Friday, June 12, 2009

We Won't Need Rain Pants

Yosemite is known for it's scenic hiking, and one of the most popular trails is the Mist Trail. Eric, myself, and our friend Jen decided to visit this trail during our most recent visit to the valley. Everyone knows that hiking the mist trail during the spring is the best time to do it. Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls are raging, and the water is blasting at full force. It's a very popular hike during this time, but we decided to do it anyway. Our plan was to get to the trail as soon as we got to the valley, because Jen wanted to run up to half-dome.

Vernal Falls

When we got to the valley the weather was dim. Gray storm clouds rested peacefully on top of the giant granite walls that tower over the valley floor. We had our sun roof open so we could see the top of the walls, and it started to rain a little. We still decided to go on our hike. Fate also gifted us with a parking spot at Curry Village. We had some lunch, threw on our boots, and headed to the trail. We opted to leave our rain pants in the car however, because we didn't think we were going to need them. Good thing we had enough sense to bring our shell jackets.

The gray sky

Jen decided to not do Half Dome because of time so she headed up the mist trail with us. The hike started off pretty dry, but when we reached the bridge everyone realized how much water we were dealing with. I have been to Yosemite many times, but I have never seen Vernal Falls as powerful as it was this time. There was so much was breathtaking. We started with the rest of the hike up the cut stone steps. Doing the stairs always amazes me. Going up stairs for a long time is totally a chore, but when you add a gushing waterfall soaking you wet to the bone, you seem to forget all about being out of breath. The scene was so lush, the bushes and trees so green. It felt like we were in a tropical paradise. A rainy, tropical paradise.

Jen checking out Vernal Falls

We made it to the top of Vernal Falls and we were soaking wet from the waterfall. We decided to keep on hiking to Nevada Falls, but little did we know we were about to get a lot more wet. We started for Nevada Falls. When taking a break, we ran into some hikers that were trying to talk their friend into taking the Mist Trail back to the car. He didn't want to get wet, so he was talking about taking the long way back. Our friend Jen reached into her backpack and pulled out a poncho. She gave it to the hiker, and told him to use it. His friends all made fun of him for being such a baby, but he still accepted Jen's gift. His friends gifted him with a new nickname, "Poncho". Literally, a minute after we gave Poncho his rain gear for the falls, it actually started to rain.

Eric and I soaking wet

We hiked up a little further, but it stated to rain a little harder. We turned back and headed for the car, everyone (except Jen) put on their rain jackets, and headed for the top of the stairs. As soon as we got to the stairs, BOOM! There was a huge crack of thunder, and we saw lighting. Great..... It started to pour. It was raining so hard, there was practically a flash flood following us down the stairs. I thought I was wet before, but now, I was soaked. I was soaked, and it was magical. I have done the mist trail a few times, but this was the most fun I have ever had on it. Hiking in the rain is always exciting, but add thunder and lightning, and you have a completely new type of energy. It was magnificent to see the valley in such conditions. Beautiful views graced us all the way down the trail, and we took a lot of great pictures. When I got back to the car I had about two inches of water in each boot, but it was worth it.

A view from the top of Vernal Falls