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Trail signs lie…

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Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park

Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park

Over the years, we’ve found both trail signs and hiking books to be less than accurate in reflecting true trail conditions. We’ve been on “easy” trails that had so many ankle-breakers we’d call them strenuous (especially lugging photo equipment), and moderate/strenuous trails that were surprisingly easy.

But the best example was a hike to Vernal Falls in Yosemite. About 0.3 of a mile from the base of the falls, you have a choice. You can continue on the trail directly to the falls, but count on getting wet and facing slippery footing. As those didn’t seem a wise choice with all our photo equipment, we opted for the alternate route, described in a hiking guide as “the slightly longer but more gradual John Muir trail…”

I couldn’t tell you how many switchbacks we traversed, but the Muir Trail was anything but SLIGHTLY longer and gradual. By the time we finished that section, we found ourselves 0.6 of a mile ABOVE Vernal Falls, further away than when we’d started the alternate route!

Next time, we’ll take the wet route!

Written by Craig de Fasselle

April 12th, 2010 at 9:33 am

Posted in Tails from the Trail

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