600 granite steps later…

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It is by far is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter. — John Muir

Though it feels like our road trip was eons ago, it was just two weeks ago that we were still on the journey back to New Jersey.  One of our major stops after San Francisco was Yosemite National Park, or 1,169 square miles of beautiful wilderness and open space that is home to over 400 vertebrates, innumerable plants and other creatures.  We drove from San Francisco, stayed overnight in Oakland, CA and made it to Yosemite in the early morning hours and greeted the day with some of the most breath-taking views of granite cliffs, waterfalls, and vegetation.

Since it was early in the day, the park was not yet as crowded as it normally is, as it is the high tourist season, and we stopped for a map and decided to take the Vernal Falls hike.  One of the more popular hikes but still strenuous due to the elevation increase and 600 granite steps, the hike to the top of the falls and back is about 3 miles and we made the trip in about 2 and a half hours at a leisurely pace.  We were about 20 minutes into our hike when the light mist turned into a pretty consistent rain; by the time we reach the falls, we were all very wet but prepared with rain gear for sure!  We made it to the top with soggy socks but very proud of ourselves; the railing allowed us to go right up to the river’s edge which was swollen and rushing due to the large amount of recent rain and snow melt.

Truly, one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and I was so glad to share a hike and a day like this with my brother and dad.  Though it was a short hike and visit to Yosemite, we got our fair share of landscape, outdoor adventure and wildlife sightings.. a buck sauntered through the parking lot as we returned to our car, seemingly mystified as to why so many people were in his backyard.  We dried off, loaded up the car and were off to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon the next day..

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