Yosemite National Park - California, USA
A trip worth of a lifetime memories is all I could say for this lovely journey made together with my dear ones. All I know was that I was going for a hike with an awesome group of people during summer 2014. Little did I know it was going to be the ultimate highlight of my trip to the States. It was a fortunate event that I happened to be at Yosemite National Park, California - USA. Being an avid hiker, this was something that I was looking forward to excitedly.
This amazing world heritage site is situated at the eastern portion of the States of California, it spans along the eastern portion of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties.
According to the National Park Service site, it is mention that " Yosemite is not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. " I can tell you that these are just icing on the cake until you witnessed it with your own eyes by being there physically.
Having only 3 days 2 nights to spend with so much to do and see, we can only choose to hike Yosemite Falls without over exhausting ourselves by doing more, while having a relaxing time around the park for the rest of our trip there. We stayed in the homely cabin surrounded by mother nature in Mariposa. The cabin is big enough to fit all ten of us happily and comfortably. Staying in the cabin itself has brought us to the elevation of 5000 feet above sea level.
"Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest in North America and fifth highest in the world. Actually made up of three separate falls, it has a total drop of 2,425 feet." - According to www.yosemitepark.com . Hiking under the hot weather in near afternoon during summer will only mean four things. Buckle up on your water supply, put on your sunblock , shade and hat!
Trail was easy to moderate as you hike through the gravel path. We started the hike under the protection of giant trees from the hot afternoon sun, which soon disappear as we ascend further. Being exposed completely under the summer heat brought me closer to my water supply to stay hydrated. Which ended up not so much of an excellent idea after all, since I finished my water supply before I arrive at the peak of Yosemite Falls. Something that I am not proud of. Blame it on the poor judgement and the hot weather.
As we continue hiking, I can feel that the air was getting thinner along with the low humidity level. This slowed down my hiking pace. I did not want to push myself too much, afraid that I would suffer from a heart attack at this young age. I literally felt my heart beat was faster than my breath intake. It was a good self reminder to keep track of my breathing technique. Something that I put on a high priority whenever I hike.
Fellow hikers from as young as infant to adult beyond retirement can be seen throughout the day on the trail. Many exchanged smiley faces, some stop to give way to others with a chat in between. As for me, I had to take a break every corner that I had to make when the trail started to zig - zag due to constant exposure under the sun with no water supply left. I can be found seating under the trees for some shade while catching my breath, if I was lucky to find a good spot during this peak season in the summer.
Upon arriving at the peak, you will come to a T-junction where you can choose which view to go first. I would suggest Yosemite Falls Overlook to get a feeling of being on top of the falls ! You can then go to the other and soak yourself in the cold water under the clear blue summer sky. At this point of time, you will be at 8000 feet above sea level. I took the opportunity to refill my water supply before I knew I would be suffering from dehydration upon descending.
Friendly squirrels and birds can be spotted easily during the hike. Please try to avoid feeding the animals as this will only alter the natural environment. You might want to take a break to enjoy the stunning scenery as you look back upon ascending. I was being awed constantly that I decided to appreciate the beauty of nature from where I was without being caught up behind my camera. Sometimes, the best moments in life are the one left unrecorded. At the end of the day, memories are worth much more than the pictures taken.
What to bring :
1. Water supply - Hydration pack / Camel bag would be great for a hassle free hike.
2. Energy bars / Power bars / Fruits
4. Sunblock / Sunscreen
5. Sunglasses / Sunnies
6. Poncho / Rain jacket - Please check weather before hiking.
Hiking Charges : It is FREE to hike Yosemite Falls on your own.
** However, there is a fee and reservation is required if you are staying overnight at the National Park. More info here : http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm
How to get to Yosemite Falls : Various directions available at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/directions.htm
**Charges apply for car entries into National Park- you may purchase passes to visit regularly.
Total hiking time : 5 - 7 hours, depending on your hiking pace.
1. Bathroom / Toilet is available at the ground by the campsite. It is next to Yosemite Falls hike starting point.
2. Campsite is available next to Yosemite Falls hike starting point. Price is from USD $ 5 per person per night.
3. Car park / Bicycle parking / Other vehicles parking are all available at the hikingground for FREE of charge.
** Thank you for the wonderful experience **