Visiting Yosemite National Park is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list to do. The breathtaking views, the vivid colors, and intense waterfalls make for a captivating experience.
This past week I took a trip there with my husband to get out of the city and spend a day indulging in nature. As you drive into the valley, the view is far from ordinary. The cliffs shoot out from the valley floor creating a dramatic feeling. There are many things to do in Yosemite Valley. Some people come just to walk the valley floor and see the falls like Yosemite, Bridalveil, and Vernal. For those wanting a rush of adrenaline, jaw-dropping cliff sides, and a challenge, hiking is your best way to experience this wonder. There are three great day hikes to do, of which include the easiest, Vernal/Nevada Falls, then the most challenging 4 mile hike to Glacier Point and the hike to the top of Yosemite Falls. Having done the Vernal/Eagle, we opted for the 4 mile hike.
Everything we read said it would be challenge, that there would be moments where you would be on the edge of the cliff, and that it was not for the faint of heart. We started the ascent from the valley floor at the 4 mile hike marker, and sure enough up we went. The first set of switchback trails were, well underwhelming, so we carried on. Then we understood the “very strenuous” part of the description as we came upon the second set of switchbacks. There were plenty of deep breaths, hands on our hips, and wishing we didn’t eat that last piece of cake. It was hard to not keep going as the reward of the end of the trail was near. Three hours later, a power bar, and one empty water bottle, we made it.
As we came out to the top of Glacier Point, the view made every drop of sweat worth it. The four miles seemed inconsequential. Three hours passed faster then our minds could even remember and here we were, overlooking one of the most beautiful places in the world. Half Dome extends itself far higher then any of the other “rocks”, creating a focal point in the valley. To the left you can almost see San Francisco (sarcasm) as the valley goes forever. The top of the valley was magic. I had seen this view, but last time the only thing doing work was my wrists on the steering wheel. This time it was different, it was my sweat, my sore muscles, and my aching joints that got me to this view. Not to mention that Glacier road was closed down, so the only people taking in the view were those who worked for it.
Yosemite National Park has a way of putting life in perspective, reminding you of the important things. As John Muir said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
**We hiked 4 Mile, roundtrip it was about 9 miles, at a good pace took 5 hours. Be sure to have plenty of water and snacks. The only restrooms are at the top or bottom, so it may be helpful to have tissue with you. This hike is best for those who are actively fit and not afraid of heights. Most of the trail has some pavement to help with erosion. Be prepared for switchbacks and to have your mind blown with incredible views.