Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. ~ John Muir
Northern California is a true wilderness lover's paradise. With countless parks to choose from, one can enjoy a complete recharge on the cheap. We were very fortunate to spend a few days in Yosemite National Park. Visiting in the off-season ensures an uninterrupted connection to nature. We also don't mind a bit of cold. We loved the beautiful autumn colors and the snow at higher elevations.
We meandered through the park for hours but didn't do much strenuous hiking until our last day there. We visited the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias where we took an unpaved hiking trail to the Wawona Point summit (6810 feet!) - me, half grumbling and dragging my behind on the way up in my pregnant state. Near the top, we came across a winter wonderland which we had all to ourselves (apparently many folks don't make it past the few sequoias near the parking lot before leaving (for shame!). It was a real gift. I think we may have found a new family tradition.
Images: Silvana Ferreira