Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Mist Trail, John Muir Trail Loop - Yosemite

 Cross another one off the bucket list! We had a great trip to Yosemite! After reading a ton of articles about this park for a year on what we should do when we were in Yosemite - the Mist Trail was number one on our list.

I read lots of posts about this hike. 
When doing my investigating into this hike I wanted to know:

How much time do I need?
*answers are based on my experience and different circumstances could change the outcomes*
When I looked into this - I got the impression this hike would take 5-6 hours.

It took us four hours. That includes lots of stops for pictures, eating, rest, getting gear on and off, etc. My husband and I are not athletes and not the youngest chickens in the pen. On the other hand, we do a fair amount of hiking. There were definitely some people I seen that had a difficult time with this hike which seemed surprising as they looked like they were not in bad shape. There were also some who totally surprised me that they could get to where they were because of age or mobility issues.

Below is a recap of how our hike played out.

What time of day should I go?
We were at Yosemite on a Friday at the end of June. From my studies - a lot of people suggested to go early to beat the crowds. This was not an option for us as we stayed outside the park at Oakhurst. We left our hotel at 7 AM and got to the parking area at 8:30. We read we could park in the trailhead parking if we got there early enough. The trailhead parking was FULL, but there was plenty of parking available on the side of the road. I was not sure if this was allowed as no other cars at that time were parked on the side of the road- but there were no "NO PARKING" signs where we parked. There were markers indicating the side of the road - which we thought was an indication that as long as our vehicle was inside that line it would be be fine - and it was.

When we got to the bathrooms at Happy Isles (8:43 AM) there was a long line up for the women's bathroom, but it moved fairly fast.

Heading up the trail it was not terribly crowded, but we were not lonely either. 

Coming down the trail at the bottom of the mountain it was super crowded. 

I was happy with the time we were able to start the Mist Trail.
Temperature wise - it was perfect. The high for the day we went was 21 degrees celsius (69 degrees fahrenheit). 

What should I bring with me?

  • I took a backpack with water, a lunch, the park map, sunscreen, and a camera in a ziplock bag. We packed rain ponchos to put on when we got close to Vernal Falls. We wore good quality trail to rapid shoes. You need good grip going up the wet stones. There were also places that were totally immersed in water going up the steps on the Mist Trail. Depending on the time of year - your feet will get wet. Going down the John Muir trail there was a wet part that we had to step through water. There was a lot of water run off and a part of the trail was flooded. It wasn't too muddy though as there was a lot of rocks to avoid the mud. Some people brought a change of shoes. Our shoes were for water and the trail so we were fine. 
  • I seen some people with walking poles - I prefer not to have them as I like my hands free. When climbing it is suggested to use your arms to help you when you can to save leg strength. 

Watch the video for a recap of the hike

What did I learn?

  • PARKING - When we left our vehicle at 8:30 in the morning we were the only ones parked on the side of the road. When we got back to our vehicle the road parking was packed. Someone parked right behind us - not giving us any room if we had to back up. We did park so we were the first vehicle, but if someone tried to squeeze in front of us we would have been stuck. We noticed driving out that a lot of vehicles parked on the side of the road were a real tight fit and figured there were some that would have a hard time getting out. As we left the Arch Rock entrance we noticed tons of parking, but where we were at the end of where you can drive to it was packed.
  • PLANNING - I had planned when we got back to the valley from the hike, that we could explore the valley if we had the energy. We did not - we were done. Even though the hike was 1 hour shorter than I anticipated, we did not have the energy to do anything else on that day. With an hour and a half drive back to our hotel it made for a pretty long day. 
  • We had a great experience! I have hiked to falls before, but never close enough to get drenched by them. It is pretty cool hiking up not only one falls but two. It was great to go down the John Muir trail to experience different scenery. We came across some people going down the Mist Trail as we were going up - a mom and young girl. It looked challenging going down as not only do you have to navigate the steps, but the crowds too. What did you learn/love about this hike? 
    Thanks for stopping by!

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