Nevada Falls, Yosemite

May 20, 2006 at 6:01 am (Uncategorized)

On Friday, May 12 Zach, Aaron, Lisa, Brad, Caitlin, and Allie and I headed into Yosemite to see the falls. First we turned west on 140 to go check out the upper stretches of the near-flooding Merced. It was pretty incredible. As all guides do, we were trying to find lines through the rapids, but the general consensus was that there was no way through them alive.

The park wasn't too crowded, probably because 140 is closed. We hiked up to the top of Vernal and then Nevada Falls, both of which were pretty steep climbs and offered incredible views. We were drenched by the time we reached the top, but once we were above the falls, they were beautiful. Probably 8,000 cfs free-falling into the Merced river hundreds of feet below. It was awesome. It was a wonderful feeling of connectivity that overcame me at the top of the falls. Being at or near the source of the Merced brought it all together. I haven't been to Yosemite since Spring of 2001 when we had a pretty serious drought. It was also before rivers were the most significant feature in my life.

On the way down we came upon a group of people stopped in the middle of the trail. We looked about 100 feet further and there was a small black bear just lounging in the middle of the trail. We decided to approach as a group of about 12 of us, making as much noise as possible. Aaron pointed out that as long as you could beat one person there, you would be fine. The bear started moving toward us, then headed down the hill. We suddenly realized a) we could no longer see it and b) the trail switched back and the bear might be there. It was a little scary, but in the end, just a cool part of the day.

 We talked about running the upper part of the South Fork the following day, putting in at the bridge where 120 crosses it, but Aaron and Brad found out they had to work the Merced the next day, so plans changed.

It was fun to go up there with a group of guides and have a day away from the river. I could see spending a real entire season down there being such a blast.

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