The Mist Trail was reported to be a 3 hour hike, according to my Fodor’s Guide to Yosemite. A “nice walk through the woods” to see the picturesque Vernal Falls with an opportunity to go further to Nevada Falls- if we were so inclined. Since all four of us had signed up for Marotta boot-camp (daily work outs) for 3 weeks prior to our great adventure we felt in shape for our trip.
So we each packed a water bottle and some Southwest free peanuts and the adventure began.
Our fitness confidence waivered when we saw the narrow granite “steps,” slick with the rushing snow melt. The mist in Mist Trail refers to the spewing run- off from Vernal Falls. My trusty Fodor’s guide failed to qualify the intensity during summer months.
You can try this experiment at home: Take a granite countertop and lay it vertically- soak it with running water, preferably cold like from the outside hose in late fall. Now begin your ascent.
Throwing caution to the wind, I paused to catch my breath and was rewarded by vivid green foliage, thunderous water with white crests, and a DOUBLE RAINBOW. Check it out!
By this point we were saturated with water from the falls. We continued the climb to get to drier, flatter land before considering our next move. We were not in consensus, but chose to go “just a little further” to Nevada Falls because a) we could hear it and b)we didn’t see many folks turning around to go back. We reasoned if most people were continuing up the trail we could too.
We never saw any of those Sherpas again. They may still be in Yosemite. Like Hansel I took breadcrumb like photos to leave record of how to return. I thought the Vernal Falls might not only be the most beautiful sight I had seen but also one of my last.
The next 3 miles were uphill. No shade, just loose rocks. We climbed up the side of a mountain. The trail markers were inconsistent and sometimes missing. There was no shuttle at the top. (I believe I started that rumor at mile 5.5 when we were down to one bottled water and ate the last peanut).
We had an “opportunity” to proceed on a 3.5 mile trail down with switchbacks or turn around and return from whence we came. We kept walking. Our 3 hour hike took 7 ½ hours and covered 11 miles, many of which were vertical.
Psychologists call it a trauma bond when a group of people have shared a near death experience and report an intense attachment to one another. We Marottas definitely have that going for us now. It was a great trip (since we survived).
It occurs to me that family life is a lot like an unmarked trail. There are lots of twists and turns, some unexpected danger, and with any luck—laughter and togetherness along the way.