Yup. We’ve seen Yosemite. In a flash. As I said, we were feeling a bit out-dry-camped and out-frozen. We spent a couple of nice days at Lake Tahoe on our way to Yosemite but again, with cold and cloudy skies. We spent a day simply playing around the camper all day – building forts, finding treasures, and getting mega-dirty (again). With no shower in sight. The kiddo’s don’t even complain anymore when I pull out the bucket to get them semi-cleaned up at bedtime (“just like in the old days”). I got to finish the page-turner I was reading, journaled a bit, and we cooked over the campfire. You can check out our gallery.
We almost felt guilty the next day that we did not “do” anything, so for good form we hiked up Eagle Rock.
We got a nice bird’s eye view of the Lake. It’s not really a hike, rather a short climb, but enough to get our blood flowing. The weather was so so, so we spent the rest of the day at a playground, and inside a café. We’ve been perplexed how much the weather affects our mood. Camping makes us so much more aware of the temperature, day and night. And then we’re not even in a tent! I admire those tent campers who crawl out in the morning with their hats and gloves. Our camper protects us somewhat from the elements, but without a heater, it does get p-r-e-t-t-y cold at night. The weather gods listened to our plea. The sun came out, and while we had planned to drive that day, we stuck around. We truly and deeply enjoyed our lunch on the deck at Sunnyside Lodge. It was such a welcome treat to be overlooking the water, the sun warming our faces, with a water-plane landing right there. Afterwards we kayaked and supped, and the boys went swimming even. I urged them to the shore when V said he could not feel his toes anymore. He’s a polar bear; he’ll swim anywhere, anytime.
We made it to Bridgeport that night, in the Eastern Sierra and stayed at a little gem of a campground.
By now, we could feel us losing steam. Our initial itinerary had us spending 4 full days at Yosemite. But the sun was shining, and the place had some decent wifi (happy dance!). What more could we want? We decided to hang around an extra day here too. We promised ourselves we’d leave early the next day so we’d still have the afternoon to explore east Yosemite…. We did not leave early. We had to stop by the library to make a print-out, and the kids drooooooled over the books: “Can we stay, please, please, please?” We stayed.
We laid on the cushions reading, and picked out new books to download onto our kindles. (Great wifi at the libray. Why did we not think of that earlier??). And so it happened that 3 hours later we were finally on the road. We got to Yosemite at dusk….
Why are we obsessed with wifi, you ask? Well, we have not booked anything for Peru and Chile yet. No hotels, flights, activities. Nada. I had planned to do that while we were in the camper. But it’s been near impossible. Bad, bad, bad for the planner in the family :-).
So, we rushed through Yosemite. Blasphemy, I know. We realized we had to make the most of the roughly 2 days we’d spend there. We drove across the park, and onto Glacier Point early the next morning. On our way, we drove through controlled forest fire, which while controlled, was still impressive. We were ‘escorted’ up a section of the mountain, and were impressed with the professionalism of the rangers and fire fighters.
A friend had recommended the 14k Panorama Trail that starts at Glacier Point and takes you all the way down to the valley. A bit too much for our crew that day, so I got to do this one on my own. I loved every minute of it. The views were incredible all around, and the trail takes you along incredible Nevada and Verna Falls. Even at this time of year they came crashing down and the water roared loudly.
In the meantime, the kids earned another junior ranger badge, dad took them to the Lower Yosemite Falls, and they had ice cream. Everybody happy.
We re-united for dinner at the Yosemite Lodge, and shared our stories. In the pitch black, we drove the 2 hours back to our Tin Can. It drizzled rain. We were staying at Tuolumne Meadows on the east side of the park. The campground would close a couple of nights later, and we now know why. We woke up to a pristine blanket of snow, under a crisp blue sky!! That took us by surprise; and we wished we had our winter clothes with us to go play in the snow. Our little polar bear was unstoppable off course. He did not come back inside until again, he could no longer feel his toes. Dad hooked up the trailer, and expertly maneuvered us out of the snow. We drove west through the park once more and bundled up to hike into Tuolumne Grove, home to some 25 mature sequoia’s. Majestic trees. Estimated to be over a thousand years old. It was well worth the 400ft climb.
We made it back to the car just before hail came pouring down. This time of year, tree branches also come crashing down, and we narrowly escaped one clashing into the ground. We decided then and there we’d had enough cold. We skipped Bridalveil Falls, and made our way to Coarsegold. Onto the sun, and Disneyland!
That evening we celebrated our last night under the stars with our Tin Can. The sun set red over the rolling hills. We sat around a perfect campfire, held hands, and talked about our adventure so far. What will we remember the most? What do we feel it’s done for our family? What would we change if anything? A perfect moment; a couple of minutes where love was just electric…
We are now in Anaheim, our last nights in the camper. Time to clean up and repack for the next leg of our trip. We donated what we can’t take on the plane. We’re catching up on schoolwork. Matthias got to practice divisions today. You should have seen his excitement. He was literally jumping up and down, so so happy that “I know how to do divisions!! I can do divisions!! Really! Woohoo!!!! Vin, look!!”. I honestly was not very connected with their schoolwork before, and it’s very rewarding for me to witness them embrace the different subjects, struggle their way through things sometimes, but generally grasping on and learning fast.
Before we get on that plane … a nice, warm hotel room and a couple days of Disney! I am still a skeptic, but I am sure I will return converted…