Hiking in Yosemite | #siantreksamerica
Day six: The day I had been waiting for had arrived! When booking the tour, the one place which sold the trip to me more than anywhere else on the itinerary, was Yosemite. I had seen hundreds and thousands of breathtaking pictures taken all across the national park, and wanted to get in on the action quick-smart.
We rose early as we did most mornings, and wound through the roads that looked like the kind you would expect to see in an expensive car advertisement on TV. I tried to take in as much of it as I could, but naturally my mind was jumping ahead to the views that awaited us in the park. I couldn't wait to get out and start hiking.
The first trail a group of us embarked on was the John Muir trail, up to Nevada Fall. Wanting to get there and back down again in ample time, in order to avoid holding up the rest of the tour at the van later, we swiftly put a rule in place not to stop every couple of feet to take photos. Unsurprisingly, this quickly went out of the window when we were surrounded with views like this...
It seemed like every time we attempted to truck on there would be another photo-worthy vantage point; and every single time we got a little higher or turned a corner, there was a view that was somehow even more stunning than the one previous. As you can imagine, my camera rarely left my hands.
We hiked the gravelly paths until it turned to rock. I clambered over the stones, under a waterfall and stepped through streams with soggy trainers. The waterfall was in our sights now, and it looked beautiful. My thoughts turned from wanting to refill my water bottle, to nothing but a sensation of pure haste. I wanted to be by the fall as fast as my little legs would take me.
As I stood on the top of the bridge, looking down at the trees below, there was a second where I did nothing but embrace the moment. Voices around me seemed to fall away as the intense boom of the running water masked the sound of everyone else there. I took some photographs on my disposables and exhausted my digital camera; wanting to capture every view and angle within a neat frame.
Nothing could have prepared me for the decline though. Oh, boy. Wanting to make the most of the trip, we decided to take a different trail on the way down. As the John Muir and Mist Trails split off from the same section, it made sense to go for the latter. Knowing what I know now, I would never (ever) make this decision willingly (ever) again. I jumped from having the time of my life, to praying that this wouldn't be the end of it!
I am not afraid of heights. I am afraid of steep, uneven inclines, without railings or adequate prevention from tumbling over the edge, never to be seen again however. The Mist Trail ticked all of the aforementioned boxes and, living up to its name, also included a section with a near constant spraying of water - to ensure all smooth rock surfaces were slippy - for good measure.
Now don't get me wrong. I am so, so glad I climbed the Mist Trail... But, now I've done it, I do not feel any inclination to do it again! I can hand on heart say that my heart was in my mouth for the duration. Somehow I ended up at the front for segments of it, and held everyone up by nervously stepping down sideways, one foot at a time. Feeling my legs jellify, I kept my mind on the smoother and flatter parts of the trail I knew were not just a mirage in the distance.
Once we had reached the bottom, and piled into the van after experiencing a bit of a palaver attempting to round up the group, the day wound off with a drive back to camp at golden hour. As we rounded the trees and bends in the road, Fleetwood Mac's The Chain filled the air. Seeping into every space in the van, and seemingly upping the saturation of the sky's now gold tint, that poured through gaps in the branches and washed our dozing faces with orange.