Friday, September 17, 2010

Yosemite and Sequoia

If you want to see all of the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks pictures, go here (you have to be a friend of facebook though). Here are just a few highlights.
Monday, September 13th: left Irvine at 11 something. Drove for HOURS, stopped at Sonic for lunch!!!! It took 7 hours of driving time to arrive in Yosemite, plus 1 hour and 15 minutes of stop time for the kids. Arrived after dark at 7 something. Ate dinner at one of the Curry Village eateries, unloaded the car, and finally got to bed at around 9. Stayed in a yert (sp?) in Curry Village. The first night, I swear I heard a bear growl, then heard a horrible noise that sounded like someone being attacked and mauled by a bear. Chad says it was a recording the rangers play to scare the bears away. Heard it again later that night. Also had to get up a few times to go potty in the middle of the night, but was way too scared to walk to the bathroom, so went by the tent. The kids slept great and slept all night. Got down to about 45 degrees, COLD!
Tuesday, September 14th: Got up at 7 am, thanks kids. Didn't get going till about 10 am though. Drove to a trail head and walked the Lower Yosemite Falls hike (about 1 mile).
Then attempted Upper Yosemite Falls trail, trying only to reach the second viewpoint at 1.5 miles. That mile took TWO hours; it was very steep. Every time we stopped to rest, the kids enjoyed throwing rocks down the path.
Gave up at the 1-mile viewpoint and turned back.
On the way back down, we saw a BEAR! It was so cool to see one. It was a teenage-aged bear, we decided, only in view for about 5 seconds before he disappeared over the rocks. That made that horrible hike worthwhile. Finally made it to the bottom and rode the shuttle to El Capitan and watched the mountain climbers while the kids played in the river below. There is a man with cerebral palsy who's never walked in his life who is climbing El Capitan; I'll write about him in another post.
Cooked our own hotdogs with chili and made smores for dinner. Actually got to take a shower today!
Wednesday, September 15th: Woke up at 7:30 (yay!). Hope saw an 8-point buck just chillin by the registration center at Curry. Drove an hour to a different area of the park to hike Taft Point, a 1.2 mile walk. We took it easy on the way there and stopped a lot to climb on rocks, etc. It was a steady downhill walk. At the end of it, there is an AMAZING viewpoint from up about 7,000 feet into a valley. Very beautiful and very scary. Chad kept wanting to get close to the edge with the kids; talk about a mother's nightmare! Ate a picnic there (away from the edge!) and then started back. An extremely nice man offered to carry one of the kids for me on his shoulders; God bless him; I never would have made it back otherwise. We walked back with his group, a group of Georgians who goes hiking all over the world (e.g. Peru, Norway, Cinque Terre, etc). The group leader is named Tom (I think the last name is Dennard), who's written a book called Ramblin' Man, which I've actually heard of before! When I met him and told him that, he said he'd mail me a copy of the book! Cool. I think this is it here.
Drove back to the valley and walked to Bridalveil Falls (a really short walk), then the kids played in the brook below. Then drove back to El Capitan so I could see that guy again (he'd made progress!), and the kids got extremely dirty playing in the dust and the river below. Ate dinner back at Curry Village, took showers (aahhhh!), and went to bed.
Thursday, September 16th: Pack up our tent while the kids climbed on rocks (I think all the pants I packed for them have holes in the bums where they slid down rocks on their bottoms). Left Yosemite at about 9:30 and drove to Sequoia National Park. We stopped at scenic overlook for a break, then drove to the General Sherman hike. That was really incredible: a grove of really, really HUGE trees, and "General Sherman," the largest Sequoia tree in the world, and the largest (by density) tree in the world.

Then we drove through the rest of the park and saw more amazing trees, mountains, rivers, and other scenery. We were too late to make it to Crystal Cave though. :(
Then we drove all the way back to Irvine, FINALLY making it back after 10 pm.
It was a GREAT trip; we made lots of good memories, and the kids loved camping and being dirty and climbing on rocks. But, I'm so glad to be home!