“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.” -John Muir
A few weekends ago, my younger sister and I took a hike in Yosemite. I had recently purchased my new camera (yay!) and wanted to test it out on something a little more exciting than my back yard. Knowing my sister, I dressed a little nicer than I normally would when hiking, because I figured I would be the subject of many pictures. I wore a reasonable outfit for the day we had planned (maybe a walk to Mirror Lake or the footbridge to Vernal Falls). As we started our walk to the Vernal Falls footbridge we make a brave and spontaneous decision to make our way to Sierra Point, an old trail, no longer maintained after rock falls have blocked the path*.
*Side note: I usually don’t condone going off trail, or into unknown areas especially publicly. I know far to many stories of people thinking they can handle the rough terrain and strange wilderness only to get lost or injured and need help. They then put the lives of rescuers in danger, by having them go off into often unsafe areas. If you are considering exploring on your own, especially in a National Park, I recommend you read Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite or Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon to learn what fatal mistakes not to make. Always let someone know of your plans, when you will return, and where you are going in case the unfortunate happens. Ok, I’m stepping off my soap box now.
We cut off the Vernal Falls trail heading east into the forest and rocks following directions like, “look up, finding two dead pine trees and aim for the middle of them.” and “scramble over boulders toward the large, jagged one.” It didn’t help that my sister, who had been to Sierra Point before, kept saying, “We’re almost there,” only to turn the corner and say, “Oh wait, maybe not. That wasn’t the part I thought it was.” I was ill-equipped in my non-hiking boots from Target, and I had to move slowly to keep from kicking rocks loose or slipping on the loose dirt and leaves. I must say I was glad to have my sister along to tell me things like “This will be the worst part in those boots. If you make it past here you should be fine.” Eventually we made it to the top, which for me was more stressful than the hike.*
*Another Side Note: I have a terrible fear of heights. Not so much of being up high by myself, but rather being up high with someone else and having to watch them fall. It also plays into my wish to be in-control of situations. My sister on the other hand exercises control in a much more reckless fashion and never fails to unnerve me with her daring attempts, many of which I would be fine making myself since I would be in control, but since I can’t control her, she leads me to panic. I guess that’s what I get for being the older, responsible sister.
From Sierra Point you can view four different waterfalls (Vernal, Nevada, Illilouette, and Yosemite), the only place you can do this in the park. It’s a gorgeous, breathtaking view. Unfortunate we went in January during a record drought. I can only imagine the powerful view of the four waterfalls in peak, spring season.
It was a rewarding hike leaving me with jell-o legs (mostly from trying to avoid slipping in my adorable, but seemingly useless boots) and a sense of pride. We finished the day with sandwiches, chips, beers, and cheesecake at Degnan’s before I had to drive home and get ready for a night of work.