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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Yosemite

I haven’t written anything in a long time, it’s been a busy few months, and in August, we took a much needed family trip to Yosemite- CAMPING!!! Yes, actual camping. In a tent. 6 months prior, when I booked this trip, I wasn’t really thinking logistics, I was just thinking about all the great potential memories we would make for our kids. Oh, how fun it will be to go camping IN A TENT in Yosemite, one of the most beautiful places in the world. When I was a kid, we went to Yosemite every summer in a MOTORHOME. It had a bathroom, and a kitchen, and several comfortable beds. So, as the months went by, and this trip got closer, I kind of realized that I have never actually camped in a tent. Ever. Ever? Ever. Apparently camping in an RV isn’t actually “camping”… of course not. So, as the months and weeks got closer to the date, I started to FREAK out. I was nervous about the drive, the bears, setting up camp, keeping the kids clean, the bears, what activities we were going to do- did I mention the bears?? So, I started to gear up, bought the huge tent that would be our home for 2-3 nights, planned on what to pack for clothes, should we bring the stroller? I made reservations 6 months prior, online. Getting reservations at a campground on the valley floor in Yosemite, in the summer, is pretty much like winning the lottery. I actually couldn’t get a spot for the early summer, so when the reservations opened up for mid-August on, we ended up getting a spot in late August, right before school was to start- close call! Not only did we get a campsite in one of the most sought after campgrounds, we got an AMAZING spot, right on the Merced river in Lower Pines. SCORE!! I reserved 2 nights, then quickly realized that it’s a lot of trouble to go through for only two nights, why not make it three? I was lucky to find a third night online, a few minutes later at a different campsite within the same campground, but across the way against the woods. Sweet. I actually figured that we would barely last the first 2nights and be dying to get back to civilization after night one, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a back-up plan.

So, we packed the roof rack, the ice chest, camping stove, stroller, beer, and hit the road at 5am, the morning we had to check-in. The drive up was not so bad, thank the gods for lollipops… and Barbie Princess movies. We got there in about 8 hours, including stops, in plenty of time to set up camp at our amazing campground with our perfect view of Half Dome. Fortunately, we had done a test-run on the tent in the back yard a few weeks prior, so tent set-up took only about 30 minutes, and within about an hour, we were able to (almost) completely relax and enjoy our riverfront view, while the kids played in the dirt, helped us build a fire, make dinner and roast their first marshmallows. The kids thought the squirrels were pretty funny because they would jump up on the tables and literally remove your food from your plate, as you were trying to eat it, and stare you down while they stuffed their cheeks. It was really awesome when they chewed through our bread bag when I forgot to put it back in the bear (and apparently, squirrel) box for 5 minutes.

Our neighbors were close, but not too close… although, I kind of felt for the young, child-free group of people who were next to us. The babies were not exactly quiet, and in order to get anything done, I had to set them down somewhere, which meant the Pack-N-Play… which meant pissed off, crying babies. Who wants to hear screaming and crying when they are in one of the most beautiful places in the world, on a trip that probably took a lot of planning- I’m sure the last thing they wanted was screaming, whining children, and I certainly didn’t blame them. I could feel the annoyed vibes coming from the singleton camp, so, we ended up either holding, or wearing the babies on our backs a lot in the Ergo’s because we didn’t want to disturb them and ruin the experience, plus the babies seemed to enjoy being up high and part of the action.
We were having such a great time the first few days, that we decided that we WERE going to take that 3rd night! Not only that, but my parents suddenly decided to come up and join us at our new campsite, and they got there just in time to help us move our tent across camp. Apparently, this whole moving-camp thing is not an unusual because I saw a few people carrying their completely intact tents across camp and setting up elsewhere. Whew! We threw the tent on my dad’s truck, and drove it across camp. I’m sure that our neighbors were happy to see us go.
Our new campground was right up against the woods, not as glorious as the waterfront, but still an incredible spot and I was so glad I had kept the reservation. The kids had a good time helping us set up camp again, and I can’t even put into words what a relief it was to have grandma and grandpa there to help hold babies and cook food. They brought wine and yummy cheese and made actual meals- way more gourmet than the cereal and sandwiches that I had going on! I learned a lot on this trip, next time I’m not going to underestimate the power of the campfire. There are many delicious dishes to be made on that thing, but really, I think I should just pack my parents along for the next trip, that would cover all the bases. The new campground was very cozy (aside from my lingering thoughts of bear-attacks, which I most definitely kept to myself). It was very Oprah-goes-to-Yosemite, although my bear-fears were a little stronger in the new spot because we were against the WOODS now.

Apparently, in the wee hours of the mornings, the bears would roam the camps looking for grub, I could hear the rangers shooing them off, but we were extra strict about our bear box and there was nothing in the tent that they would want. At least this is what I kept telling myself every minute of every day there. Monte often walked to the general store at Camp Curry with a baby on his back, and I kept imagining a bear attacking them on the way to or from… once again, I kept this to myself.
The weather was perfection the whole trip, That day, we hiked to Mirror Lake and had a picnic on the sand while thekids frolicked in the water. We drank wine and ate cheese on a sheet that my parents were supposed to sleep on that night, but the babies peed on it… whoops. The girls ran around in the water, and we attempted to get the babies in because this was their only shot at a bath, which Atticus enjoyed all of 2 minutes and Beatrix not at all, she wanted no part of the water, and stayed on the sheet 90% of the time. Apparently you can pay $5 and shower at Camp Curry anytime you want. Camp Curry is a 5 minute walk from camp… good to know for next time because by the time we got home, the kids looked like homeless children.

The drive home took a little longer than the drive there, and for some ridiculous reason, we decided to stop in an Applebee’s for some grub in Fresno. We thought that the kids would enjoy stretching their legs, and eating an actual meal. I think everybody in the restaurant must have thought we were insane for even attempting, though, because if the babies weren’t on top of the table, they were running in different directions across the restaurant. They refused to sit in their high chairs, and we ended up taking all of our food to go. Why do we always forget that restaurants are off-limits with the kids, especially after going camping in the woods for 3 days? Overall, I am so glad that we were able to show the kids one of natures most beautiful accomplishments, and hopefully when the kids get a little bigger, we can hike the trails and spend a week, rather than 3 nights. When I went to Yosemite growing up, I never fully appreciated it. As a child, I didn’t realize what a big deal it was for my parents to take us on this adventure, and as a teenager, I was SO annoyed that they MADE me go on this BORING trip- really?? Who was that girl. So, I am very thankful to my parents for dragging my ungrateful behind to this beautiful place, and I hope my kids don’t resent me too much for doing the same to them for years to come.