Okay, this was a first for me. (Suburban Southern Cal doesn’t turn up many bears.) You really know you’re on vacation when you turn around a see a bear nearby. We saw this one right in the meadow near Sentinel Bridge. Fascinating. He looks small in this picture, but really the trees are just huge!
We also took the hike to Vernal Falls. It’s nice that the kids are older and we can do cooler hikes. But gosh, this one just reminded me how OUT OF SHAPE I am! I used to do these much easier. I had to look the hike up in my guidebook when we got to the top because I could have sworn it said “easy” (and I was appropriately horrified). But at least it said “moderate” (400 ft gain). Anyway, so beautiful. It’s called the “Mist Trail,” and my daughter said it looked like something out of a fairy story, with all the ferns and mossy rocks. (You half expected the Seven Dwarves to come marching around the corner.) So pretty …
Please continue to share any Yosemite stories you have! I love to hear them! Love the wildlife? Ever seen a bear? Have you taken a hike that ended up being more than you bargained for?
Yosemite is a great place. Even though I live in the midwest I go there or to other parts of the High Sierra almost every year. I had a good bear encounter once. I was nearing the end of a short hike by myself, about 200 yards from the parking area, when to my left I saw 3 cute bear cubs about 75 feet away. I was enjoying that for a few seconds when I naturally had the thought, uh-oh, where’s Mother bear? She was actually even 10 feet closer but had been partially hidden behind a tree at first.
At that point it’s hard not to be a little nervous! but the mother handled it perfectly. She slowly walked to the trail and then slowly followed me from a distance … as if to say, I won’t scare you half to death but I do want to make sure you keep moving away from the cubs. Needless to say I was very grateful for that.
Vernal Falls! I think that was the trail he proposed on. Sorry, you are hitting all my memories now *lol*. That has all the steps to actually go above the waterfall, right? I refused that part 🙂
I had hoped to see a bear when my family took a vacation to Yosemite. We were only there for a day and a night and so there wasn’t much opportunity. Then in the middle of the night as I was sleeping in the car I thought I heard a bear outside grunting and rummaging through our camp. Turns out it was just my Dad snoring in the tent that was setup just next to the car. Maybe my kids will have better luck at the bear sitings in Yosemite than I did!
Mattresses — Actually, your reaction was the same as ours — we were wondering if that was a cub? And the mother was nearby? Or what? (Not sure how big brown bears get.) That’s amazing how the mama bear reacted in your situation — following you to keep you moving. I’m sure I would have been moving along at a pretty good clip at that point. … : ) Thanks for sharing that great story!
Kristi — Yes! That’s Vernal Falls, with the steps leading to the top. We didn’t make it all the way up, either. I gave up first, then my husband was going to take the kids, but my daughter gets a bit freaked out at the steep cliffs (plus she had shoes with very little traction). That will be a hike for another day. How romantic that your hubby proposed there.
Book N’ a Mug — Yeah, you might need more than one day, but you never know. … This was our second spring trip, and we didn’t see any bears our first. I love your story, though — so funny! I’ll bet you teased your dad about that for years. : )
I actually hiked Nevada and Vernal Falls for the first time when I was about 6. My parents were avid campers, and we got to Yosemite every year or so as a family, plus my Boy Scout troop would go every year. Still, I am awestruck every time I go back.
I remember going once with some college friends just after reading Thoreau’s “Walden.” It was very tempting to try to build my own little house out of miscellaneous scraps of wood and stay there.
Bill — Oh gosh, I can see wanting to build a house out of twigs and wanting to stay there! : ) And I can understand feeling awestruck each time you go back. I’ve only been twice, but each time I found myself simply stunned. That’s a neat thing that your parents were avid campers and took you so often as a kid. Have you brought your own family? It’s neat that you can return again and again and experience different things — different hikes, different levels of difficulty, meadows vs. forests, even different seasons. We’ve seen a bit of snow on the ground and experienced cold temps in spring — it makes me wonder what it all must look/feel like in other seasons. We might try a summer trip sometime.
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