The Mist Trail in Yosemite - Mike Carr

The Mist Trail in Yosemite


I hit the road looking to escape the desert for a few days and immerse myself in pine trees and waterfalls, and there’s nowhere better for that than Yosemite National Park.

Growing up in Montana has left an imprint on me that makes thick, forested mountains feel like home. I was headed to a version of home and so excited to spend three days exploring and photographing new terrain.

While there’s a lot you can do to control the outcome of your trip, the weather isn’t something you can really depend on. Nature is going to do what it wants. Unfortunately for me and this trip, the weather turned ugly and spoiled some of my plans. But when you’re at one of the most beautiful places on earth, even bad weather can’t spoil the experience

In some ways, the heavy cloud cover and light rain was a welcome addition to the photography aspect of my trip. I wanted to take some new photos that were different from my portfolio of work, and the moody setting definitely gave me opportunities to do that. The one day I had blue skies was spent toiling my way up the Mist Trail. I’m sure I’ve hiked tougher trails, but it’s hard to remember any with the memory of this climb still so fresh on my mind. It’s a steep butt-kicker of a hike but the views and giant waterfalls more than justify the effort.

Taking a tripod was a necessity for me because I’m all about those slow exposures of waterfalls. Combing the tripod and a variable neutral density filters is one of my favorite techniques. The smooth, silky look of the water makes it worth the extra pack weight. Nevada and Vernal Falls both offer some great looks and tower above you at least 100 feet. They are the crowning jewels of this hike.

Fighting the southern California traffic to get back to my actual home in the desert, I was reminded of just how lucky I am to spend as much time as I do in wild spaces of the world. Life will never be perfect, but it feels a whole lot closer to perfect in places like Yosemite. I strongly encourage each and every person who stumbles onto this little blog of mine to make time to get out and enjoy the natural world that surrounds us. Go for a hike, take a bike ride, or go rock climbing for the afternoon. I don’t care what it is, just get out and do it—even in the rain.