An overnighter along the beautiful Chilnualna Falls trail in Yosemite near Wawona.
We left San Jose bright and early at 6am and arrived in Wawona around 9:30 including a 15 minute or so to pay our $20 for a week long pass. Next stop was the beautiful Wawona Hotel to meet the others and grab our wilderness permit at the wilderness center. We arrived early so went exploring around the hotel grounds and were quite pleased to see a whole bunch of hop plants growing up the side of the hotel. Perhaps it's worth a trip up here in September in order to brew a Wawona Ale with freshly harvested hops but I digress.
Once all parties arrived we headed up to the trailhead parking which could be a little tricky to spot but if you're reading this you have coords and get there. At 10:30am on a Saturday the 20 or so spots were just about filled so we had to do some tight squeeze parking to nab the last spot, perhaps arriving a tad earlier would be wise on the weekends.
After parking we weighed out packs, the lightweight backpackers had some sickeningly light numbers while I weighed in at 38.5 lbs... no matter I would be the last one laughing when everyone else has long run out of beer... muahahaaha.
The hike up was nicely graded but the initial steep section set the tone for me (the others, not so much). Except for the first section you never really get a good view but are always within earshot of a cascade. The wildflowers were putting on quite a show all along the trails and we spotted at least three that people had not seen before. Up top there were even Steer's heads which is one of the coolest little flowers you'll ever see.
About half way up stop for a rest and take in the magnificent Wawona Dome. We took another rest at the upper falls but were too late in the day to see the famous Chilnualna Falls dual rainbows. Nevertheless this spot is quite amazing after usually hiking in around the bay area.
Soon after we were back on the trail to finish the slog up to camp along side another wonderful cascade. We set up our six tents and tried to entice some of the natives to bite shiny things. Despite trying every color lure in my collection I was unable to get the trout to do little more than a slow rise to look closely at my lure as it neared shore. No matter... it was truly relaxing to sit beside a rushing Sierra creek, enjoying a nice cold craft beer while watching these beautiful trout laugh at me.
We built up a great campfire, cooked our dinners, enjoyed some beers then messed around with the cameras doing long exposures. I slept well and quite warmly in my 35F bag despite a little bit of wind in the night.
The morning arrived a bit chiliier than the night before but once the sun was up we all quickly warmed up. Breakfast, some more fishing and it was time to leave this wonderful place. Above the upper falls we got a glimpse of the rainbows and all hurried down to get some great pictures. It's a truly breathtaking spot in the morning with the sun behind you, if you dayhike this one try to get up here by 9:30am or so.
From here it was a relatively quick downhill hike out with lots of stops for flowers. We ended the trip with a great pulled pork sandwich and a Firestone DBA from Todd's BBQ in Oakhurst. I was so stuffed that I skipped dinner that night back at home.
A truly wonderful weekend with good friends. Thanks a bunch to Rebecca(calipidder) for setting it all up and dragging me out of my normal routine of staying closer to home.
Yosemite, waterfalls, Wawona, Chilnualna