10/22/2016- After spending a night at the Upper Pines campground, I decided to stay in the area the next morning and hike to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. After pointing hikers in the right direction to the trailhead and consulting there map it seemed like the optimal place to start. The first picture you see in the video was taken at Washburn Point and shows a bird’s eye view of the two waterfalls, Vernal & Nevada. The round trip hike was about 7.5 miles starting from Happy Isles Nature Center leading up to Vernal Falls, then Nevada Falls and looping back down via a section of the John Muir Trail that goes thru Yosemite.
This hike was packed with all the emotion you can hope for when you go on a nature walk. At one point, close to the top I thought about turning back around. I experienced some fear and doubted if I had enough water for me and Peyton. Then I was caught completely off guard when I noticed the big family that was hiking to the same falls, had gathered at a section close to the top for a memorial service to spread the ashes of a man called “Grandpa”.
The grand kids of the family loved Peyton. They met us at the parking lot, the Grandma told me how the little girl has a Golden Retriever at home named Sadie and loves dogs. As I approached the group, I heard the little girl, say Peyton! I knew what was taken place here at that moment. I felt the energy of the gathering and took off my hat as I walked past and stopped for a moment to pay respect.
It was a touching moment that reminded me of losing my Grandfather the prior year. As I sat and listened to the family and friends speak about the man that had passed, I realized how awesome this person must have been and how special a place Yosemite was. I could tell he had taken this family on this hike many times in his life. I felt sympathy and compassion for this family. I sensed Peyton was a good distraction for the kids on the hike and he really is the perfect emotional support dog.
After his ashes were spread they gathered to take a group photo. I offered to take the picture, counted to 3 and instructed them to say “Aloha!”. I then took another, except this time I counted to 3 and said “Yosemite” mispronouncing it the tourist way, in which they all laughed and corrected me by saying Yosemite the correct “local” way. Grandma thanked me and commented “wow you must really be from Hawaii, when you said Aloha, Peyton jumped up and popped his head over the rock like he knew the word.” Hearing that made me smile.
I apologize for not getting the most dramatic and emotional parts of the hike on camera but it felt right not to. And besides writing about the experience does it more justice.
10/23/16- On our second day in Yosemite, a couple recommended going to Glacier Point. From Glacier Point you get a birdseye view of the whole park and the famous landmarks of Yosemite. It boggles the mind to think that an iceberg ripped thru this area to create the valley and landscape.
From Glacier Point, I was able to see the terrain and the hike we did the previous day. It felt quite impressive to see how long it was. The recent rainfall was enough to make the waterfalls really flow and we got to see the other two more popular water falls, Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls. We were planning on hiking Lower Yosemite Falls but we were rained out on day 3 and left for Sequoia.
The video below shows the whole hike from parking lot to overhang rock. A quick and easy one that should be your first stop when traveling to Yosemite for the first time. Happy Hiking!