We wake up early this morning, after a very cold night. In this huge park, the Yosemite NP, we did not notice that we went up to more than 2.000 metres in altitude and after the heat of yesterday, tonight we had our teeth chattering from the cold.
Still cold, we have a nice hot breakfast and then hit the road straight after. We still don’t know what to do today, there’s so much to see that it is not easy to decide what to discard, and we have to decide something that take at least a whole day, not more.
Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

A good day, you can see it from the morning…and here it is never a bad day!

We drive back to Yosemite Village and have a stop at the visitor center and decide what to do. The choices are endless, but once we discar the trail which would be too long for a day-hike – those that would be the greatest ones, if only we were equipped and we had more time – what remains is a series of nice hike, most of which very crowded.

We spend a lot of time to decide – included a second breakfast to increase the concentration and sort things out – then, not too sure about it, but hoping that it is the right choice, we head to the Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

We are compelled to stop in one of the many meadows under the majestic El Capitain

Our one and only concern is to find many, too many people and not be able to enjoy the amazing landscapes of the Mist Trail, this very long path with lots of carved into the rock, that leads to the base and then on top of these two amazing waterfalls.

Arrived at starting point, as we forsee, we are definetly not alone, not even close to being alone.
Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

Let’s go! Here we are, walking again, along with the huge crowd

But a part from the people, right from the first step,  the landscape is pretty stunning: a wild and lush forest tucked in a narrow valley, enclosed between huge walls of granite. Not bad as to start, even if we’re together with a lot of other people that we hope, however, who will lose the desire to go on as the path gets steeper and harder.
Up to the base of the Vernal Falls, the walk is soft and nice, plunged in the woods, with little slope and such an amazing view all around.
And then there it comes, just a small waterfall due to drought of the last years and by the fact that we are in September, but it is easy to understand his greatness by the marks left in the hard rock in centuries and centuries of carving.
Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

Even with the slightest flow, the Vernal Falls are wonderful

We can only imagine what a wonder this waterfall can be when a wall of thundering water dives from the peak to the pool in front of us. The marks left during time are very clear: polished rockes, huge trunks thrown in around – the one behind me, for example! – I mean, the nature expressing its strength.
Thanks to the light water flow, we can get as close to the pond as the rocks are there to jump on and withour even getting soaking wet as everyone coming here in spring would.
Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

On top of the Vernal Falls, Yosemite majesty is waiting for us

We decide to go ahead and get on top of the Nevada falls, following the main path and the taking the famous John Muir Trail on the way back.
Until now, the path has been easy and accessible, but the 600 steps carved in the rock to get on top of the Vernal falls and the steep hairpins to get on top of the Nevada falls, have been warming our legs up. It’s not too hard, but enough to make a big part of the crowd to stop at the bottom and finally leave us breathe the amazing mood of forest and the enjoy the landscapes in peace.
Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

Some minutes of pause before to reach the top of the Nevada Falls, under the always-present Half Dome

Refreshed by the wind which blows up here – finally, the temperature at the bottom was pretty hot – we enjoy the Yosemite Valley landscape.

There is not much to say, it is just majestic and wonderful, a great strenght exhibition by the Nature, a place where forests still are reigning and the water is carving the rock grain after grain, modelling the landscape to its will.

Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

Just a couple months ago, it would be impossible to take this picture: I would have been flushed away by the raging water

On top of the waterfalls there is quite a crows, since right up here a few well known path cross, each of them leading to amazing places – but some days of hiking from here, so not affordable for us – all of this without getting out of this park which has already found a place in our hearts.

We enjoy the view and some minutes of pause, taking the risk to slip down from the edge of a cliff to take the perfect photo – yes, I know, I will find myself falling down faster than I should, it’s just a matter of time!

Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

Indeed, un unforgettable view

As we have decided before, to get down we walk a brief part of the longer John Muir Trail, 338 kilometers of paths among the most beautiful natural parks in California – and I would say in the whole US – far away from the society.

Wondering about how such an adventure it would be to walk it thoroughly, we get on the way back, stopping more than once to stare the wonderful panoramas of the Yosemite Valley peaks from a different point of view.

Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

The Vernal Falls, from up are, seem just like a little river, under the towering Half Dome

In something more than three hours from the beginning, we walked more than 11 kilometers and around 600 meters heightdrop. It is weird, on our Alps the heightdrop would have been at least twice it, here everything is flatter, but not at all less fascinating.

Just before getting to the end of the trail, we meet a man who ask us to take a picture of him with the billboard of the trail lenghts, signaling the kilometers he has walked with his huge backpack. He explains he just finished walking the whole John Muir Trail, even starting 30 kilometers before, for a total of something more than 350 kilometers, we are so envious!

Then it’s time to go, we have to find a place for the night.

Vernal-Nevada Falls, Yosemite NP

Porcupine Campground, the best campground we have been to from the start of this road trip

We have a quick stop in Yosemite Village for some grocery – don’t ever do that, everything is so expensive! – and then we hit the road, driving towards Tuolumne Valley, the less known valley of the Yosemite National Park, but totally worth a visit.

We stop somewhere around half of the way, at the Porcupine Flat Campground, where we find a nice campsite and for the first time, after the usual dinner cooked on the fire, we finally are able to hang our hammocks and have some plain relax, hearing the guitar music played by the neighbor. Everything is perfect, there is nothing left to say!

There is nothing left to do than going to sleep, dreaming about California…California dreamin’ !


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