We started the morning on the High Sierra Loop Trail toward Vernal Falls. The distance to the top of the falls
is only 1.5 miles, but the steepness of the trail meant that most of never made it further than the bridge, at 0.8 mile.
This offered a view of the falls and a swirling mass of whitewater. After hiking back down and enjoying a
brief rest, we took the valley shuttle bus to the Mirror Lake trailhead for a significantly easier 2-mile hike.
Along both trails there were excellent forest views and ... squirrels.
El Capitan and some of the typically vertical valley walls as seen from the valley floor
near Bridal Veil Falls (the west end of the valley).
Bridal Veil falls.
Yosemite Falls flows out of a small hanging valley at the top of the side wall.
This is the sixth-longest waterfall in the world, totalling 2,425 feet in two major
sections separated by a short series of steep rocky cascades. The upper falls,
shown here, by itself falls 1,430 feet.
The Merced River runs clear and cold through the middle of the Yosemite Valley.
Another view of Yosemite Falls and the Merced River, from a meadow just east of the
Swinging Bridge parking area.
Note: one of the disappointments here was that the swinging bridge, which at one time did
actually swing, was lost to a flood years ago and replaced by a sturdy wooden structure
which merely vibrates under heavy foot traffic. The National Park Service, however,
has not changed the name of the "Swinging Bridge" parking area to the roadside parking for
the "Short Sturdy Immobile Bridge On The Way To Somewhere Else".
The trail leading up to Vernal Falls, most of which is much steeper than it looks in this picture.
It is paved and smooth, at least up to the bridge, which is probably good given the number of
people who use it daily.
The valley leading up to Vernal Falls, and the upper reaches of the Merced River,
taken from the bridge on the High Sierra Loop Trail.
When you reach the bridge the first experience is that of coolness--the air temperature drops at least
ten degrees within a hundred feet of the roiling rapids under the bridge. John clearly appreciates
the environment here. In the background you can see Vernal Falls, still quite a distance away.
Down on the trail to Mirror Lake, at the bridge over Tenaya Creek, there is this view of Half Dome
through an opening in the forest.
About a mile up the trail there is a spot where a jumble of rocks is cooled by water
flowing from a hidden spring, providing a refreshingly cool drop in temperature.
Anne, John, and Lori stop to enjoy the experience.
Mirror Lake in reality is a series of wide sections in Tenaya Creek. There were many visitors
playing in and around the water, but almost none of them went in deeper than calf-height.
Those who tried it reported that the water (predictably) had the prime characteristic found in
all high-altitude snow-melt.
While waiting for the shuttle at the Mirror Lake trailhead, we heard a series of loud sharp cracking
sounds, followed by extended rumbling. The first impression was that the cloudless sky was somehow
producing lightning and thunder. The view up toward Glacier Point was soon obscured by dust,
indicating that the loud noises waere the result of a major rockfall.
The pictures of this trip are divided into several sets: