Yosemite Travel Stories

At the summit of Half Dome
Welcome to the Yosemite Travel Stories. Within these pages, you can read selected stories and musings about our waterfall-themed adventures in Yosemite National Park. Hopefully, you'll find these stories entertaining and educational. Perhaps you might get a good laugh at our expense, or you might find some nuggets that you can apply to your own travels.

Thumb through the travel stories below. They are arranged chronologically with the most recent escapade at the top. Enjoy :)

Rainbow in the mist of one of the Chilnualna Falls (15-June 2017 to 18-June 2017)
Going Against The Grain
: I wasn't sugar coating it telling them they had at least another hour or more just to even get up to the 3rd Chilnualna Falls, which would be the next opportunity to cool off. One group of Indian hikers sounded discouraged when we told them that we had gotten started at 6am and we were on the way back down (noting that it was around 12:20pm at the time). Regardless, we were still quickly making our way down until eventually we got to the upper junction between the stock trail and the spur trail leading to the first Chilnualna Falls. Just then, I realized that my etrex handheld unit wasn't sitting in my tactical pouch, and right then and there, I knew that it must have fell out during the bouncing up and down from all the quick hiking...

[read more]

The Firefall (16-February 2013 to 18-February 2013)
Special Event Status
: ...Then, Julie excitedly showed me her camera as I was wondering why she was so ecstatic while I was sort of lukewarm to the spectacle. Then, Julie showed me her photo on her iPhone... I took just one glance at it and I knew immediately that I had been in the wrong spot all this time! Her smart phone photo definitely showed that she managed to catch the firefall as I had envisioned what it was supposed to be. She didn't use a tripod and she didn't do any color saturation with long exposure photos. She just had a point-and-shoot, and she managed to catch the scene far better than how I had it despite my tripod and DSLR capabilities. I had this sinking feeling that I had been cursed or something...

[read more]

Tunnel View (2-June 2011 to 4-June 2011)
Something New Every Time
: Julie was having an interesting time trying to reach back into her memories to try to see where the flooded sections of the trail were. The dangers of that day were nowhere apparent on this day. So we spent some time having Jack Links and fruits as part of our snacking before the return hike. And as we both stood there and admired the scenery before us, it dawned on me how the conditions from June 2002 could have been achieved... [read more]

Vernal Fall with snow all over the ground (24-February 2006 to 26-February 2006)
Chasing the Firefall
: Driven by the thought of trying to get that sought-after firefall that the late Galen Rowell made so famous, my wife and I went on another spontaneous Yosemite trip. I didn't expect much out of this trip - though I was more concerned about my old 1990 Legend making it through the mountains and the cold... [read more]

dramatic view of the trail near the top of Yosemite Falls (30-April 2005)
Cramps and Thunderstorms
: Of all the waterfall hiking and viewing I've done up to this point, the one thing missing was getting to the top of Yosemite Falls. Even though you don't have to get to its top to appreciate the falls and get good photos of it, my inner voice kept nagging at me to do it. And so I gave in to my subconscious (or is it my conscious?) and hiked with mom on what started off as a pleasantly hot and sunny afternoon... [read more]

Mom and I at Waterwheel Falls (5-June 2004)
The REAL Waterwheel Falls
: Determined to see Waterwheel Falls after my disappointing discovery last week, the time had come to revisit the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. We left Mammoth at about 5am, made it up the steep Lee Vining Canyon without incident, and arrived at the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead at a little after 6am. Since we didn't have backcountry permits, we had to do the Waterwheel Falls hike in a day - a strenuous hike of at least 20 miles return! [read more]

Panoramic view of the Tuolumne River just downstream from the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp (29-May 2004)
The Hungry Bear
: With my fiancee in Las Vegas on a business trip, Cindy, Ed, and I made final preparations for our upcoming backpack trip. It was Memorial Day Weekend so we planned on getting up early Saturday morning and head straight for the backcountry office by Tuolumne Meadows from Los Angeles. I called the backcountry office to make sure they secured our permits in case we didn't show up before 10am. With the permits being the biggest concern of the trip, it felt pretty good to have things in hand - or so I thought... [read more]

The manmade lake towards the head of Hetch Hetchy (24-April 2004)
Slithering Company
: My parents and I headed back to Yosemite, but this time the goal was to at least see what Rancheria Falls looked like. The weather was quite nice - as opposed to the storm last week that forced me to cancel my reservation and make a last-minute reservation for today. Being that 2004 was a well-below-average rainfall year, we knew there wouldn't be rushing streams going over the footbridges beneath Wapama Falls... [read more]

Reflections in a pond of the Cathedral Rocks (20-March 2004)
Small World:
My work recently did away with the old Paid-Time-Off (PTO) System and instituted a Sick Leave System, which was a bummer since I had heaps of hours hoarded up for longer vacations I anticipated taking - and I didn't anticipate being unhealthy. Now with reduced maximum vacation hours in lieu of sick leave hours, I had to take a vacation or lose some of those hard-earned hours. That sucks! So, where should I go on a spontaneous trip? The first thing that came to mind was a return to Yosemite... [read more]

We finally made it to the top of Half Dome! (7-June 2003)
Bagging Half Dome:
Now that the proposal was over, the task before us was the physical challenge. With logistics out of the way - campground reservations made 24 weeks ago, coordinating with friends for camp food arrangements, and getting to the park safely, we now faced the big hike we trained two months for. It was 5am and the moment of truth was upon us... [read more]

Alder Creek Falls: the location of the proposal (31-May 2003)
Indecent Proposal:
I had to think fast when Julie anticipated that I would propose to her on top of Half Dome, and she thought it was too cliche. And so I decided upon Alder Creek Falls since I'd never seen the falls before, and I figured we'd have a little peace and solitude to share the special moment together. Little did we know we'd have company of the furry kind... [read more]

Approaching North Dome from the trail (6-July 2002)
High and Dry:
Even at over 8000ft, the summer heat intensified, the breathing got heavier, and my nose kept bleeding. This was not the mountain high I was looking for... [read more]

The backside of Half Dome with Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap as seen from the Panorama Trail (31-May 2002 to 1-June 2002)
Locked Out:
It took a while to get the car shuttle set up for the one-way Panorama Trail. Plenty of drama as thunderstorms threatened to sabotage our planned hike. But even as we returned to our Yosemite West condo after leaving Andy's vehicle at Curry Village at nearly midnight, none of us could get back into the condo... [read more]

Flooded and misty trail beneath Wapama Falls (31-May 2002)
Crossing the Streams:
It was our first time in Hetch Hetchy. Greeting us were the sweltering early summer heat and full waterfalls. I wondered what that sign in front of the tunnel was for. We were soon about to find out... [read more]

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