Around 7pm on Friday, Daniel and I drove through the gates at Yosemite National Park.
It was a first for me- I'd never been to Yosemite and practically squealed with excitement when we first saw El Capitan. We got in later than expected (terrible traffic going through Tracy) so on our first night, we propped ourselves up in front of our tent cabin and drank wine with our friends Monica and Jesse in the twilight until it was time for bed.
As we knew we'd only really have one full day at the park, we decided to split our Saturday: half the day spent hiking, the other half spent on the river.
We woke up around 6:45, breakfasted on peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and headed out for a half-day hike up to the falls. I had worried that the trails would be packed but since we left on the early side, there weren't many people on the trail with us on our way up.
Vernal Falls are the first falls you reach as you head up towards Half Dome. The hike becomes progressively steep and there are 700 massive granite steps cut into the mountain. I had insisted on carrying our day pack and was therefore very excited when we finally reached the top.
We stopped at the Emerald Pool to drink some water and eat slices of dried mango before moving on to Nevada Falls.
The mist over the falls was lovely and we saw rainbow after rainbow. On certain faces, the granite looked like a gray drop-cloth smattered with white paint. I found myself frustrated by the fact that it was impossible to capture the scale of the mountains and the falls with my camera. Then I thought about it and realized that was part of what was special about actually being there.
After we got back, we dropped off our things, ate a little lunch (I made us sandwiches because I refused to go to the food court in Curry Village. Pizza while camping is just wrong) and changed into swimsuits before heading down to the Merced River. The temperature was well in the 90s. We walked through fields of flowers to get to the water.
I fell asleep flat on my back on a towel on the pebbly beach. Daniel went fly fishing. In the evening, we met up with friends and went for a drink at the Ahwahnee. You know it's been a good trip when before it's even over, you're already planning your next trip back.