A trip to Yosemite

July 19, 2009

I had no idea – of course you know that when you visit a National Park, it’s going to be an adventure.  But I had no idea Yosemite would be as breathtakingly beautiful as it was.  It was being as close to heaven, literally, that I’ve ever been!

Okay but the adventure of getting there?  Not so much.  My poor husband had to pretty much peel me off the ceiling – I was literally clinging to the arms of my seat for dear life as our trusted but 10-year-old minivan chugged on up the hairpin turns, carrying us up to an altitude of over 7,000 feet!  Our ears are popping every few minutes, and all I can think is how awful for us to treat the old girl this way in her ripe old age!?  How is she  gonna carry us safely back without her brakes burning out?  My hubby’s the best – handling me as well as our old van beautifully.

The side of the road drops away into a canyon, there are no guardrails to speak of, and we finally find ourselves going through a tunnel that’s, no joke, a mile-long through one of the mountains.  And then, suddenly, all of the anxiety’s over.  You’re so blown away by the sight before you that you don’t look back.  My fingernail marks are left in my armrests, and they never return – because it’s not about the journey anymore – it’s about the destination, and you’re rewarded more than you ever thought you could be.  Just look at this view -

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It’s hard to see it, but can you see the waterfall off in the distance in the first image, over towards the right?  It’s “Bridal Veil Falls”, and our next stop was a hike to its base, across the valley you see here.  It was incredible.  The air was so dry here, and you could feel the mist sprinkle your face while you looked up at the falling water – unbelievable.

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Here’s Cole taking a better look!

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Mommy looks a little funny all up-close and in-your-face apparently.

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So the one thing I was hoping to catch, not so up-close-and-personal, was a bear.  We searched the whole day, and finally caught a glimpse of one tearing the bark off a fallen tree in search of a little snack.  How cool is that???   He’s kinda cute for something that could tear your skin off as well!

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It was right after we saw this fella that we got to the highest elevation of 7,000 feet – just look at the view -

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This rock on the left is called “Half Dome” and people actually hike up a path off it’s back –  I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw them myself – a guy on our side of the canyon had a telescope pointed right at its top – and you could see all sorts of people running around up there.  I’d never make it.

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I’ll stick with my crazy guys.

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Down there?  That’s the Valley that we walked around while viewing Bridal Veil Falls.  Just a measily 4,000 ft. elevation.  That’s nuthin!!  

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Here are our great explorers-  

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And Jack’s expression says it all – it was just awesome.

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On the second day of our trip, we celebrated Cole’s THIRD birthday!!!!!  I can’t believe it – he’s growing up so fast.  We knew it would be another busy day of exploration, so we didn’t waste any time singing and having a candle for him to blow out – we improvised since it was breakfast, and they decorated a plate and put a candle in his Blueberry muffin.  Gotta love it!

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(Just in case he forgot, I was already wishing for strong brakes for the ride home!)

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The chocolate letters were evidently the best…

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Happy Birthday, buddy.  We love you.

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On this day, we hiked along a valley of tremendous Sequoia Giants – I tried to capture their height, but pictures just don’t give them justice.

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Maybe this helps give perspective -

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Hard to see in that last shot, but Cole’s not going anywhere this day without his Birthday Present – a stuffed bear that hangs on his neck – it was his discovery buddy and I had to grab a shot.  His name is “Bearie” – I know – my kids aren’t that creative when it comes to names!

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The Park had recently had a fire, so the boys had fun leaving their “mark” on a fallen giant with sooty sticks -

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Another fallen giant – never seen anything like it.

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The big guys had fun hiking around with their handy-dandy watch/compass/magnifying glass/walkie-talkie gadgets!  Way fun.

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I wanted to include some shots of the rest of our journey home – California’s scenery is incredibly diverse, with so many beautiful hills and mountains.  It’s so gorgeous I can’t even tell you.

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Stay tuned — up next, images from this past week’s Skateboard Camp that the boys went to – loved it so much we’ll do it again our final week here!!

Love to everyone back home!

:)  Kristin.

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