July 24, 2013

My Happy Place

Every year, I count down the days until this vacation: Yosemite...My Happy Place. To me, it's the most beautiful place on the planet, and no matter how many times I go, it never loses its luster.
This year was a little different from our previous Sierras sojourns. Typically we spend seven days in Yosemite, and then head home. But to make it even more amazing, we decided to spend two days in Mammoth as well, and it was well worth it. The time went by WAY too fast and, you guessed it, I'm already counting down the days until next year.
Warning: This is a LONG post with FAR too many pictures...but I couldn't help myself.

Day One- 
Friday, July 12th 2013
Location: San Diego to Mammoth

Driving Day. I hate driving. Although the plethora of snacks, and the company of a pretty awesome husband made it pretty enjoyable.

Day Two-
Saturday, July 13th, 2013
Location: Mammoth to Red's Meadow
Miles Hiked: 3

After a long drive the day before, the crew decided to get up bright and early and enjoy the local grub at...McDonalds. Gross, I know. But hey...we needed a quick bite before we headed off on our adventures! A few of us decided to venture out of Mammoth down into Red's Meadow, which is on the "back side" of Mammoth in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Even though we've camped here before, it's one of my favorite spots in the Sierras, and we couldn't pass up a hike to the beautiful Rainbow Falls.

Day Three-
Sunday, July 14th, 2013
Location: Mammoth to Yosemite
Subarus Counted: 82 (There is seriously an epidemic of Subaru station wagons in Yosemite...)

Another driving day. Boo. But we got to head into Yosemite through the Tioga Pass...an incredibly gorgeous drive that made the hours spent in the car more than worth it. The crew stopped at an overlook to enjoy the beautiful (and intimidating) view of half dome. One of the park rangers had a telescope set up so that people could look at the hikers ascending the cables on the infamous beast. After we arrived in Yosemite Valley, we spent much of the day setting up camp, and riding our bikes around the valley floor. This "bike ride" became a nightly tradition for the entirety of the trip, and was one of my favorite activities. We saw deer every night, and they are so domesticated that you can literally walk within a few feet of them.

Day Four- 
Monday, July 15th, 2013
Location: Yosemite Valley
Miles Biked: A lot
Casualties: Justyn's stomach (stuck in the tent with a bit of a stomach bug)

Because Justyn spent a good portion of the night throwing up, she was down for the count on Monday. Since we didn't want her missing out on too much, we decided to keep the day simple, and went exploring at Mirror Lake, a short hike not too far from our campsite. The little boys enjoyed playing in the water (even though Grant fell in), and we enjoyed the reflection of the granite cliffs on the water. When we returned to camp, we pumped up our tubes, and spent the rest of the afternoon floating down the river.

Day Five-
Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
Location: Yosemite Valley to Half Dome and back
Miles Hiked: 19.2 (yeah, you read that right)
Casualties: Graham's knees, Whitney's big left toe (gnarly blister)

Half Dome Day. Holy crap. The day I had been preparing for for six months. I'll be honest. I was scared out of my mind. But I was determined to conquer the beast...and I did. We all did. We got up bright and early (4 am to be exact) to hit the trail before the sun, and we made really good time all the way up.
Until we hit the sub dome.
My sister, Michal, is a hiking goddess. Seriously, the girl is unstoppable when it comes to things of a physical nature, and I can rarely keep up with her. But...she has a bit of a fear of heights. Okay more than a bit. She is terrified. Seriously sacred out of her mind. She's hiked Half Dome before, and has had a panic attack every time she has tried. Last year, She made it all the way to the sub dome (which is within less than a mile from the top) and could't do it. But this year she promised she would make it to the top for both her husband and me. She was confident all the way up.
Until we hit the sub dome.
Where she had a full blown panic attack.
She forced herself up the sub dome to the bottom of the cables, but she couldn't make it any further. Her husband sat at the bottom of the cables with her, while we all climbed up.
And what a climb!
I didn't think she would be able to do it. Again. And after sitting on the top of Half Dome for a half an hour, with still no sight of Michal, I was convinced she couldn't do it, and super disappointed.
And then I heard someone shouting, and turned around to see Michal running toward us!
She had done it!
We all did it!

Day Six-
Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
Location: The Ford Camp, Yosemite Valley
Miles Hiked: A big fat ZERO!
Casualties: Dan's stomach (Caught Justyn's bug)

Ouch. The day after hiking Half Dome kind of sucked. We were all sore. And tired. So we stayed at camp, played some games, and snacked way too much. But hey, we deserved it! Then we took a VERY leisurely bike ride over to the Ahwahnee Hotel to explore and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.


Day Seven-
Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Location: Yosemite Valley to Mariposa Grove
Miles Hiked: 4

My Dad's "happy place" is the Mariposa grove in Yosemite. It's a small chunk of land where about 500 Giant Sequoia grow. Sequoia trees are the largest living things on Earth. They're seriously unreal, and the fact that some of them are about 3,000 years old is mind boggling. This year, we decided to hike to the upper grove, which we had never done before. It was peaceful, serene, and absolutely gorgeous.

Day Eight-
Friday, July 19th, 2013
Location: Yosemite Valley
Miles Biked: A lot

Friday was the day we decided to be really "touristy" in Yosemite. We rode around the valley, went to the visitor's center, watched "The Spirit of Yosemite" in the movie theater, and hung out in Yosemite Village. My parents, Graham, and I decided to explore the LeConte Memorial too. It is the second oldest building in Yosemite, built in 1903. We spent some time there looking at books, studying old maps (did you know that Half Dome used to be called "South Dome??" Yeah, me neither), and inspecting the RAD, old ceiling.

Day Nine-
Saturday, July 20th, 2013
Location: Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point, and back down again
Miles Hiked: 5
Casualties: Whitney's sunglasses (Lost in the river)

My favorite hike in Yosemite is the 4 mile hike down from Glacier Point, and I'm glad we saved it for last. Mom joined us on this hike, and it was awesome having her with us to enjoy the sights (even if her knees were not too happy with her!). One of the best parts of the hike was seeing the hang gliders take off from Glacier Point. It gave me the chills just watching it!  When we got back to camp, we all threw on our bathing suits, and headed to the river to enjoy our last afternoon together in the crystal clear water. Robert spent hours constructing the perfect pathway so we could "shoot the rapids." It was a hit, and by the end of the afternoon, I think most of the people in the valley were enjoying our little water slide. We ended the night with yet another bike ride...and ice cream at Curry Village.

Day Ten-
Sunday, July 21st, 2013
Location: Yosemite to San Diego

Driving day. The most exciting part of the drive was the bear we saw as drove to Wawona. We had been hoping to see one the entire trip, and so it was the perfect end to our 10 day, "Summer in the Sierras."

So sad out trip is over, but looking forward to beach camp next week. More pictures to come...aren't you excited??

1 comment :

  1. I loved reading this! Wonderfully written recap. so, where are the beach camp pictures? ;)




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