Vernal Falls, Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park

The Story Behind: Vernal Falls, Mist Trail

The experience of hiking the Mist Trail in California’s Yosemite National Park is certainly unique. The first part of the trail to the top of Vernal Falls is pretty moderate so many are able to achieve it— helping to make it one of the most popular hikes in the world. During times of peak water flow in the spring, the roar of the falls and the cool mist that engulfs hikers as they get near makes for an amazing adventure.

 

As a photographer, the crowds on the narrow trail and the prospect of shooting in a cloud of mist can be very challenging. But I wanted to capture both so I needed to come up with some way of recording the scene. As I hiked the trail on one occasion, I found myself looking across the roaring river to the other side, wishing I was ‘over there’. Now, ‘over there’ is a massive jumble of boulders and trees. Some of these granite rocks are bigger than cars and there is no trail ‘over there’. If I wanted to get to that side, I would need to scramble among the boulders and wend my way up the river— not an easy task. Especially carrying a day pack with heavy camera gear and a tripod. But I was young and motivated and, perhaps, a little naive.

 

There is a bridge over the Merced River where hikers cross from the north side of the river to the south side about halfway to the falls. I left the crowd and continued up the north side, disappearing into the landscape. After about 2 hours of rigorous scrambling up and down and over and around— it probably takes 20 minutes to cover the same distance on the trail side— I got to the location pictured. From there, I could see the falls and incredible mist without having to be engulfed in it. And I could see the hikers on the trail across the river, walking along the wet rocks and foliage that is so famous. I could even see hikers at the top of the falls, standing at the railing next to the wide sheet of water dropping off the sheer granite cliff. I climbed up on a boulder where I could balance a tripod and captured the scene from that very unique perspective. If there are other shots from that side of the river, I’ve never seen them. It took a lot of energy and imagination but I got what I was seeking and I didn’t let the large obstacles deter me. Another valuable lesson from Mother Nature— the finest of teachers, indeed.

Click Image for Larger Version

The experience of hiking the Mist Trail in California’s Yosemite National Park is certainly unique. The first part of the trail to the top of Vernal Falls is pretty moderate so many are able to achieve it— helping to make it one of the most popular hikes in the world. During times of peak water flow in the spring, the roar of the falls and the cool mist that engulfs hikers as they get near makes for an amazing adventure.

 

As a photographer, the crowds on the narrow trail and the prospect of shooting in a cloud of mist can be very challenging. But I wanted to capture both so I needed to come up with some way of recording the scene. As I hiked the trail on one occasion, I found myself looking across the roaring river to the other side, wishing I was ‘over there’. Now, ‘over there’ is a massive jumble of boulders and trees. Some of these granite rocks are bigger than cars and there is no trail ‘over there’. If I wanted to get to that side, I would need to scramble among the boulders and wend my way up the river— not an easy task. Especially carrying a day pack with heavy camera gear and a tripod. But I was young and motivated and, perhaps, a little naive.

‚Äč

There is a bridge over the Merced River where hikers cross from the north side of the river to the south side about halfway to the falls. I left the crowd and continued up the north side, disappearing into the landscape. After about 2 hours of rigorous scrambling up and down and over and around— it probably takes 20 minutes to cover the same distance on the trail side— I got to the location pictured. From there, I could see the falls and incredible mist without having to be engulfed in it. And I could see the hikers on the trail across the river, walking along the wet rocks and foliage that is so famous. I could even see hikers at the top of the falls, standing at the railing next to the wide sheet of water dropping off the sheer granite cliff. I climbed up on a boulder where I could balance a tripod and captured the scene from that very unique perspective. If there are other shots from that side of the river, I’ve never seen them. It took a lot of energy and imagination but I got what I was seeking and I didn’t let the large obstacles deter me. Another valuable lesson from Mother Nature— the finest of teachers, indeed.

All content at LumiVision.net ©2017 Fred Benz/LumiVision Studio. All Rights Reserved. Site Design: LumiVision Studio