Michael’s 26th Birthday

Happy Birthday Michael!

For Michael’s 26th Birthday we went camping in Yosemite National Park! I had never been to Yosemite before and only been camping in my backyard, so this was both super exciting & scary. Exciting because I love hiking and have seen many gorgeous photos and videos of Yosemite and scary because there are black bears and the deadly hantavirus.

We successfully pitched a tent!

Michael, Kyle, Jasmine, Rosa, Chris and I arrived early Saturday morning and set up camp. After eating a delicious peanut-butter and jelly lunch, we ventured out of the North Pines camping ground to find Yosemite Falls and buy firewood.

When it comes to directions – I’m always right.

Half Dome

We got to the falls only to disappointingly find that they were all dried up. Instead of snapping shots of the beautiful scenery, we took a bunch of pictures on a bench at the base of the non-existent falls.

Is that Buster Posey?! No – just Kyle.

After buying souvenirs and wood in Yosemite Village, we headed back to camp to start a fire and make ramen for dinner.

Chris set up a tripod with a remote control.


Cooking ramen by campfire with headlamps.

We woke up early to the bustling campground. Unfortunately North Pines is in-between two mountains, so it was pretty cold even though the sun was up. We heated some water and made ghetto mochas with instant coffee and hot chocolate.

Good morning! It’s freezing.

Chris made a delicious breakfast consisting of bacon, tater tots, and eggs. After we were full, we started on the hike out to the top of Vernal Falls.

Just outside North Pines campground.

While walking to Yosemite Falls Kyle had hid behind a boulder and scared the shit out of me. On our way to Vernal Falls Jasmine and I devised the perfect ‘decoy’ plan to return the fright.

The perfect hiding spot to scare Kyle.

Hikers will start at the Happy Isles trail head in Yosemite Valley. Travel is generally East-South-East. This is one of the shortest (1.3 mi/2.1 km)—though in places steep—and most popular trails in Yosemite. The trail is mostly shaded and is progressive in incline until it reaches the base of the waterfall where mist sprays onto the hikers. Depending on the time of the year hikers can be totally drenched by the time they pass the mist from the waterfall.

Vernal Falls

The final 15 minutes of the trail is a very steep climb up rocks to the top of the waterfall.

Chris & I at the top of Vernal Falls.

The gang at the top of Vernal Falls.

Once atop the falls there is a pool of water called the Emerald Pool around which hikers lounge and rest. There is also a 20 degree slope of rock with water flowing into the pool called the Silver Apron.

Swimming above a waterfall is against park rules and can carry with it a great deal of risk: rocks are slippery, and strong undercurrents exist that may not be visible from the surface. Nevertheless, tourists have been swept over Yosemite Valley’s waterfalls to their deaths. Though warnings are clearly posted to stay out of the water, more than a dozen people have died in the last decade by entering the water above Vernal Fall, including the Silver Apron and Emerald Pool.

One person died in May 2007 after hopping from rock to rock around Vernal Fall. Three people died after being swept over the falls in the same manner on July 19, 2011.

Hanging out in the river.

The river was more like a trickle of water, but (as shown above) we stayed safe on dry land. We hung out at the Emerald Pool for a bit and took a different trail back to camp through Clark Point.

Liberty Cap

Hiking Path

Clark Point

After a long day of successful hiking we head back to the camp grounds, cooked up some hot dogs, and nommed on the best camping food ever – s’mores!


Chris and I left Sunday night, while Michael, Jasmine, Kyle, and Rosa stayed until Monday. Thank you for inviting us Michael! It was amazing and Yosemite is beyond beautiful. We look forward to returning soon. To see all of Chris and my photos, check out our flickr sets: Yosemite 2012 and Yosemite 2012.


P.S. Thanks Eric for letting us borrow all of your camping equipment.