I didn’t quite manage the 6.40am bus, but I was in plenty of time for the 8.20am. I caught the Valley shuttle bus to the start of the Vernal and Nevada Falls walk, and off I went.
Some people stop at the Vernal Falls footbridge, which is only about 20-30 minutes up the track, and isn’t that great. Not even a great view of the waterfall. The next stopping point is at the bottom of Vernal Falls where there is a huge swimming hole. It’s quite far off the track, so you have to clamber over boulders to get down there, but it became quite popular later in the day. The next stop is the top of Vernal Falls and Emerald Pool. It’s a good lookout to the trail you have to walk, and Emerald Pool is another good swimming hole. And the final part is up to the top of Nevada Falls. Less people do this: it is quite steep and another hour from Vernal Falls. But well worth it. There’s another swimming hole too.
I reached the top, took some photos and checked out the view, then soaked my feet and read some of my book. You can continue along the trail (the Mist Trail) all the way up Half Dome, but that’s another 4.6 miles. I chose to go back down. The round trip took about 4 1/4 hours. A rainbow had formed at Vernal Falls on my way back down.
I got the shuttle back to Yosemite Village, and had a pizza for lunch. I walked around the museum in the visitor’s centre, then caught the shuttle over to El Capitan Bridge, where I sat on the beach and looked up for an hour. It’s still huge. Got the shuttle back to the village, and caught the 5.40pm bus back to the hostel.