|Our first view of Yosemite Valley as we drove in that morning.|
We checked out of Wawona Hotel Thursday morning and drove to Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Park is huge. We were actually in Yosemite Park while staying at Wawona and yet could drive an hour and still be in the park. The first views of Yosemite Valley just take your breath away. As we drove to the Yosemite Vistor Center along the valley floor, there were stunning views from every direction--waterfalls, sheer cliffs, monstrous rock formations, beautiful meadows, Merced River--beautiful. We got a hiking map and a bit of practical advice at the visitor center, and then set off for our adventures. (Check-in for Yosemite Lodge was late afternoon.) We hiked the Lower Yosemite Falls trail which was an easy, but rewarding hike near the visitor center. Emily, Mom, Jeremy, and I decided to get even closer to the falls by hiking a little off trail to the left of the falls over a few rocks. (It was safe enough. Dad checked it out for us, first.) This was Emily's favorite part of the whole day as she got close enough to the falls to feel the mist and got to scramble over rocks, slide down them, climb over tree trunks, etc. I just love watching her explore. She made Dad nervous half of the time, but usually she has pretty good judgment and awareness of her abilities.
|Lower Yosemite Falls|
|I love this pic of Caleb!|
|Us girls. :)|
After checking out the views of upper and lower Yosemite Falls, we took a free shuttle bus to the trailhead for Mirror Lake. The shuttle bus is awesome. They come around every 10 minutes or so and make a loop around the Yosemite Valley area. We jumped off at stop 17 and walked a mile to Mirror Lake. It was a nice little walk and we were by a stream for a good portion of it. We found it interesting that our photos of the lake mirrored the surrounding cliffs quite well, but simply looking at the lake, we didn't notice that "mirrored" effect as much. (Maybe b/c the water was not completely still?) Caleb started getting REALLY sleepy on this hike and actually fell asleep IN the backpack. I folded up some clothing for him to rest his sleepy head on and he napped maybe 20-30 minutes that day. We just wore him out completely.
We were all tired and hungry after the Mirror Lake trail. The Shuttle dropped us back off near the day parking lot and we got to our van and checked into the lodge. I wish we could have stayed all three days at the lodge. (It stays booked up year round. We were lucky to get a room at all during our stay and I called four months in advance.) We got such a small taste of Yosemite Valley. I had hoped to hike one trail the next day, but when we woke up it was misty and raining.
|Jeremy was a trooper to carry Caleb nearly the whole day! Not an easy task.|
During our last night at Yosemite, Mom and Dad took care of the kids so Jeremy and I could slip away for a little anniversary celebration. We had planned to eat dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel, but ended up just getting drinks and desserts because we couldn't wait until 8:30 pm reservation to eat. (We found a yummy Pizza parlor at Curry Village for dinner with the kids instead.) The Ahwahnee is simply gorgeous. Wish I had photos to post, but we only took a few photos with our iphones. I'm glad Jeremy and I had a chance to check out the dining room and great room architecture. This is THE place to stay in Yosemite, but it costs over $400/night. I have a feeling we will be back there again one day though. I'm not sure if Jeremy can keep me away!
It was not fun to have to say goodbye to Mom and Dad. The trip went by way too fast. Good times always do. I'm thankful that my parents are in good health and have adventurous spirits to want to come out and do trips like this with us. I'm thankful for all of their help with the kids and how easy they are to please as guests. I worried a little that sharing one bathroom would be difficult during their stay at our house, but I never had any trouble. Mom and Dad got up early and were ready for the day with coffee brewing in the kitchen before I even needed the bathroom! Our sleeping arrangements also seemed to work out just fine. If Dad's snoring was any hint, I think he was comfortable! ha! I just love my family so much and I'm thankful for this beautiful season in our lives.