Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Good Kind of Falls (and our brush with death!)

Kyle and I went on two hikes while in California. The first was a good starter-hike at Muir Woods National Monument park. The day after that, we drove east to Yosemite National Park, down into "The Valley" to see what everyone was so excited about--El Capitain, in this case.

I didn't take this photo, but I took one just like it (and lost it). Photo Credit: TheKesslers.]

One thing that's really cool about Yosemite is that you don't have to be a professional photographer to take great photos. 
I took this one just steps away from the restrooms, and it's one of my favorites.

We spent the night in an "historic" hotel in Wawona.
It's a wonderful place to stay if you are rich.
(Read my TripAdvisor review if you want more specifics.)

The next morning, we set out earlyish (8:30am) to hike Chilnualna Falls trail.
I had read that this was a "hot" hike (lots of sun), so I wore a hat, and I was glad for it later.
(The forecast was 84 degrees that day.)
This hike is 8.2 miles (round trip) and has a rise of 2400 feet in elevation.
It took us about 3.5 hours.

The beginning of the trail follows Chilnualna [chill-noo-all-na] Creek, which of course is fed by the falls, 
which, due to a wet spring this year, were really rolling
In the photo below, Kyle is having a little spray shower as he kindly waits for his mom to catch up :)

They grow BIG pinecones in Yosemite!

This trail was described as "strenuous." It was, but it was worth the work.

After all, when is the last time you stood this close to a rainbow?

Amazing, no?

Near the very top, we stopped and relaxed for about an hour.

I went a little bit further while Kyle relaxed.

I am not the competitive type of person who always has to reach the top just because it's there; I'm content to go further than most people and let the die-hards finish the "race."

On the way back down, Kyle had an experience he'll be talking about for year to come. Walking past a sunny spot, he heard a distinct, "chik-chik" sound and followed the sound the video and see for yourself!

[Warning: There is PG-13 profanity in this video.]

As you may know, we do not have rattlesnakes in Wisconsin. We also do not have mountains or foot-long pine cones.  As you can imagine, Kyle loved this hike--his first "real" hike. He said that he was proud of himself for being able to endure it. As for me, my goal in taking him there was to give him a little taste of the payoff one can gain from a good hiking effort, especially out west.

My wilderness-loving niece says that hiking is great, but backpacking is the way to go if you want to have a truly amazing experience.  I told her I will pass. However, something tells me she's going to be persistent on that one.

Never say never, right?


  1. Beautiful. We'[ve lived in Southern California for two years now and haven't made it up to Yosemete.

  2. Yay for an amazing hike. Boo for a nasty snake. I hate snakes! We have rattlesnakes here in FL too.

  3. Oh but with backpacking and sleeping in the wilderness over night you get to find these creatures in your boots and stuff.

    Great video.

  4. Your pictures a beautiful! That hike looked like lots of fun except for that rattle snake! YIKES! I'm fairly certain if I saw one that close, I would not stand there and video it.

    I saw this on YouTube yesterday and liked how Kyle showed the distance between the snake and his shoes.

  5. You are a hiking hottie. You make it sound like a stroll, 8 miles with increases of 2400 feet elevation.
    In the heat no less.

    The rainbow pics are fun. You did a good job getting pictures for your memory book.

  6. wowowwwweeee! gorgeous, so much fun and I am so jealous. I haven't been in the blog world lately but stopping by to say hello and miss ya :)

  7. The rainbow and fall shots are stunning! You can keep the snake though.

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  9. Can you still "backpack" with an empty pack? Like a little Hello Kitty Number or perhaps Cars 2?

  10. The falls photo is fantastic. Nice work. Its hard to take bad photos when the subject matter is breath taking.

  11. Your pictures totally captured the beauty of Yosemite and Muir. I'm glad Kyle went with you. He will always remember this trip!

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Great pictures looks like such a fun trip! The click click sound of the rattler is why when we lived in Utah I hated hiking, they were everywhere in the summer! Have a wonderful Sunday!

  13. Pictures: beautiful!
    Waterfalls: LOVE them!
    Rattlesnake: EWWWW! (Loved the narrative, though!)
    Hiking: Oh, yeah...I'll leave backpacking to others! I have a friend who backpacked the smoky mtn. part of the Appalachian Trail at the beginning of our summer break. The shelters they stayed in definitely weren't hotel quality! :D

  14. WOW! I just can't get enough of your photos! What a memorable trip for you and Kyle :)

  15. So pretty! I've been to Yosemite once, but I was about 11, so I don't remember too much about it.

  16. WOW....I can't imagine living in an area that DOESN'T have rattlers.......

  17. Great pictures! I can see why you were lost while your camera was in the shop. As you said, it's hard to take bad pictures in such a lovely place.

  18. Great post and awesome photos, Barb. Damned scary encounter with the rattler and had that been me, the vocabulary would have been a whole lot "bluer!" We do have rattlers -as well as nasty, mean-spirited copperheads here where I live but thankfully, the only snakes I've seen this year, thus far, were three black snakes, two of which were found in the bathroom of my son's house and are no longer amongst the living either! Just watching that video -oh Hell, just seeing a still photo of snakes tends to make my skin crawl and have me shuddering! Good thing Kyle spotted that creature when he did though or your trip might not have ended as well as it did! Really thankful for that aspect!

  19. Beautiful pictures - what a great opportunity for you two!

    Holy $#it is right!!!


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