Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yosemite 2011

At the beginning of July (this month seems like it has lasted forever and has been nuts to say the least) my family went to Yosemite National Park for vacation. Yosemite has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, and each time I go I fall a little more in love. There are huge waterfalls everywhere, trees galore, the sound of the river or a stream pretty much wherever you go, awesome animal sitings, etc. etc. etc. We last went in 2009 and hiked Half Dome (remember this?)... it was both Wes' and my first visit there.So, this year we had high expectations of fun!

However, we did have a few dampers... my dad passed a kidney stone, Wes' lack of a bear sighting, and ***Danny and Sarah were gone with baby Will in the hospital--- that still is a struggle for us, but we have high hopes for his recovery. But, in spite of those things we were able to enjoy the pure beauty of the park as a family.

Upper Yosemite Falls

 Half Dome

Some of the highlights of our trip this year were:

The Ahwanee Hotel (which I would love to stay at) and our fantastic bike rides to and from that area.
(The kids were hamming it up taking pictures, so Heidi and I decided to join in on the fun).

We had the best tent ever. I had to take a picture of how huge it actually was. Peyton had her own separate room, and our queen mattress was on the other side. It was great because Peyton's area could become an all screened room, so we put her toys in there and she could play and crawl around inside, which alleviated a lot of stress on our part.

Great walks to Curry Village... and excellent ice cream.

 The water levels from the snow fall this year were higher than it's been in about 50 years or so. Which made for a raging cold river. I mean really, really cold water. It also caused waterfalls which never existed in the past. What a beautiful place!

Our 1 real hike this year was the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls. It was misty to say the least. We all got drenched. It also made the granite steps that run parallel to a steep cliff and raging river and jagged rocks especially scary. Even more so for those who are clumsy and fear hikes (guilty). Wes and Ned both ended up taking the little kids down about half way up because it was so cold, wet and dangerous.

But making it to the top was fun. Sadly, about 1 week later 3 hikers fell into the water and the top and their bodies have yet to be found--- story here. People don't take seriously how fast and dangerous the water can be at the top of the waterfall.

Because Danny and Sarah were at the hospital with Will all week, we all helped take care of Carter and Claire. Who were both sweethearts the entire week!

We later found out about the $500 fine for feeding squirrels. $5000 for bears.... whoops!
No fine for feeding cute babies though.

We shared our camp site with my parents and the Hamiltons (Hayley and Adam). The Todd (Jr's) had a separate site with Sarah's family, and The Brobergs shared with Ned's sister Amy Wooley and her family. So we had the party block where the kids rode their bikes back and forth and were in heaven. However, only our site had "the party tent"""." Honestly, we had a raving good time.


 Peyton loved camping and taking her nightly bath outdoors. Actually, so did the rest of the kids.

But even with our baths... we still got dirty.

We also went to the Indian Caves and Mirror Lake. Adam Hamilton gave us one of our fondest memories at Mirror Lake when the boys decided to jump off a rock there. "Look out Below! I'm coming down, I'm coming down!"

The weather was great, though it did get a little chilly at night. But, we really lucked out.
BTW, I had to post this because of the creepy doll face in the corner. :)

 We did swim in the river. And found this great area to jump into the rapids then swim with the current and exit at the beach. It was quite refreshing if you don't mind the feeling of needles from the cold and the lack of being able to breath for a period of time. The younger kids did a revised version with the help of Uncle Wes and Ned.

I specifically had a few favorite moments or activities we did. One of which was on our last night there when we took a twilight bike ride to Lower Yosemite Falls. We saw a buck, countless deer eating, and had just an absolutely wonderful ride. Our bikes really gave us a new way to experience the park and we were all so happy to have them. They really added an element of fun!

 My other most favorite thing we did this year and last time, was float down the river. Last time Wes and I were without child so we went on individual inter tubes. This year we brought our own raft and did it as a family. We may have snuck in the river at an off limits site and did a few small rapids and were lucky we didn't turn over. But, we had so. much. fun!


There were a number of bear sightings this year. Thus, while camping at Yosemite you must keep everything with a scent, and all food within the closed bear box at all times. Or else they will come and sit directly on top of your bear box looking for food as we found out.

My dad was very concerned about Peyton being eaten by a bear if she was alone sleeping in the tent. So we put our little bear-mallow in the bear box to keep her safe.
 By the way... Wes was the ONLY one not to see a bear this trip. I had probably the worst sighting, but a sighting none the less. So, the joke was, if you didn't want to see a bear (for fear, etc) hang with Wes and you would have no problem avoiding them. Someone was kind enough to snap this photo of a baby bear running right next to our tent, while we were away at the stables. Oh yes, this was after he came and sat on our box with the entire family sitting within 10 feet of it.

It is always so hard to leave and come back to real life... this was no exception.