Communicative, sure, but photos are inexact and not necessarily comprehensive. A few notes:
- Woke up at 2:45, on the road at 2:55, parking at the trailhead parking lot at 4:30.
- This is where it would’ve been nice to have been camping somewhere closer to the actual valley.
- Everyone talks about the cables. More people should talk about how long this hike is. By my route, it was around 17 miles, and a lot of those are steep miles.
- Almost 5,000 feet in elevation gain (!).
- The hike up wasn’t crowded per se, but you were never alone on the trail for long.
- The lower half of the return journey *did* get crowded per se, with all the shuttle bus partisans making their Big Hike up to Vernal Falls and back.
- Horses should not be allowed on hiking trails. Or, if they are, then hikers should be allowed to shoot them on sight just so there’s an opportunity for retribution.
- The hike is more about pride and accomplishment than it is about fun. It’s too long, too steep, too uphill, too early, and too hot to be all that much fun. (It’s pretty, though.)
- My car and food were situated (bear boxes!) and I was hiking to the trailhead by 4:45. The people coming up the trail who were probably 60-90 minutes behind me were clearly miserable from the heat.
- Hiking in the dark (about the first half-hour of my hike) isn’t as fun as it’s made out to be.
- I didn’t bring a hat on the hike — I had three in the truck. I blame waking up at 2:45.
- If I were ever to have to do this hike again, I’d start at Glacier Point — makes it a couple miles shorter, deprives it of 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and adds a waterfall to the trip, without taking away any of the scenic parts of the Happy Isles starting point. Only downside is that it then becomes a shuttle hike and I’m not sure the park operates a bus to Glacier Point from the valley.