Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away: Springtime in Yosemite

1 tunnel view

This post comes from Rachel McCullough, an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery. When Rachel isn’t enjoying her free time in the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

Who: Garrett, Tom, Theresa
What: Trail Running, Hiking, Cave Exploration
Where:
Yosemite National Park
When:
May 2016

It’s one-of-a-kind! Hand-made, locally. Fashion-forward.

These were just some of my answers to the many comments I got hiking the Mist Trail in on a very rainy spring day while wearing a skirt fashioned out of a garbage bag. Or, as my good friend Theresa would call it, a rain kilt.

My fashion-forward rain skirt/kilt. Surprisingly functional.

My fashion-forward rain skirt/kilt. Surprisingly functional.

Knowing the forecast for the long weekend, which was pretty much rain nearly all day every day, you would think that I came prepared. And, I did to some extent. I had my rain pants, but they are best for standing in the rain, not climbing stone step after stone step and working up a sweat.

My alternative version wasn’t perfect, but it did attract plenty of attention. I tell myself that’s why I kept falling behind my friends on those stairs. Everyone wanted to talk about it! Or maybe it was because I hadn’t hiked yet this year. My best excuse was that I had just done my first training run for the Sierra Crest 30/50k – it’s August 6th, 2016; you should register here and do it too 🙂

Trying Not to Wimp Out

I can’t say I have the opportunity to go out in the rain much. It’s either snowing or sunny most of the time here in Tahoe. But, we had this trip planned and decided to try not to wimp out too much. I can’t say it exactly worked out.

We got lucky on the first day and went running in the cold fog during the only couple of hours it didn’t rain. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon baking brownies and hanging out inside.

Cabin Fever Sets In

It didn’t take long us to get cabin fever, so we drove around Yosemite Valley attempting to hit every key pull out and vista. This is where I got some of the best photos. While the Valley is gorgeous every day, the fog and always-moving low hanging clouds make it way better.

Since we were driving the tourist route rather than adventuring in the backcountry, we figured it was best to do it right. With a selfie at Tunnel View!

Since we were driving the tourist route rather than adventuring in the backcountry, we figured it was best to do it right. With a selfie at Tunnel View!

I love the little cloud hanging around at the top of the Ribbon Falls amphitheater. This is the formation on the left side of the photo.

I love the little cloud hanging around at the top of the Ribbon Falls amphitheater. This is the formation on the left side of the photo.

I was looking at The Captain in awe, watching the clouds swirl, getting soaked and feeling lucky my feet were planted firmly on the ground this trip. I’ll be back for you on a sunny day, El Cap!

I was looking at The Captain in awe, watching the clouds swirl, getting soaked and feeling lucky my feet were planted firmly on the ground this trip. I’ll be back for you on a sunny day, El Cap!

Why Not Do Something Where We’d Get Wet No Matter the Weather?

We had a revelation on rainy day number 2 that the Mist Trail was wet for the most part, rain or shine. This is because the trail is so close to the waterfalls that you get soaked from the mist. Hence, the Mist Trail’s name!

Stairs, stairs, and more stairs into the fog. It looks kind of creepy, but I promise it wasn’t. Just wet and cold.

Stairs, stairs, and more stairs into the fog. It looks kind of creepy, but I promise it wasn’t. Just wet and cold.

The last moment before the water drops off the edge of Vernal Falls.

The last moment before the water drops off the edge of Vernal Falls.

Not a fun slide (though it looks like it). The Merced rages

Not a fun slide (though it looks like it). The Merced rages

About halfway up, the view of Nevada Falls

About halfway up, the view of Nevada Falls

More not fun water slides

More not fun water slides

Top of Nevada Falls. I would have stood here for hours if I weren’t starting to get freezing! I added more layers and down the 1000+ stairs we went.

Top of Nevada Falls. I would have stood here for hours if I weren’t starting to get freezing! I added more layers and down the 1000+ stairs we went.

Day 3: This wasn’t the Lemon Squeeze

Day 3 dawned fairly clear, but we already had a rainy day plan, so we went ahead with it anyway. A cave! I hadn’t been in this particular cave before, so I figured we’d be walking around for the most part and maybe there’d be a really tight squeeze somewhere. Mostly I was picturing the Polar Caves in New Hampshire that I visited when I was 10. The tight sections have names like Lemon Squeeze and Orange Crush and have instructions on how to go in – like put your left shoulder first. Ok!

 

While this cave didn’t have a line of tourists, it involved a lot more squeezing and there was pretty much no upright walking. We were all wriggling on our backs through some tight and slippery spaces. In the end, we decided it wasn’t quite challenging enough. Next time, no headlamps!

I am not sure if head first or feet first would have been better. Photo credit: Garrett McCullough

I am not sure if head first or feet first would have been better. Photo credit: Garrett McCullough

Ahhh, Sun! For a Couple of Hours, Anyway.

We spent our last couple of hours soaking in the warm sun and lush green of spring before a lunch break in El Cap meadow. The clouds blowing in and blocking the warm sunshine was our signal to head out. Next time – another Tuolumne adventure, like this one or this one or maybe something totally new in late summer.

There’s the blue sky I am used to! Lower Yosemite Falls

There’s the blue sky I am used to! Lower Yosemite Falls

Someone take me back there, right now! The Catherals and the Merced River.

Someone take me back there, right now! The Catherals and the Merced River.

Want to check out any of the products in Rachel’s post? You can purchase her Altra Lone Peak shoes, North Face leggings or North Face Venture Jacket straight from Tahoe Mountain Sports on Amazon or in Truckee, CA!




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