Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yosemite Day 2

When we last left our heroes three of them were lost in a world of slumber. The fourth in their party was tossing and turning, trying her darndest to get something other than Backyardigans to go through her exhausted mind. Suddenly an urge fell upon her. It was a feeling that most tired and lazy campers dread. The urge to pee. So what does she do? She gets up and kneels over to get her shoes and SMACK! An eye full of chair! She mumbles that she hopes she got a black eye because sarcasm is in her nature and stumbles forth to her shoes and then the door. Suddenly all the signs, pamphlets, and videos that Yosemite had been promoting about bears had consumed her every thought. She had to walk through the campsite at night with nothing but her and what she assumed were approximately 5 thousand bears hiding in the shadows hungry for 30 year old women. The walk became more of a brisk jog as she ducked into the bathroom with a sigh of relief. And then it occurred to her, couldn’t the bears just walk right into the bathroom just as she did? She thought of the stalls beside her, all filled with bears sitting on toilets with newspapers in hand. She did her business and got out of there as quickly as possible. She ran across the road and back to her cabin, happy to be back in the bear proof confines of those four walls. Suddenly the Backyardigans weren’t so bad after all…

The next morning I woke up way before the rest of my family so I got a nice refreshing shower in and then proceeded to get the rest of my team up and at ‘em. We had a whole world to explore! We checked out of our cabin and loaded the car and then started our day. We opted walk from Curry Village to Yosemite Lodge. It is a very flat walk across the valley. Maybe three miles total. The paths are paved and mainly used by bikes. Perfect for strollers of the double wide sort such as ours. We traversed meadows,walked over bridges and through woodlands. Finally we reached our first stop,The Valley Visitor Center. Here you can look at the many interesting exhibits about the geology of the valley and the people who helped assure its protection.

There is also a small store where you can get your National Park Passports stamped (more on those fab little items in another post) and pick up some goodies such as the patches I like to get to sew to my backpack. The kids enjoyed running around the exhibits and making poor Paul insane while I made our purchases. We then walked behind the center where the Miwok exhibit was located. There was a Native American ranger giving a talk but our children had no interest in sitting still and quiet for that so we opted for the self guided tour. I have to admit I snuck over to listen to the talk when I could. I love learning about other cultures! The kids had a blast playing in the village.

It is truly a family friendly spot because the kids can run around and the adults can actually learn a thing or two about native culture. In the same area is the Ansel Adams gallery which we didn’t go in because, well, we forgot. We were going to go after the Native American exhibit and got sidetracked. I really do wish we went in because I love his photography.
After all that fun near the Visitor Center we pressed on to begin the Lower Yosemite Falls hike. I use the term hike loosely because it is really more of a walk. The trail is paved and stroller friendly. Once you reach the falls you can feel the refreshing spray and take in the beauty with the roar of the water crashing into the rocks below.

Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America with a 2425 foot drop. It is also a seasonal waterfall resulting from the spring snowmelt. Most years it is raging full force mid May but completely dry by late July. The snow must have been melting at a rapid rate while we were there because that water was shooting over the cliff side with such amazing force. The kids had a great time looking at the water and running in circles around a boulder.

We pressed on towards Yosemite Lodge taking more than one opportunity to turn around and capture a great view of the full falls.

We caught the free shuttle at the Lodge to take us back to Curry Village. The shuttles are because they have greatly reduced the congestion and pollution in the valley. One pain is that you do have to collapse your stroller to get on the shuttle (and we had to take our wheels off our giant behemoth of a jogging stroller) but using the shuttle was very easy and the kids liked being able to sit in “big kid” seats. We jumped off at our stop and grabbed some food to go at Curry Village. The kids had a chicken quesadilla, Paul and sandwich and I went big and got the super nachos because I was starving!!!! We loaded up the car and headed out to Glacier Point.
Ben fell asleep after approximately one bite of quesadilla and Mari snacked away exclaiming “Yummy!” from the back seat. The drive from the valley to Glacier Point takes about an hour but it is a pretty drive and the view is definitely worth it. As we approached the point there were still small patches of snow on the ground which I thought was amazing consider how long we had gone without rain in the Sacramento Valley and how hot it had been. Finally we turned a corner and saw what all the fuss was about. You could see it all. Half Dome was the first obvious icon to pop out at me from the car

It was looks like nothing else I have ever seen. From our view it seems amazing that people can climb to the top. We parked in the lot and I made a beeline to the bathroom. All that ice tea I chugged had caught up with me. In front of me in line were two dressed up older women. They told me there was going to be a wedding at Glacier Point in 17 minutes. And one of the women was the mother of the bride. She told me that the bride and groom we avid outdoors people and loved rock climbing. I can’t imagine a more perfect place for people like them to get married. I had to snap a couple shots of their beautiful ceremony.

We pushed the kids in the stroller up to the top of Glacier Point. It was a very short walk from the parking lot. The view was spectacular. Yosemite Falls at one end.

Nevada and Vernal Falls at the other

If you peered straight down over the edge you could see the pool right next to the cabin we stayed in!

Everywhere we turned the view was spectacular. We headed back down towards the visitor area and grabbed ice cream before starting our journey back down the mountain and towards home. The kids were fans of the Nestle Crunch Bar to say the least

Back in the car we hopped and thus began our long journey home. We did make a pit stop to take in the famous tunnel view.

El Capitan and a rainbow shrouded Bridelveil Falls in the foreground with Half Dome looming in the back. A nice final snapshot of our short stay in paradise.

If you would like to see more pictures from our trip click this link and you will get to see even more fun and read my Shartastic captions

Tomorrow I hope to give an overview of Yosemite with kids and some great ideas for different ages and travel styles. Until then, enjoy your own adventures!


debi9kids said...

Another GREAT recap!
Those vies of the falls were FANTASTIC! I am SO jealous!
Can't wait for the rest!!!
:) Debi
ps Miss Em has that dress too!

Shannon said...

Your photos are absolutely stunning and seriously made me cry a little. I really can't wait to see it in person for myself, I'm sure I will bawl, LOL!

P.S. Glad you didn't get attacked by any bears :)

Jessica Kate said...

That's my girl! I'm so excited that you are doing this.
Bravo! my friend. Bravo!

Christy said...

AWESOME 2nd day! And ALL the pics were fab!!

Debbie Moore said...

Those are some great pictures!! I really hope to make it over your way some day and share of it with my kiddos!!