If you want our kids to successfully wake up at 6 am, I guess you have to be in a time zone that is 3 hours behind our time back home. This was the first time I’ve ever been able to wake them up without kicking and lots of yelling.
We all woke up and got ready. We ate breakfast in the hotel (can we all just say an Amen to how great it is when hotels have free breakfast???) We filled up our water bottles, loaded up our Trader Joe’s groceries into the car (for picnics) and headed to Yosemite!
I’m still kind of in awe that we are here. That all the way from Indiana we were able to come here to see Yosemite and California and all of this greatness! Yosemite is iconic. It’s the National Park that is on all the posters and park whatever you get. It was the first one, it is incredible. However because of the distance and the expense I never even considered planning a vacation out to here. But God did. ;)
Emma said “I’m very enchanted by California”. She thinks it is terrific. She loves the air and the weather and all of the rolling green hills.
It took us about an hour to get to Yosemite from Fresno where our hotel was. It was a nice drive. We were surprised by the amount of snow there was since in Fresno it was about 50 degrees. A huge change to say the least.
Then we had about another hour of a drive to get to the visitor’s center in Yosemite. We took our time and meandered along. We stopped and took pictures, we enjoyed the views.
The first place that we stopped was my absolute favorite and it wasn’t even anything nature! It was the historic hotel, The Wawona Hotel. It was amazing you guys and it wasn’t even open! It was so cool to walk around and to look in the windows (yes I’m a weirdo like that!). It reminded me a lot of the resort in Dirty Dancing. You know the one.
After that we kept going and stopping along the way. We stopped at the Wawona Campsite to stretch our legs. The kids LOVED playing along the rushing river and climbing over huge felled redwoods. There is nothing better for a Wild and Free Momma then to see her kiddos playing in nature.
We did see lots of aftermath of forest fires. It was sad and very desolate looking. It reminded us a lot of the way the Smoky Mountains were looking last year when we visited.
As we traveled on and on it kept getting foggier and foggier. When we got to Tunnel View we were so excited! We drove through the Tunnel, the view opened up and…
There was nothing.
It was just fog.
Fog, fog, and more fog. Oy.
We got out to take some photos and then back in the car to keep driving. I felt a little bit like we had driven to Walley World to find it was closed…
Our next stop was at Bridalveil Fall. It was a gorgeous waterfall. We made the hike or skating up to the falls and everything was frozen from the spray. It was a slippery trek but we all had lots of fun and lots of laughs along the way.
Once we reached the Yosemite Valley the fog had cleared and we were able to see more.
We stopped in the Visitor’s Center to get the kids their Junior Ranger books. Their Ranger program is intense you guys! The kids had to go to a Ranger talk, pick up a back of trash, go on a scavenger hunt, and fill out the book. Whew! It was a lot to do but the kids learned a lot. They have two museums to enjoy, one is in the Visitor’s Center and the other is on its own called Yosemite Museum.
Before we went to that one though we went and had some lunch. We took our picnic lunch to the Majestic Hotel. It was, well, Majestic. It was quite fun to walk around and see what we could discover. They have some beautiful decorations and furnishings. Gorgeous, you guys!
In the Yosemite Museum is where we met with a Ranger and she was making a beaded necklace. It was super fun to watch. There was also an Indian Village to go through. We learned so much just through reading the signs, particularly about the foods they ate and the way that they prepared them.
By this point I thought Yosemite was nice but I couldn’t say that I was in LOVE with it. You know, what I mean? I mean, we went to the gift shop and everyone was grabbing items like it was Super Market Sweep and I was just kind of “meh” about it all.
But then we kept going!
We took a shuttle bus to the Lower Yosemite Falls area and walked down to the falls. It was amazing you guys! It was incredible. Breathtaking,
And after that I was in love with Yosemite. And fairly certain that our kids are weird.
From the Lower Yosemite Falls we took a stroll to the Yosemite Valley Lodge area which was really neat too. There are lots of outbuildings to stay in and then there is the lodge with a cool place to eat, Base Camp Eatery. So neat! And they had a Starbucks, praise the Lord because by this time ( I think it was about 4) this Momma was fading fast! That cup of hotel coffee from breakfast had worn off a long time ago.
The Lodge is on the shuttle loop stops so we were able to hop on the shuttle to go back to the Visitors Center to our car.
We then started back towards Fresno. On our way back out the fog had lifted enough that we could take in El Capitan and then we stopped at Tunnel View to get a better, well, view ;) There was a little funny thing at El Capitan. We stopped to get pictures and the face of this mountain just goes straight up, it’s incredible. I said “look you guys, there are people on the top! People climbed it!” There was a brief pause and then quietly from the backseat Cal says “um, those are trees”. And he was right. They were trees. ha.
On the way out of the park we came across 4 deer that were grazing next to the road. They were so pretty! I am pretty sure these are mule deer that we had learned about at the Visitor’s Center. We only have white-tailed deer in Indiana so it was very interesting to see another type of deer. They are so cute, especially the little baby one! Can I just take it home? Will it fit in my carry on? Please?
There was a ton we didn’t get to see either because of the weather or because of our lack of time. The Mariposa Grove was closed. Glacier Point was closed. There was lots of roads that were closed because of the snow. But we’re so happy with what we got to do. We feel like we got to see quite a bit and experienced the grandeur of Yosemite. And that, right there was the point.
By the time we reached our hotel back in Fresno we all were pretty beat and decided pizza in the hotel room while watching an American Pickers episode sounded pretty great.
We are having such a great time. Every place we go we are able feel this sense of awe and thankfulness that we are there.