2010-04-01 — Good Characters (Leave a message)
I visit Yosemite as often as I can because it’s one of the most beautiful places I know and it’s so close to home. On top of that, it has a Chinese name (優勝美地) that literally means “the most beautiful place”! When I need inspiration for some of my naming projects, I hike Yosemite’s splendid trails.
This March, my cousin and I hiked the Mist Trail. I want to share some of our photos from this spectacular place.
Yosemite is about an hour north of Fresno, California, via Highway 41. After you pass the park entrance, you drive another hour to reach the trailhead at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley.
I sometimes see bears in Yosemite, but not this time. We encountered this coyote while driving into the valley. We stared at each other for quite a while.
The snows start to melt in March, and you see rushing water like this. If you come in April or May, you’ll see even more water. And personally, spring is my favorite time to visit Yosemite.
We met an English teacher from Argentina (on right) at the trailhead close to Happy Isle. She was very friendly. So we started walking together and chatting.
We also met a family from Texas. They were very friendly and adventurous. You’ll see what I mean in a few moments.
The trail was very steep right from the start, but we were having such a good time it didn’t even seem long before we got close to the waterfall.
Oh no, bad news! The trail is closed! What do we do now? I’ve came all this way and I don’t want to stop here! My cousin and I, the Argentina teacher, and the family from Texas were all standing there, trying to decide what to do. My cousin and I were the only ones who had been on Mist Trail. I know it’s very steep and full of rocks. The Texas dad was eager to go ahead. So we all decided that we’d just keep on hiking; we could always turn back if it seemed too dangerous to continue.
We had an option of going up via the Muir Trail. It’s less steep but also less scenic (except one spot, which I’ll show you later).
So we proceeded onto the Mist Trail. At first, we were really glad. The view was stunning. See! The falls were full of water!
And we could see a rainbow in the mist.
It’s gorgeous, isn’t it! This is called Vernal Falls.
But before long we encountered a lot snow on the trail. The teacher wasn’t dressed for the snow, and she had to be back by a certain time. So she decided to return. The Texas family still wanted to continue. And we did, too. I led the way because I’ve been on this trail many times. We saw other hikers, too. But some had to turn back because the trail was quite steep and slippery.
When we finally reached the top of Vernal Falls, a few families were already there. One family had a little baby and another had a toddler. I don’t know how the dad managed in the steep and slippery snow on the ice-covered trail with just one free hand and the other helping the toddler. Some people had a hard time just walking the trail without carrying anything.
The two-hour climb was well worth the effort! Tons of water, rushing with a mighty roar over the rocks and down the mountain. This is one of my favorite places on all the earth. The bridge in the background is Vernal Falls Bridge.
Here at the top of the falls is the source of all that beauty: melting winter snows.
Although the view is beautiful, the current is very strong. Tragically, people sometimes fall into the water and hit the rocks or are swept downstream.
There’s no way we’re going back down the same way; it’s just too steep and slippery. The chance of falling down a cliff is pretty high. So we came down via part of the John Muir Trail.
The John Muir trail was not as steep, but it had a lot of snow. And even though we were supposed to head down, the trail leads up for a while. It was quite a tiring hike.
But a beautiful one! And here is one of the best views in Yosemite. Look! That’s the falls we saw from the top.
Do you see the dots in the upper right-hand corner of the picture? Those are people, and that is where we were—at the top of Vernal Falls!
Here’s another picture. If you come in April or May, the waterfall will be even more stunning.
We finally made it down safely.
We didn’t see any bear this time. But we have had some close encounters with bears on other trips. We’ll save those stories for future posts. If you remember, there was a “rockfall danger” warning sign on the closed gate at the beginning of the Mist Trail. Fortunately, we didn’t experience any falling rocks. We did, however, see and hear rock and snow falling down a distant cliff on our way back via the John Muir Trail.
We made it! Still alive and uninjured!
A bit of advice: If you visit the Mist Trail in April or May, make sure you have rain gear, at least a waterproof coat. You’ll get wet. Very wet! Protect your camera, too. I also recommend using a hiking stick. It helps and lessens the impact of the climb on your knees.
I am in the business of naming and branding, and everything I do I see from that perspective . . . even a recreational hiking trip! I see striking parallels between climbing to a spectacular viewpoint and choosing the just-right name and branding strategy for your company. Consider:
The Mist Trail was well named. The name is descriptive, inviting, and hints of hidden surprises along the way. Names matter.