Bridal Veil Fall was the destination of choice for our first day of the trip. It was also the twins’ birthday, so I took to randomly announcing it throughout the day to them and other hikers, and passers by. They loved it 😉
It is a short, easy hike on a paved trail up to the foot of the falls, which are covered in slippery rocks, countless warning signs cautioning death, and brave/uncoordinated tourists such as ourselves. The girls got into place admiring and taking photos, and I did the same. We met two cute little American boys (Omar and Fabian) who we helped climb up the rocks and whom we “looked after” for a little bit, after their dad climbed the whole way up the falls to the actual water! He was quite the athlete compared to us, who happened to climb 5m and then decided to stop for a snack and about 50 000 photos.
After a while I decided to go exploring by myself. I managed to go off the beaten track and climb further up the falls through the forrest on rocks and debris that was dried up due to the “Fall/Autumn” season. A very itchy, and fun little expedition! It doesn’t look very high in the pictures (because I am so small and the falls are so big) but it was 😀
Next on the list was another trip down Glacier Point Road (where the fall colours astounded and amazed again even though we had already seen them!). After more (yes, MORE) roadside toilet stops and photo ops, we found ourselves at Sentinel Dome, where we hiked “sideways” across a mountainous plateau of sorts, until we reached the peak.
Where it is a 400ft elevation gain to the top of Sentinel Dome. Bear in mind that the trail starts of at a base altitude of 5000 feet! It was a leisurely 5km round hike, offering a similar view to Glacier Point. It is the highest viewing point in the entire Yosemite Valley, second only to the mighty Half Dome!
The total height is 8122ft above sea level with an awesome sweeping view of Nevada Falls (which we tackled on day 5), Half Dome, Liberty Cap, Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan! I’m being unapologetically nerdy in these posts, because a) I would like everyone to know how much exercise we actually did at such high elevations, and b) if you are planning a trip to California I can’t recommend a trip to Yosemite National Park more! At anytime of year! Which is where the facts come in 😉
We had lunch at the top, perched on a rock that in fact wobbled so after much unnecessary shrieking and squawking (mostly coming from my end) we settled down with our cameras and sandwiches and tried to anchor our rubbish in the breeze but unfortunately we failed, which left Justine hopping about trying to catch our rogue Ikea lunch bag. I am happy to report that no birthday girls or squirrels were harmed in the quest, and we and the stupid wasps enjoyed our lunch immensely. Some Aussie guys (we really are everywhere) advised us to take a look at Taft Point, which was high up on Jane’s list but we had almost convinced her that we didn’t need to go. Lucky we were advised otherwise, because it was astounding, and terrifying and magnificent all at once.
The Taft Point and Fissures trail or “Hike 43” as out little yellow book advised, is 7503 ft off the valley floor and it is a sheer cliff face with no barricading, no warning and apparently, no fear! I really did not consider myself to have a problem with heights. I was clearly mistaken, because sitting on the edge of an exposed cliff with induce a crippling fear of heights, vertigo, onslaught of profanities and general nervousness.For me anyway! Also not helping the situation was the group of 30 or so UK Army Cadets or whatever they were, smoking, drinking and back flipping cm’s away from the edge of the cliff. I flinched every time someone sat within 10m of me for fear of tripping or slipping! I sat down 5m away from the edge and slid on my bottom to the edge to get a picture. My gutsy and fearless travel companions walked right over to the edge, sat down and began snapping away. As one charming young cadet put it “Madam, your friends have BALLS!” Yes, they are very brave!
The day was concluded with a sunset viewing of Tunnel View, but my time lapse didn’t work and now I have literally 36 000+ photos of the same tree and mountains with little to no change between frames. I am sure if my Apple prowess develops they will make a lovely video, but between busy times at work in the Lounge, at home (James has finished his Engineering Degree!) and in the sky (we are going to Broome, in the Kimberly region of WA tomorrow), I haven’t found a moment yet!
More day by day posts coming soon. I do so hope they aren’t boring, I just want to share every single detail possible so that you all might have a glimpse into how mind blowing nature can be 🙂
Safe and sunny travels,