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Trailblazers Take On Yosemite (Part 3)


DAY 3:

Another morning of rising with the sun and being greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed local coffee. Our love language. Breakfast was PANCAKES with a side of happiness. We all happily enjoyed our fluffy cakes with all the fixings, sipped on our coffees, and anxiously awaited our adventure ahead. 

hiking and camping in yosemite

Our guides told us that today’s hike would be a bit more challenging than yesterday, but it wasn’t until AFTER the hike was finished (on purpose) that we completed arguably THE most challenging hike in Yosemite, Upper Yosemite Falls. 

Upper Yosemite Falls climbs for 3.5 miles gaining ~3,000ft of vert. It was literally UP the whole way to the top. However, every single step was worth it because we would be standing on top of the tallest waterfall in North America. HOW COOL IS THAT!?

Okay, I am getting ahead of myself, back to the beginning of the adventure.

We made a pit stop at the brand-spankin’ new bathrooms at Camp 4, walking through a small village of climber’s tents before making our way to the trailhead. It was GO time.

As I mentioned above, it was UP the entire way to the top. With our trekking poles in hand and mentally preparing for bodies & minds for what was to come, we began our trek. Switchbacks upon switchbacks upon switchbacks. Zigging and zagging. More switchbacks. Everyone was moving well.

The spirits stayed high as we got to our first official resting point, 1 mile in. Snacks went into bellies, water was drunk, sunscreen was reapplied, and we all chatted lightly before we continued.

For the next 2.5 miles, the gals pushed, showed their grit, let big emotions in, trusted their bodies & capabilities, told stories, felt all the feels, encouraged one another, laughed, almost cried, swore, fist-bumped, took in SPECTACULAR views, and made me SO proud. Yeah, it was messy, but it was beautiful.

These women got to see what they were made of. They got to test their physical limits. They had to push mental barriers. They got to take up space out there.

Every single one of them embodied TRUE trailblazer characteristics, and they ALL DID IT. They all got to the top, come hell or high water. Now they can proudly say they did the hardest hike in Yosemite. I hope they hold that accomplishment close to their hearts.

Alright, enough of me getting emotional. 

hiking and camping in yosemite

We all made it to the TOP, found some open rock slabs to set up on, and we relaxed. Some of us laid down flat like boards and soaked up the accomplishment. Some of us sat away from the group and held space to feel all the feels & process. Some of us walked to the edge and snapped some photos. Some of us went down a little side trail and checked out the little area directly next to the genesis of the waterfall. 

katadyn water bottle yosemite

For lunch, we had salad wraps with kettle chips! Michaela and Eric filtered water to refill some of the water bladders, we took a wilderness pee break, re-rallied our spirits, and started our descent. The descent was much quicker (obviously), but it was still challenging due to the nature of the trail (chunk rocks, big steps, off-camber steps, switchbacks) and fatigued legs. Only a few slips and falls, coming out from the descent and finishing the trail mostly unscathed! 

[Did I mention how proud I am of everyone? Okay, I did? Just making sure.]

The plan for dinner was pasta. However, the trail took longer to complete than initially planned, so our guides made a quick call to change the dinner plan. We ended up driving over to Base Camp Eatery to grab some dinner! It was quick and easy because we all needed real food ASAP.

On our drive out of the park, we made a very quick stop at the El Cap (Dawn Wall) where we got to see the headlamps of a few climbers who were camped on the wall. It was one of the most unfathomable and incredible things I’ve ever seen. The Dawn Wall is 3,000ft tall and we got to see, firsthand, climbers on the wall, attempting the ascent. Also, if you haven’t seen Free Solo or The Dawn Wall, put those documentaries on your must-watch list.

Same as the night before, when we got back to camp, we dispersed in groups, some showering, some cracking open beers, and some hanging out at the picnic tables.

With sun-kissed cheeks and tired bodies, we all eventually made our way to our tents, snuggled into our sleeping bags, grateful for the day we just had.


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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