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Sunday, August 8, 2010

July 31st - Aug 5 - Yosemite National Park

We started this day with icing cupcakes and had a very sweet breakfast. Soon we were on the way into Yosemite. It's some 5000 ft up and we had a very curvy road. There was a sign to "turn off air conditioning" and there were bottles on the side of the road labelled "H2O". This was a grand entrance into Yosemite. We spent the first 2 nights tucked into a tiny spot in Hodgen Meadows and then moved into the Valley for 3 nights at North Pines campground.

There are so many great memories of these 5 days but I'm too exhausted to write too much. Here are the highlights:

  • July 31st -- after a long drive we just took it easy and hung out at the site. The girls got their Junior Ranger worksheet.
  • Aug 1st -- went on a hike to the Tuolloume Sequoia Grove. We did not realize how difficult this hike would be. Thank goodness we brought water and started off. It was 1 mile in and 1 mile back but with an elevation change of over 400ft! Out little Sophia did it and it was tough but worth it. We had our first experience with the huge sequoia trees. One was so big a passage had been cut through the centre for wagons to pass through. Another was on the ground and decayed enough that the kids could walk through the middle of it.
  • Noticed how loud and obnoxious some campers are. Some people don't respect the quiet hours or the hours to stop using a generator. There are people here from everywhere -- Europe, Japan, etc. It's a very different atmosphere than Yellowstone. At Yosemite it seems like it's about people first and people are more pushy and loud. At Yellowstone it was about the animals first.
  • Aug. 2nd - we moved campsite to the valley. The drive was over 2000 ft elevation change. When we came into the valley it was stunning. First we saw El Capitan and then Half Dome. The valley is surrounded by rock that is cut beautifully and soars up thousands of feet. The valley is so lush -- green meadows and tall pine trees in the forest. With a blue sky overhead we quickly understood the fame of Yosemite Valley. Our site was very tight and we had to squeeze in the wrong way because our neighbour's slideout was on our site preventing us to open our awning. Luckily the people on the other side had a huge spot and didn't mind our "reverse" setup. We went to Yosemite Lodge to get on the internet and did some shopping at the gift store -- a sweater for Jess and a T-shirt for Sophia. Our site was only steps from a sandy beach onto the Merced River which was a couple feet high with a rock bottom. The girls actually crossed this river - about 40 feet or so , Sophia being the leader! I went on a bike ride to Mirror Lake and got a beautiful picture of Half Dome reflected below.
  • Aug. 3rd - We did a hike to Lower Yosemite Falls -- just about 1 mile round trip and much easier than our previous hike! Later in the evening we went to see a show about John Muir. What an amazing man! He was a mountaineer and naturalist. His love for nature was brought to life by Lee Stetson. I really enjoyed hearing the passion and love this man had for the park. The kids were so tired they fell asleep almost and we were in the front row -- about 10 feet from the actor! But later he said he didn't mind and signed the book we bought to Jessica and Sophia. We also bought a CD and enjoyed hearing the same actor recount adventure tales of John Muir. Later this night we woke up to banging noises -- people were hitting pots and yelling trying to deter a bear about 60 feet from our camp site. They set off their car alarms and this went on for about an hour as the bear kept being persistent. Tom and I didn't see the Bear but people were up all around us and we saw some people lock up into their car -- we would too if were in a tent!
  • Aug. 4th - we drove to Glacier Point -- to the top of the south side of the rim. The view was spectacular. We could tell even the kids were impressed. Later this day we did a family bike ride from our camp to Yosemite Village. This was our first family bike ride -- all 4 of us and it was 2 miles round trip. Sophia did absolutely great. The girls finished their junior ranger programs and got their badges awarded. Later we had a campfire. What a great day!

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