Yosemite National Park is an annual spring trip for thousands of families in California and from around the world. The sound of roaring waterfalls filled with ice cold snow melt plummeting to the valley floor and cascading down towering rock fields and along the Merced River valley is a time of harmony in the Sierra.
2020 the falls will again roar, maybe a little less than in the previous seasons, as the current snow pack in the sierra is near 50% of normal. That being said, who will actually get to see or hear this years unique roar. The end of March brought orders from the State of California that the park would be closed to the public in order to control the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
The spring season in Yosemite is generally filled with green grass, roaring waterfalls, spring wildlife and plenty of guests staring in awe at the power and might of the Yosemite water shed. In years past it has been tradition for me to take a new family or set of friends that have never seen or heard the spring falls on a day tour of the valley and up to Vernal falls. I love getting to the park early before the campers awake, park the car and walk the meadow as the sky starts to turn to daylight. the sound of the wildlife coming to life and the roar of the water creates a magical moment for me.
Last year I had the privileged of guiding a father and son form our church who had never experience Yosemite Valley, let alone the spring run off, and of course the water was absolutely crazy last year with our late season snow packs. We arrived at the park early and enjoyed time at Cascade Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, getting absolutely soaked in minutes at Bridal Veil, before heading into the valley and finding parking to start our adventure up to Vernal and Nevada Falls. I remember seeing falls around the Valley I had not always scene on previous visits Horsetail, Sentinel, Ribbon and Staircase were all active. Illilouette falls was scene from the trail up to Vernal at a size I have never scene it before.
Vernal and Nevada Falls never disappoint, but on years that the water runs fast and deep this tough hike is a must for any visitor who can make it. The Mist trail and the ongoing journey to the Top of Nevada Falls and then back around is one of our staffs favorite all time hikes and experiences.
After a lunch on the top side of Nevada Falls we head down the JMT back to the valley floor, just in time for an afternoon rain shower and a crowded bus ride over to Yosemite Falls.
For me living on the eastern edge of the Sierra and not staying overnight in Yosemite, i always try to leave the valley floor a little early so I can make a trip down to Hetch Hetchy and a quick hike out to Wapama Falls. This is truly a huge miss be so many visitors to Yosemite National Park, A short 2.5 mile fairly simple hike our to the bridge and Wapama Falls makes my annual trip to the Valley and Yosemite Waterfalls complete.
Nobody really knows how soon the park will open again or when the Virus that has grounded the world will finally give way. We can be certain that the waters at Yosemite will roar, the dogwoods will bloom and life in one of nations greatest national parks will go on without us. I for one cant wait to get back and enjoy its majesty again. Summer Adventures ahead.