Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
The hike up the Mist Trail separates those who are in shape from those who should have gone to the mall instead of attempting a Half Dome hike. The upper Mist Trail as you approach the junction with the John Muir Trail just drags on and on and on. Before the lower Mist Trail next to Vernal Fall was cut, visitors had to get up to the Silver Apron area by going the “long way.” Many rode horses, stayed at La Casa Nevada and continued on. Take at look at what the trail looked like in ancient times.
The vernacular for switchbacks was “zig zags” in those days. (The term was used on many of the park’s steep trails.) This section was called just that. Pretty scary. I think I’d rather be on foot than sitting high up on a mule. The trail was reworked over the years and pack animals no longer go up it. That’s reserved for the John Muir Trail. You can take a guided ride or just watch them bring supplies up to the High Sierra Camps. These animals are highly intelligent. They are smart enough to leave little “trail markers” along the route so they are able to find their way back – like a GPS breadcrumb idea. So please don’t damage or remove any.
Trivia: A mule is produced when a female horse is mated with a male donkey. Gosh.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “She comes down from Half Dome Mountain on a dark flat land; she rides on a pony she named Wildfire. With a whirlwind by her side on a cold Yosemite night.” – Michael Murphy
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com