Waterfalls and Mentos (Day 4)

at the base of Vernal Falls

Day 4. On the books. Check and mate.

I’m not sure I could have really asked for a better day although I’m not sure that I have any winning photographs from the adventures. But I’m okay with that because yesterday at my photography class the instructor said “sometimes a mental snapshot is better than a bad picture”.

So, as I write this blog post. I’m sitting in the lobby of my hotel (Wawona Hotel) going through pictures from the day while someone plays a grand piano during cocktail hour. The cool thing? As if this wasn’t already cool…. Is that the banter between the piano guy and the “crowd” is the local gossip and commenting on the non-indigenous trees. Apparently, someone in the room is a forest manager (?) who wrote a book (?) that is selling like “hot cakes” and is now on Amazon.  Who knew. Sidenote: I’m the youngest person here by at least 25-30 years. Oh, the piano just announced that he’s found a publisher for his essay on “the history of music in Yosemite”. Great news folks.
A few notes about today:
-       Tons of cute old couples holding hands EVERYWHERE. Who knew that lovers flocked to Yosemite? I didn’t.
-       I saw a coyote this late afternoon on my drive from Yosemite Valley to Wawona. He was just wandering along the side of the road almost like he was thumbing for a ride. I did not offer.
-      When I was grabbing a late lunch today at Degnan’s, it was like an international show. The Italians were holding up the line trying to order espresso in the Sandwich line (who wants espresso from a deli?). The Spanish guys decided that the sandwiches were too expensive ($7ish) and bought children’s lunchables. I kid you not.
-    For some reason, people seem to all love to rent Ford Mustangs to drive around this gorgeous park. Most of them are red (pretend to be surprised) – but when I was at Bridalveil Fall, I saw this “attractive” Mustang. (Note: that's my lovely white rental car in the background. Loves it.)

So, more about Day 4. I started off the day by eating Mentos in my hotel room. Perfect for breakfast right? Well, I forgot that I bought them at Target the day before and when I discovered them I had to have some immediately.  After grabbing a bagel and coffee to-go from the food court, I headed over towards the Yosemite Falls. I ended up just checking out the Lower Falls view because a busload of Japanese tourists were ALL headed to the Upper Falls… and fundamentally I couldn’t take it. So I bailed on that, who needs to see one of the tallest waterfalls in the world? Not me. Looks good from the ground.

So instead, I hopped on the Valley shuttle with the masses and headed over to check out the Mist Trail, Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. Which at certain points during the hike I called it Arizona Falls. Same thing right? Instead of giving you the run down of the 5ish hours I spent climbing up and down these mountains, I’ll summarize with a few general bullet points.
-       despite being “off season”, the trail was pretty crowded. There was barely a time when I didn’t see one or two other people either in front off or behind me. (This point was for my Mom)
-       I’ve never seen oak leaves as big in my entire life. At least I think they are from oak trees. Regardless, HUGE.
-       I had some flashbacks to my days on the Inca Trail because of all the stone stairs …. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be popping some Advil tonight before bed. I can already feel my legs tightening up and getting a bit sore.

Vernal Falls

View from the top of Nevada Falls

For a few great / funny moments:
-       After about an hour or so, I realized that there was no way I put on enough deodorant for this adventure. I was correct in this stink estimation. I smelled terrible when I reached Nevada Falls. About this same time I became acutely aware that I hadn’t research how to fend off bear attacks.
-       After reaching Vernal Falls, I walked a bit further and stopped for a bit. This guy came walking down and essentially told me to enjoy my rest because the rest of it was like all “stone work” (walking over stones, boulders, and stone steps). Thanks Guy! Actually his name was Braxton. I wanted to add “like the fake contractions” but I figured he’d find that insulting.
-       I spotted a lot of men wearing Tie Dye shirts. I’m not really sure what to saw about that but, read into it what you will.
-       After I reached the tippity top at Nevada Falls, I was a wee bit hungry. Having not packed much (read as anything) to eat, I decided I would treat myself to the Mentos once I got back to Vernal Falls. Spoiler Alert? I left the Mentos in the car. I was devastated.
-       Another gentleman on the trail had a steel water bottle that clinked the entire time. I didn’t really find this bothersome because it was kind of a way to know that he was always near by. The downside to this? He would take breaks to take in the scenery and then pass me (again and again). As he was passing me during the final approach to Nevada Falls, he chuckled and said “I think I’ve passed you three times now”. Thanks Ass.
-       I talked to my friend Meghan for 20 minutes during the Nevada Falls “ascent” rocky portion, which was a great distraction. Plus, a bit odd slash awesome that I was able to get enough cell service to share some great laughs.

After the 7+ mile hiking adventure, I meandered around the Valley a bit grabbing lunch, buying myself a chocolate truffle (which I patiently devoured… and yes that’s an accurate description), and checking out the Ansel Adams gallery again. Having decided that I was staying in Wawona tonight, I checked out Bridalveil Fall on my way over (a bit of a snooze) and Tunnel View again.
View from the bike path on the Yosemite Valley floor
So, how much did I walk today? Here’s my rough/conservative approximation:
-       1 mile for Lower Yosemite Falls
-       3 miles around the Valley (I didn’t like waiting for the bus)
-       7 miles on the Mist Trail
-       1.5 miles at Bridalveil Fall
So, that’s a bit o’ miles. Not quite the half-marathon I have on my bullet list… but a lot of walking none the less.

I haven’t decided yet if tomorrow is my last day in the park or whether I’ll stay for one more. I’m leaning towards leaving and heading for Route 1. On my set list for tomorrow? Sunrise-ish at Glacier Point and checking out the Sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove.

Update. The woman next to me is on her second dirty martini and has since decided that I should look at her pictures from Sequoia. So, I’ll be doing that I guess. She’s sassy. She also told me that she gave a bear statue a “bear claw”.

Here are some bonus pictures:
Giant Leaves for Reals.
 View from "Tunnel View" (Confusing to say...)

 Me at the top of Vernal Falls

Double Bonus?
Here is the face I made when I realized I realized how much I was going to smell.

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