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Trailblazers Take On Yosemite (Part 2)


DAY 2:

One of my favorite things about tent camping is that you become re-aligned with a sunrise and sunset circadian rhythm. This means you naturally rise with the sun and rest with the moon. It’s pretty special.

We rose with the sun, but we also rose to the smell of freshly brewed French Press coffee and the gentle tinkering of Michaela and Eric whipping up egg scrambles, potatoes, and toast for our first base camp breakfast together. 

For those who may not be aware, the guides on these trips are not only knowledgeable and wonderful humans to be around; they prepare all the food on the trips, carry the food on the hikes, and do all the cleaning up as well. Wildland Trekking (guiding service) offers a wonderful and inclusive experience, AND they also accommodate dietary needs (vegan, DF, GF, etc.).

Okay, back to coffee and breakfast. 

Once breakfast was ready, we sat down at the picnic tables, filled our bellies, and got stoked for the day ahead.

camping in yosemite

Michaela and Eric sent us off to get our day packs packed, water bladders filled, clothes changed, trail shoes tied, and snacks packed.

Soon after, we drove into the park for the first time. All I can say is… wow. Yosemite lives up to its hype. Its grandness and beauty were unmatched. It is officially one of my favorite places on Earth. 

Once the vehicles were parked at the trailhead, we grabbed our fully-loaded daypacks and trekking poles, tightened our straps, made one last pee stop, and started our first hike of the trip!

mist trail yosemite


The trail officially starts with a big climb up a paved-like trail. We got warmed up QUICK! Our legs were working and feeling strong, our hearts were beating, and we knew it would be worth it. The first major viewpoint on the trail was at the bridge crossing, where we got to take in views and feel the coolness coming off the Merced River. This is also where we were introduced to the Stellar Jay for the first time. It’s a relative of the Blue Jay, except it has a black mohawk to distinguish its character. They are LOUD little things.

merced trail yosemite

After we had our bird lesson and took in the rushing water sounds and cool air from the Merced, we continued forward up to Vernal Fall, which we were all most looking forward to.

However, this trail ensured we did our fair share of off-camber rock step-ups BEFORE we got to see (and feel) all that Vernal Fall had to offer. The trail consisted of big and chunky rock steps of various sizes, putting our strength to the test. We all prevailed forward and took the trail by storm.

And before we knew it, Eric had us pull over to the side of the trail to grab our rain jackets and shells because we were about to enter “The Mist Trail” (you will see why) and come face to face with the most magnificent waterfall, Vernal Fall.

vernal falls yosemite

After we added a layer, we climbed some more, and there she was, in all her grandness, Lady Vernal Fall. Her mist covered the trail ahead of us and gently kissed our jackets and faces. The waterfall put off so much power that the mist radiated outward, touching all its viewers. It was remarkable. Vernal Fall also gifted us with rainbows all over.

After we picked our jaws up off the trail, we kept hiking up to the VERY top of Vernal Fall (there is a big rock slab area to hang out), rested our legs, and ate lunch. Michaela and Eric prepared us hummus, pita chip, and green goddess salads with all the toppings. 

hiking and camping in yosemite

After lunch and hanging out amongst the trees in the shade, we had a little more of a climb before we reached the point where we headed back down. We took the John Muir Trail down. This route gave us more views, and we got to see Half Dome! 

half dome yosemite

The trail’s entirety put us at ~7 miles roundtrip, and what a great first hike it was! Once we got back to our vehicles, we stripped off our packs, ate some more snacks, piled into our seats, and headed back to base camp. We did make a quick pit stop on the way back at the local market, where some of the ladies grabbed beers, more snacks, and Gatorade!

Once back at the campground, some of us showered first, while others unpacked their daypacks or sat down and cracked open a beer, relaxing. Michaela and Eric started making our dinner! They prepared a delicious curry dinner followed by an ASSORTMENT of cookies. Our bellies were full. We all hung out, asked some fun “ice breaker” questions, and as the night went on, we all slowly peeled away and crawled into our tents.


Meet the author

Bethany Taylor

I’m a PNW-based outdoor educator, adventure athlete, highly-caffeinated creative, all-women adventure trip host, safety advocate, and obsessed dog mom. I am here to help you chase more stoke-filled days outdoors with confidence through education and empowerment.

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