231/365: The Vernal Falls.

Editor's Note: The following is pulled from the journal that I kept while hiking the John Muir Trail this past month. I'll post each entry, each day, for the next few weeks.

July 19th, 2010.

Day One. Didn't get caught by any rangers! [See yesterday's post] Didn't try for the super-early rise; decided to try to blend in with the crowd. Took the Mist Trail up to the 300 foot Vernal Falls, then Nevada Falls. Made Little Yosemite Valley camp by 11. Pitched tent, took a swim, lunch, then a nap. Around 3:30pm set off with fanny packs to summit Half Dome...

Even lightweight, I was feeling exhausted. SO slow. Altitude maybe. Out of shape, definitely. Just feeling beat. THEN, the CABLES. One of the sketchier things I have ever done, and I like that kind of stuff. Much more dangerous than Angel's Landing in Zion. Steep as all hell, slick from so many shoes sliding on the granite, easy to slide off to serious injury or death.


View from up top was nice, and I stuck my head over the face while laying on my stomach. After the sketchy feeling of imminent gravity and the sight from the top of the face looking down, I don't think I'll ever do a big wall climb. Always wanted to, and have been in just as much danger 30 ft off the ground on a few climbs, but the fear of the vast drop below was too great to seem possible. Hike back down was brutal but in the downhill kinda way. VERY tired, wondering how I'm going to do 8 miles tomorrow. Pack is STUPID heavy. We'll see.

Half Dome Summit, 180º Panoramic. Click the picture for a closer look, then click THAT picture for an even bigger one.