San Francisco and Yosemite Diary
Saturday 11th to Wednesday 22nd October 2003

October 17th
Vernal and Nevada Falls

Time for my first hike in Yosemite. The day was bright and sunny, just a little chill in the air. Walking along the valley to the Village I saw a few deer. I had arranged to meet Jeff outside the Ansel Adams store at 9 a.m., but I was still pleasantly surprised to find he was actually there when I arrived at 08:58, having spent the night just outside the park. I offered three choices, having bought a map and guide the day before. The tough choice was Yosemite Falls, the easy choice Mirror Lake, and the medium choice Vernal and Nevada Falls. He wisely picked the middle option. I bought a packed lunch and we drove to the trail head. Almsot immediately after leaving the parking lot we got lost in a maze of trails. We asked advice from a solo hiker, who turned out to be an American anesthesiologist called Mark who was also adding a trip to Yosemite to the ASA conference. The three of us got on well and had a great time together.

There was a very steep hike up a staircase to the first falls, and I lagged behind. However, once we had caught up and admired the spectacular view for a while, the others decided they wanted to move away from the river to avoid a second steep ascent to Nevada Falls, so I didn't feel too bad!

Once we got to a trail intersection, Jeff reluctantly decided he should turn back, as he had a flight to catch at SF airport that evening. Mark and I continued on, had lunch above Nevada Falls, then headed down. It was a great trip, even if we got lost again trying to find our way back to Mark's car!

I cannot recommend this hike highly enough. I add my voice to the consensus that if you only have time for one hike, this is the one to do. Even only doing the first fall would be a nice trip, and hardier souls could go beyond Nevada Falls, and even head up Half Dome.

Steep path up to Vernal Falls
Top of Vernal Falls
Vernal Falls

Jeff and Mark, Liberty Cap in background
Jeff heads home

Nevada Falls
River on way down