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6.20.2006 - 33 comments 

The 317 foot Vernal Falls are one of the many powerful waterfalls within Yosemite National Park, (although we were there long after the heavy spring run off. The falls are not visible from the main valley but easily reached along a well-marked path that begins near the Happy Isles Nature Centre - this in turn is half a mile from the end of the publicly accessible roads and is served by a shuttle bus.

The path is level at first although sandy and rocky, and is often quite crowded. It winds through wooded land just north of the Merced River - a fast-flowing boulder-filled whitewater torrent with many small rapids and cascades. The view looking back towards Yosemite Valley gets more dramatic as the path gradually ascends.

Mist Trail as it is called (which is how we got to the falls) is a foot path that crosses the river on a wooden bridge, where there is a (seasonal) supply of drinking water, and then continues upstream on the south side, becoming steeper near the falls. This particular part of the path is known as the Mist Trail since the whole area just below is continually dampened by spray, hence the rocks are covered with moss and other water-loving plants, and the trail becomes quite slippery. If the sun shines, transient mini rainbows form, and change shape as the spray is wafted in the breeze.

The total elevation gain along the 1.5 mile walk to this point is 1,000 feet. The path continues to the even more spectacular Nevada Falls, 2 miles upstream. But we didn't make it any further than this point. In fact that small half naked body at the bottom of the falls is none other that the LAZY Blogger (which means I didn't actual take this shot) but I did set it up and it was my camera, so I guess that sort of counts!

"Don't just dream about life! Live it!" ~ LAZY Blogger Posted by Picasa