Chapter 4 -- What I Did Over Summer Vacation: Yosemite... AT LAST!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The story continues...

    We entered the Yosemite National Park boundary, and our first stop was in the little village of Wawona. We saw a sign for a waterfall hike and decided to investigate. It turned out to be a short, but steep hike up to Chilnaulna Falls.

    husband, difficult child 2 and easy child, being part mountain goat, decided to climb higher than difficult child 1 or I dared to a lovely pool below an uppermost section of the falls. Ever the thrill-seeker, husband dared difficult child 2 and easy child to take a plunge into the pool. easy child was smart and said No Way. difficult child 2 is a little more gullible, and figured if his dad would do it, he could do it. So the two guys stripped to their underwear and jumped in.

    And it. Was. COLD. Runoff-from-the-snow pack- cold. Thankfully it was in the mid to upper 80’s and arid, so they didn’t take long to dry. :) We finished the hike back down and headed for the Yosemite Valley.

    As we entered the valley the kids exclaimed that they remembered this place from a day trip we took a few years ago. The panorama of the valley with El Capitan and Half Dome flanking each side was capped by a crystal blue sky with lush evergreens below. It is truly a breathtaking sight.

    It was a bit past lunchtime when we finally made it to the valley floor where we parked in the visitor lot and walked to the market to find something to eat. Afterwards we unloaded the bikes and went exploring on the many bike paths that traverse the valley. We got to see so much more of that amazing place by cycling that if we ever go back, we will be sure to bring the bikes again.

    During our bike ride, we passed all the valley campgrounds and could see signs that they were all full. So after we were done exploring and back at the truck, I decided to check at the visitor center about campgrounds at higher elevations. Several were open, so we headed up the road in search of a place to pitch our tents. However, husband really wanted to stay someplace close to a lake or stream for fishing. Unfortunately, none of the upper elevation campgrounds had that feature.

    As we came out of the valley and entered a large meadow area higher up, a collection of cars were pulled off to the side and people were standing around looking at something. We stopped to see what was so interesting, and it turned out to be a young bear cub that was eagerly digging at a rotten log about 50 yards off the highway. The kids were really excited to finally SEE a bear, and from a safe distance at that!

    It was now almost 6pm, and we were on the narrow, winding road headed east across the Sierras. I told husband we’d better just plan on going all the way across to the other side where we could try to find lodging in Lee Vining at the bottom of the mountains. He agreed. There were several places he wanted to stop along the way, but I was anxious to get off that road and did not want to be on it for very long in the dark. There are no lights. There is no cell phone service. There are no call boxes. And it’s a slow, 75-mile drive from the parking lot we left in the valley to that little town on the other side of the mountain range. husband was not happy about his orders to “just drive”.

    Around 7pm I finally gave in when we came upon a large patch of snow and the kids got excited and wanted to stop to play for a little bit since the sun was still up. They had a blast with their little snowball fight. After everyone’s hands were red from the cold and the giant mosquitoes were becoming too much, they all piled back in the truck and we continued our journey east.

    If you’ve ever driven down highway 120 east through the final 10 miles of Tioga pass during the day, you know what a breathtaking sight the sheer rock walls are as you cautiously make your way along the guardrail-less road, trying not look down. The majesty of Mono Lake and the Panum Craters rise like a moonscape in the distance. It’s a white knuckle ride for me every time we drive it, even if I’M the one driving. Even more so if I’m NOT in control. You can imagine my anxiety when we were on that road at night. Ugh. Even the kids were vigilant and made sure husband was driving cautiously with constant reminders like "Hey Dad, look out for that... SQUIRREL!" (poor guy, he doesn’t get a break from anyone).

    We made it to the end of the road in Lee Vining around 9:30pm, but were disappointed to find absolutely no vacancies anywhere. The next option was to drive another 30 miles south to the town of Mammoth Lakes. So that’s what we did.

    Stay tuned for more mountain adventures…
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    You certainly got some stunning photos!!! And I imagine that will probably be the only time the kids will find themselves standing in snow wearing shorts and flipflops. lol Cool.

    I feel it only fair to warn you I'm snitching a few of the best scenery shots for some practice at landscapes...............and OMG they're beautiful!!! Now I wanna go there too. :D
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I hope we get to see your artistic renderings of them!! :D