Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thursday August 9th

Up at seven, though it took a while to roust everyone. We had the hotel Continental breakfast, and we stopped at a grocery for a cooler, ice, and a case of water. The grocery had hundreds of interesting piƱatas that were fun to see.

It was a scenic drive to Yosemite, though Ceil was hurting due to all the travel and such, so she napped. We stopped in a tiny mining/touristy town for a Coke. Once in the park we took a break at a ranger station, where Ceil bought Junior Ranger Books. Ceil seemed more excited than the kids, though the workbooks were right up Matthew’s alley as well.

We stopped several times as we drove deeper into the park, at shaded streams, dramatic overlooks, at the Swinging Bridge, and in the valley. There we were surrounded with what looked like several Stone Mountains all around us. The famous Yosemite Falls was dry, as we had read it would be. It was a beautiful clear August day, but the breeze made us comfortable in our T-shirts.

We continued driving, finally arriving at Yosemite Village at lunchtime. We bought sandwich fixins and chips, then drove back and picnicked on an island in the mountain stream. Wild ducks would come right up to our feet as we sat. We tossed them bread, breaking the Junior Ranger rules of not feeding the park animals. As we ate Will and Matthew wandered barefoot up and down the stream.

Bridal Veil Falls was the next stop. The short hike was worth it, as the water gently misted down the rock face in the breeze. Nearby we stopped at the famous Tunnel View overlook. We drove to the southern end of the park, past the old Wawona Hotel to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. There we hiked around to view the huge trees.

We then drove back north and east to the breathtaking views at Glacier Point, overlooking the famous Half Dome, El Capitan, two more waterfalls, and the entire valley. We arrived as the sun was low in the sky, providing an even greater view. A deer wandered past, and two quail wandered around a few feet from the walking trail.

It was dark by the time we drove back down the mountain, so we ate at Degnans Pizza in Yosemite Village, just about our only option. Then a late, dark drive through the mountains back to the hotel. Everyone slept, and we got back at 12:30 AM.

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