Friday, September 26, 2014

Hiking Vernal and Nevada Falls

from left to right: Back of Half Dome, Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall from John Muir Trail

Mileage: 7 miles round trip 
Elevation Gain: 2000 ft
Best Time: Late Spring to Early Summer, when the waterfalls are at their thunderous best.
Trailhead: at Happy Isles ( from the valley, take the Yosemite free shuttle bus and get off at Happy Isles)

Let me start this post with a quote from blogging friend Jo of Poetic Shutterbug: "Yosemite is God's country". Indeed, Yosemite is such a beautiful place and a sight to behold, it's more than just a great valley. Yosemite is one of the first wilderness National Parks in US ( 3rd after Yellowstone and Sequoia). Though it is most well known for its numerous waterfalls, but in Yosemite you will find nature's beauty and power through glacially carved massive granite rocks, an almost heaven on Earth meadows, pristine alpine lakes, giant sequoias, and miles of trails that wind through nature's beauty.   
When we were deciding before which trail to hike, Vernal and Nevada Fall or Yosemite Fall ( probably the most popular waterfall in Yosemite is the Yosemite Fall, North America's tallest waterfall), we considered the following information:
1. Yosemite Fall can be photographed from the valley. In fact, most of the people who visit Yosemite probably have seen only this waterfall thinking this is the only waterfall in Yosemite. 
Yosemite Fall from the Valley Floor
Vernal and Nevada Fall on the other hand cannot be photographed nor can be seen from the valley floor. One really has to exert an effort to take a glimpse of what it is like.
2. Hiking to the top of Yosemite Fall is more strenuous and more exposed to sun. Whereas, hiking to the top of Nevada Fall is mostly shaded by pine forest. 
3. On the day we were deciding which trail to hike next, we just finished a 13 mile Valley Floor Loop Hike plus a 4 mile round trip to Mirror Lake and Tenaya Canyon. With already tired feet, for about the same hiking mileage ( 7+ miles), a 2000 ft climb to Nevada Fall sounded better than the 2600 ft climb to the top of Yosemite Falls. 
4. We already have tons of pictures of Yosemite Fall from the valley but none of Nevada Fall. 
5. We will be back to hike Yosemite Fall and Half Dome via Cloud's Rest :)

So here goes a little bit more description of the hike to Vernal and Nevada Fall. Since you can find complete details of the Vernal and Nevada Fall hike at Yosemite Hikes, I will instead let our pictures speak for our experience.

From Happy Isles Stop to the footbridge of Vernal Fall is about 0.8 miles, 400 ft climb. This is the view from the footbridge when we were there. 
Vernal Fall From the Footbridge
( can you spot some of the people at the top of the waterfall? see how small they are compared to Vernal Fall?)
I met some tourists who probably did not do their research prior to this hike. They turned around from the footbridge very disappointed! Saying, "ahhhhh, I worked so hard for nothing!"- yes, because of the very thick leaves from the trees, the footbridge view is obstructed and the waterfall was hardly seen. What some of these tourists were meaning about working so hard was that a climb of 400 ft in 0.8 mile is very steep for those who are not much into uphill hiking and climbing stairs is a battle. But for those who did their assignment, they knew that there is so much more to Vernal fall beyond the footbridge.
After the footbridge, we continued hiking the Mist Trail, in another 0.5 mile and 400 ft climb, we were greeted with the unobstructed view of the Vernal Fall.
Unobstructed view of Vernal fall, less than 0.5 mile from the footbridge
Rainbow at the base of Vernal Fall 
( we got there at Vernal Fall between 10:00- 11:00 am, early summer or late June- but anyone can ask the park ranger at visitor Center at what time does rainbow appear in specific waterfalls because it varies with day and month of the year)
Vernal Fall and Rainbow
From the base of Vernal Fall, the trail climbs up over 600 steps over a steep granite stairway. The trail is very slippery here because of all the waterfall mist and spray. In about 0.7 miles from the footbridge, and 600 ft climb, we reached the top of Vernal Fall.
left to right: granite staircase, rainbow, and Vernal Fall from the top
At the top, there is a very scenic pool ( sorry, I forgot the name) where we stopped for our nutrition and hydration break.
Pool @ the top of Vernal Fall
( this pool is closed for swimming due to very close to Vernal Fall and some tourists who did not pay attention to the "no swimming signs" had lost their lives being swept by rushing current down to the fall )
After our nourishment break, we continued up the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Fall. In less than half a mile from that pool above, we were greeted by the beauty of Nevada Fall.
Nevada Fall from the Mist Trail
Then, we continued up the rocky strewn slopes to get to the top of Nevada fall. For a while, we got lost of the sight of Nevada Fall in the trail, but we knew we were close because of all its thundering sound. When the trail opened to the sight of Nevada Fall again, we were again meandering an exposed trail of rocky strewn steep slopes.
Nevada Fall from the Exposed Rocky Strewn Trail
The Power of Nevada Fall 
( I took this picture with a fast shutter speed since I wanted to show the power and action of Nevada Fall. I usually use the cotton effect or slow shutter speed for waterfall shots when the waterfall is not as powerful and thunderous)
After about 1.2 miles and another 1000 ft climb from the top of Vernal Fall, we reached the top of Nevada Fall. Before reaching the top of Nevada Fall, there is a legal swimming hole where a lot of kids and other tourists stop to have a cool swim. This swimming hole is safe enough for swimming, but because we did not do our research, we did not have swimsuit, we passed the opportunity to swim in the frigid waters of Merced River. We instead moved away from the swimming crowd and seek a cooler place to enjoy the scenery with more solitude.
Where we stopped at the top to enjoy the fruits of our hike, this is where most hikers also refill their water container
When we were done resting and enjoying the scenery at the top of Nevada Fall, we looked down and looked back at where we've come from.
Looking Down and Back from Where We Came ( Though of Course we could not see the trailhead here)
Nevada Fall from the Top
Instead of returning the same route, we took the longer but less steep John Muir Trail. We had several purposes for taking a different trail, first is to photograph the very first picture above. The shot of Half Dome, Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall is from the John Muir Trail. Second was to see different scenery from a different trail. And third, it is friendlier to the knees to go downhill when the miles is longer since it means the slope is less steep. 

Here are my other posts about Yosemite and places near Yosemite:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My typical meal

Sorry for the blurry pictures, cell phone does not work so well in a dim room :) Anyway, just thought of having a simple post today, that is sharing my typical meal, which includes vegetables, and vegetables, just prepared differently, but also, usually very very simply. 

The top one is kale lemonade, simply made from fresh kale leaves and lemon. I love that to quench my thirst. Perhaps I love vegetable so much that I don't just simply eat them, I also drink them.

The second picture is eggplant omelette. It is made of eggplant, scrambled eggs, chopped garlic, chopped onions, plus I added some chia seeds.

The last one is simply a combination of broccoli, bean sprouts and tomatoes. 

Do I eat meat? NO! However, I do eat fish and other sea foods. Well, I actually only eat what I like, not what other people tells me what to eat, thus no meat at all! :) Unlike a lot of people who don't like vegetables because they only have a taste for meat, I on the other hand have a taste for vegetables!

So, let's go colorful! Vegetables and fruits! :)

Closer Than You Think: Asbestos Exposure in the Home

If you are living in a house that was built before 1980, there is a good chance some of the materials used to construct your house contained some asbestos. Even if asbestos is present in your home, this should not usually present a serious health risk.

There is no room for complacency, however, especially when you consider that some people are diagnosed with mesothelioma after prolonged exposure to asbestos-containing materials. Although this type of cancer is rare, it highlights the consequences of being exposed to asbestos which can become a health hazard if the fibers become damaged and are released into the air.

Examples of asbestos in your home

Asbestos was a widely used material in construction and continued to be used right up until the end of the 1970s when its use was severely restricted on health grounds.
Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may well have used asbestos as insulation and asbestos may also be present in textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. These materials were outlawed in 1977, but you should check if they are still present in your property if it is old enough.

If you have an old gas fireplace on your property, the artificial ashes and ambers sold for use with these fireplaces could contain asbestos. Other things to check for would be hot water and steam pipes in an older property which could have been coated with an asbestos material.
You can get a factsheet from the Environmental Protection Agency with a list of products and fittings that may contain asbestos and also get some information regarding safe removal.

Health issues

Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can increase your risk of contracting mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and also the abdominal cavity.
There is also the risk of asbestosis, a disease where the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
The more fibers you inhale, the greater your risk of contracting lung cancer and mesothelioma. The difficulty is that the symptoms of these diseases may not actually reveal themselves until some 15 to 60 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Many of us experience exposure to small amounts of asbestos on a fairly regular basis but the levels are not enough to develop the health problems that lead to serious and life-threatening health issues.

What to do

The best advice if you think you have asbestos in your home is to not disturb it yourself but call in a professional to get a proper assessment of the situation.

If the materials in your home are in good condition and not disturbed, they will not release asbestos fibers into the air. The dangers are raised to significant levels only when the fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs.

Make enquiries with a local health and environmental official to find out details of the proper handling and disposal procedures you have to follow.

Asbestos exposure in your home can present a health risk, but if you do not disturb the fibers and use a professional to handle any materials, you should be able to reduce the risk to safe levels.

Katie Johnson has a diverse background in PR, journalism and digital marketing. She is focused on creating a unique community for family, friends or those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease.

Another Beautiful Day

My Weekend's Pleasant Surprise
Right in front of our school, there is a canyon that has hiking trails. The canyon does not look very special, it is nested between hills and there is a railway that passes beside it.
Rose Canyon, San Diego
What stopped me before from hiking or walking here is that this canyon is just two blocks away from one of San Diego's bigger malls, and around it are many restaurants serving the many biotech, high tech and many other Science research firms. In short, this walk is very much within an earshot of civilization's noise. However, what made me take this trail is because of the fact that it is right in front of our school, where I can walk/and or run to get my dose of daily exercise after a day's work. What made the walk special is that, once we (my husband and I) entered the canyon, the civilization around us disappeared and was now blocked by plants and trees in this chaparral environment.
The Trail 
Some Colors At the Trail
Plants that live in a chaparral environment are oaks (these are what provide some fall colors), but mostly are evergreen pines and mahoganies, and many other low lying bushes.
Low Lying Bushes Found in the Trail
Now that I discovered this place, I can't wait for spring when I am imagining the hills around this canyon would burst with color from a diverse display of wildflowers. Right now however, this chaparral environment looks very dry and brown. Don't get me wrong, brown has its unique beauty too. Even though the flowers are already dried up and brown, but they still hold their beauty like this one.
Dried Wildflower @ The Trail
One of the many things that made the walk special in an otherwise very ordinary place was the presence of tiny creatures and a lot of birds and bunnies around. I however did not get lucky enough to catch any singing birds and jumping and running bunnies, but I sure loved seeing them. There were still some wildflowers on the ground, and I was happy to see some busy bees, butterfly and moth.
Busy Moth
( you can click on this picture to enlarge to better see how happy this moth is )
And the moth looked so happy sucking out sweet nectar of the flower.
Busy Bee
( we may not see the hairs of the bees when we look at them, but thankfully, the lens could. you can click on this picture to enlarge )
Alone But Not Lonely
( was surprised to see this one poppy in the trail, thought all poppies were all gone summer, so this is another pleasant surprise)
This Is My Husband's Find
Now that I have discovered this place, I know this is one of the places I can go to if I have the time to stop and simply enjoy the small creatures around. Hopefully, someday, I will get lucky enough to picture some of the birds that frequent this place. This is a place that looks very ordinary and nothing special from the outside, yet, it abounds with life inside.
After exploring this canyon, we went to the nearby ocean cliff to watch sunset.
Torrey Pine Cliffs
Torrey Pine Cliffs
Though I may live close to the ocean where we may be able to see sunset year round, but each time I see the sun disappearing in the horizon, it always makes me thankful that I see its promise of a beauitful tomorrow.

Morning Headaches: Discover the Sneaky Culprits and Causes

You might think that you just don’t do mornings, which is why you wake up most days with a headache, but there could be a reason behind your painful head.

There are quite a few people who are unwittingly suffering from nocturnal bruxism, which is the medical term used to describe teeth grinding and clenching. The problem is, that unless your partner notices or you have unexplained dental damage that reveals the problem, many sufferers are simply unaware that they are grinding their teeth in their sleep.

Advice from specialists like TMJ dentists Manhattan and information from the American Dental Association point to the primary reason for nocturnal grinding as a physical response to the fact that your teeth are not fitting as they should be.

Waking up with a headache

Bruxism is just one of the reasons why you are waking up to a headache each day and it should certainly be investigated to see if it is the culprit.

Health care providers will generally take a look at all the possible causes for your headaches and take into account the characteristics and symptoms of pain that you are showing, so that they can evaluate data you provide them such as the timing and frequency of your headaches, in order to hopefully pinpoint what the specific issue is that is causing you to suffer.

The National Headache Foundation say that certain types of headache are much more likely to occur in the morning than at any other time. This is because the body tends to produce more adrenaline and less endorphins, (which act as natural painkillers) during the early morning hours, which explains why morning headaches are quite commonplace.

Different headaches

There are numerous different classifications of headaches and of course there are migraines to consider as well.

Bruxism can be caused by stress amongst other things, which leads you to grind or clench your teeth. You can get an oral appliance from your dentist to help you stop grinding and this may help to alleviate your morning headaches

Sinus headaches are experienced when there is inflammation of the sinus passages behind your cheeks, eyes and nose. A feature of this type of headache is the patient will experience pain in the front of the face and head, which worsens when they bend over.
Treating any underlying allergies or possible sinus infection, will help relieve the symptoms of a sinus headache.

A tension headache is triggered by a bout of anxiety, anger or stress and can be classified differently to a headache caused by bruxism, as the pain is centered around the neck or head and feels rather like a vise is squeezing you.

Cluster headaches are also known as alarm clock headaches, because they often wake the patient up at some point in the night or very early in the morning. They are given the name of cluster headaches due to the fact that are periodic and seem to come in batches, with several episodes happening each day for weeks or even months at a time, and then ceasing for months and sometimes years before they occur again.

If you suffer from morning headaches, seeks some help from a medical professional so that you can identify what type of headache you have and the root cause of why it is happening to you.

Megan Anders has worked in the dental field for some time now. An avid writer, she likes to research the latest dental news and breakthroughs. Look for her informative articles on many websites, including medical and dental blogs.