This is not the most dramatic photos of Vernal Fall, but this is going back in the archive to almost 10 years ago. This was from my first hike to the top of Half Dome. And like most firsts, you only realize afterwards how unprepared you were. I didn’t take enough food, didn’t take enough water, didn’t take a filter pump, and (I’m realizing now) I didn’t even have a map with me! But I had my camera.
Joining a group who had done the hike many times, I was quickly left behind, eventually catching up to everyone at the base of Half Dome. Being the first timer of the group, I had to get to the top of Half Dome…everyone else turned around when the saw the line at cables. So I was on my way back down solo, and that is when the lack of water started to kick in. I was dehydrated and completely took the wrong turn for the trail; instead of taking the trail I took on the ascent, back to the top of Vernal Fall, I took the trail toward Clark Point. I vividly remember standing at this spot for 5-10 minutes soaking in the view while my dehydrated mind was trying to figure out what didn’t feel right. Eventually I realized I was supposed to be at the top of that waterfalls. If I only had a map, I could have just continued hiking down the trail from Clark Point as it reconnects just up stream from the Vernal Fall Bridge.
So while not a dramatic photo, it does certainly bring back vivid memories of lessons hard learned.