From San Francisco I could have gone straight home to Sacramento, but instead I have to detour over to Yosemite. It’s one of those places that you really can’t visit too often. Last time I was here it was mid-March and it was freezing and it snowed. Despite the weather it was still absolutely gorgeous and wonderfully deserted, but this time, I hoped all the roads would be open. Alas, Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Road were both still closed for the season. I’ll have to come back some year in September. But May was a wonderful time to visit - with perfect weather for hiking, nights warm enough for camping and waterfalls at their peak.
The first day, after securing a campsite, I decided to hike up the mist trail to Vernal Falls. The trail is aptly named because it takes you right beside the raging falls where other hikers take shelter from the mist under umbrellas and tarps.
Most people are content with being soaked by one waterfall, but not me. I continued along the trail to reach Nevada Falls. Here the water finds it's way down a granite cliff at the edge of a valley.
Making the trail into a loop takes you along the other side of the valley and underneath a trickling wide waterfall with the strength of a standard showerhead. So what that means is you have to put up the hood on your jacket and run. And you still get pretty drenched.
The next day I’m up early and I decide to treat myself to breakfast at the Ahwahnee. Breakfast being the only meal at this restaurant possible in my budget. What you're paying for is the rustic-elegance of the high-ceilinged dining hall. And the view out the window. But the raisin brioche French toast was pretty stellar too.
To burn off all that sugar I hike the Upper Yosemite Trail - not all the way to the top - because it's one of the steepest in the park I'm a little tired from yesterday's hike, but far enough to get excellent views of the falls and Half Dome.
I've got a feeling I'll be back to Yosemite many more times in my life. And each time I visit there's a moment when the long drive and other cars make me wonder why I've come back again. But then I get to the valley floor and look around and I realize, "Oh, yeah." For this kind of beauty I'd put up with just about anything.