Sign Grammar

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Simple rule: If a waterfall cascades down to the bottom, it is called  “Falls.” (plural) As in Yosemite Falls. If the water drops straight down unimpeded, it is singular: “Fall.” As in Vernal Fall. Really. The park is generally pretty good about the distinction. I admit it’s extreme trivia, but now it grates me to see it messed up – especially by the park. As you trundle up the John Muir Trail out of Happy Isles on your way to Half Dome, you are greeted with a mileage sign.  This photo of the sign was taken in the 1960’s and has it correct.

sign 3 old

The next photo was taken last year.  This sign has been up for a very long time … I’d say since the 1980’s. Note the typo that the carpenter made when he whittled it.  FALLS.sign 2This photo of the same sign was taken a month ago. Note that someone (wonder who) did a correction via red tape. I bet some do-gooder already took it off. Sigh. Sign 1 corrected
Unrelated thought worth quoting:  “Hey, tonight, gonna be tonight. Don’t you know I’m flyin’, tonight, tonight. Hey, c’mon. Gonna chase tomorrow, tonight, tonight.” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch –


5 Responses to “Sign Grammar”

  1. Kate Says:

    Question for you – the KM mileage seems wrong for Half Dome and Glacier Point. After all, when you convert 8.2 miles to km, you get 13.2 km, right? So then, why does it say 11.3??

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      8 KM is 6 miles….my math comes up with 10.9 km for 8.2 miles. I dont; trust the sign – the carpenter made several screw ups. I have taken a GPS and measured 15.5 miles for the Mist up and JMT down.


      The word is FALL not FALLS when tlaking about s nglular Vernal or Nevada FALL. If water goes down w/o cascading, it s a fall..if it cascades, it is FALLS like Yosemite Falls….. go figure. Use your GPS for acuracy.. and the Metric system never caught on in the USA so why do they have that?? To be nice to Euro’s….no, too cheap to make a new sign.

  2. Kate Says:

    Hi MrHalfDome, 8.2 miles converts to 13.2 km since 1 mile = 1.609344 kilometers. However, the 13.2 is rounding 13.19. I wonder if dyslexia was at work, and the scribe wrote 11.3 for the carpenter when the intent was 13.1? I agree with the Fall vs. Falls, but it troubles me less than the inaccurate math….after all, my European friends would be more impressed with 13.2 than 11.3. LOL!! 😉 But assuming 11.3 km is correct, then miles would be 7.0. Perhaps this is what miles was originally because it was based on up and down Mist, and eventually someone said miles is more like 8.2 since it should be assumed going up and down JMT instead? BTW, I took my Garmin 60CSx with my last week (also up Mist and down JMT), and it also calculated 15.5 from sign to sign. So, maybe the 8.2 does assume JMT up and down….

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      You’re the math major..I was an Aerospace Engineering grad…. 80 km/hr = 60 miles /hr. Check your car speedo…easier to remember than 1.609344 so 8 km = 6 mi…and I go from there…whatever…Do HD again and they will really be impressed!

      The 60CSx is mine also..great unit…. and I agree the 8.2 is assuming the longer JMT each way. I prefer to argue about the grammar. :>)

  3. Kate Says:

    haha, how did you know I was a math major? Actually, Comp Sci & Math…but emphasis on the Math. So, 60 mph is actually 96.56 kmph. 80 kmph is 49.71 mph. This is based on the 1 mph = 1.609344 kmph rule, but here’s one of several online converters that you can use to double-check –

    Yes, this was HD 2 for me – did it 2 years ago. This time, we also went backpacking 2 days later from Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang, which was beautiful albeit full of swarming mosquitoes. I love Yosemite and have done a few of the hikes there. Next on my list is Glen Aulin. But first, it will be Mt. Whitney on 8/31.

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