Yosemite: Vernal Falls and Dangers of Hypothermia

The second trail we went on was Vernal Falls (here’s our morning hike) where we learned a very important lesson about a little waterfall spray and one year old hiker.

Even with our daughter and lots of water in his pack he can smoke me on the trails! 

Ironically not very dangerous compared to a light mist

We saw a bear across the trail. Just far enough away to comfortably watch and for a fuzzy iPhone pic but close enough to clearly see in person. A fun combo.

First view of Vernon Falls from a bridge


As we approached the actual falls it had been really warm on the trail up until then. Then we were more in a shadow and the spray from the waterfall misted us. Alex and I had just been hiking and were now going up a very long set of uneven stone stairs…the slight chill didn’t bother us at all and we were determined to get to the top of the falls. 





Already looking cold!!!



We had just passed the waterfall when I looked at our cotton t-shirted baby and saw the mist of water on her hair and face and the slightly purple tinge to her cheeks. I felt her clothing, slightly damp, and her skin (chilled!!!). About two hours from the indoors we stopped in the middle of the trail and got out her layers (which we thought we’d majorly overpacked on but I ended up added my coat for good measure as well).






Thawing out our baby 😦 


It was a very scary moment for us, being familiar with the concept of hypothermia from living in cold weather states, working in health care, and from a kayaking class. As much as we love the outdoors we love our daughter more and it was a hard reality check to realize we got complacent. After all, this was a very common trail and we had everything we could possibly need, including a ridiculous amount of layers for her on a sunny hot day, but having them in a backpack while getting caught up in the beauty around us with the focus on getting to the end of our trail, put our daughter in danger. We are soooo careful when kayaking with her and putting her into her car seat and then made this totally foreseeable mistake.

As soon as we were off the slick rock steps we ran down the trail to decrease the time she was outside, only stopping a couple times to check her skin (getting warmer, thank God, and by the end of the sunny trail her cheeks were red under her layers but we didn’t undress her till were safely inside, just in case).

Inside the shuttle heading back to our parking we were crammed in like sardines but I felt great knowing that Kaya was going to be totally fine.


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