Nevada Falls - next falls up from Vernal. Nevada is bigger, but the water does not fall as freely, as straight, as Vernal, cuz of the slight slope you see. Can't get as close to Nevada as you can to Vernal. I like Vernal better.
Once you reach the top of Nevada Falls, you've got the first big chunk of the climb out of the way. Then you'll hit the long, flat, dry, dusty trails of Little Yosemite Valley. LYV lasts about a mile, before you hit the dreaded switchbacks that seem to go on for ever, and take you to Quarter Dome, where you start the final ascent to the top of HalfDome.
At the top of Nevada Falls is where the sun first hits you. This pic was taken on the way down. But, on the way up, it's still kinda dark & cool (early in the day). Once you hot the sun, it gets hot fast.
I climbed with my (Teva) hiking boots from the beginning of the trail to the top of Nevada Falls (cuz it's all steep and rocky). At the top of Nevda, I took off my hiking boot (had more than one nice blister from two weeks of hiking previously), and my soaking wet sweaty socks, and put on my sandals, cuz there's a mile-or-so of flat, dirt trail (called Little Yosemite Valley).
I wore my (Clarks, leather) sandals across LYV + up the switchbacks, until we hit the bottom of Quarter Dome, where it gets very steep and rocky again. Then I washed my feet with clean water, dried them good, put on the moleskin Lani made for me, a pair of clean socks I brought along & put my hiking boots back on, for the climb to the top of Half Dome.
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