trail. After reaching Nevada Falls we stopped to eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we packed.
After Nevada Falls, the trail mellows into a gravel/sandy path as it heads towards Little Yosemite Valley. After a few minutes of hiking, we knew we had missed the climbers trail based on the geography, so we turned around and watched more carefully for the trail. While checking what we thought could be our trail, Alex caught a shoelace on a branch across the trail and took a fall, dragging the branch with her. As she caught herself with her hands, she heard the familiar rattle noise coming from off the trail to her left. “Glad I didn’t fall over there!” she thought. Sorry mom :o)
After retreating and finding the real trail, we continued along it until we got close to the boulder/slab areas near the base of Half Dome. Happy with finding the approach, we turned around and began our descent to The Valley, this time, partly via the John Muir Trail. This trail though longer, was less steep, but was like a slanted, pokey cobblestone road… not the most pleasant to walk on. It did, however, provide spectacular views of the falls below.
It was Dave’s turn to be the grumbly one, feeling drained and tired of being in the sun and heat. WE spent a great deal of time talking about icy drinks when we got back to The Valley floor. Despite Dave’s grumbles, he encouraged others who he said looked as grumbly and disheartened as he felt. A small boy was walking up the trail with his parents, and we overheard him say in a tired and defeated voice: “I’m done, this is good enough, I just want to turn around now.” Dave responded with, “You don’t want to do that! You are SOOOOO close! You have MAYBE 20 more minutes and you will be there! The view is awesome and there is a pool of water I bet your parents will let you cool off in!“ Dave hoped his little pep talk would help.
In usual Dave style, towards the end of the trail, where it became more “touristy” he perked up a bit and began running towards the trailhead. When Alex met him there he bought them frozen fruit juice bars from a concession stand while Alex dumped gravel from her shoes… remembering why she usually doesn’t like to hike in shorts. The bars were a fantastic, cold treat that helped make the walk back to where they parked in Curry Village a bit better. In Curry Village, Dave ran into the store to buy some Gatorades while Alex saved them a table. Dave returned shortly with 3 bottles of Gatorade… one almost empty. Alex began drinking one, and before long all 3 disappeared.
Next, we headed to Glacier Point to see the views of The Valley from high above, before continuing out the Wawona Entrance to the park to find a place to sleep for the night. Tomorrow, we headed to Fresno to get new brakes on the car. Thoughts of Fresno are always a bit bitter to us. On our first trip out West, after an epic climbing/backpacking outing with the infamous Doug, all we wanted was a big juicy cheeseburger and fries. Fresno let us down… it seemed sketchy and we could not find anywhere open to eat but a place that proved to have nothing but chillie and cheese… chillie cheese fries, chillie cheese burgers, chillie cheese dogs, chillie cheese french fries in a wrap. After a few bites, none of us could stomach it… and we drove away hungry. Needless to say, we were not looking forward to returning to Fresno.