I was looking through our blog archives before writing this post and it turns out I have never posted photos of our annual October Yosemite trip in years past even though we have gone the past few years with Paul's relatives. Paul's family did this trip with his cousins every year when he was growing up (and Paul's dad did the trip every year with his family when he was growing up I think) and I absolutely love the tradition. It is my most favorite Nash tradition and Paul and I plan to pass it on to Clara. The weather is perfect, the fall scents and colors make the park even more beautiful than usual, and the crowds are way down after the peak summer season. Plus, I am just a big, big fan of the National Parks and grateful that they have been preserved for us to enjoy. Thanks President Roosevelt!
We always stay in the Yosemite Lodge, which isn't fancy but it has a wonderful charm that is always makes me feel like I've gone back to a simpler time. This year there was a storm the week before we went, so the waterfalls were running higher than they normally do during October. Paul and I took Clara on her inaugural hike up the Mist Trail to see Vernal Falls, with Bob and Donna. Here is a group photo just before we headed out. The backlighting and the fact that I pinned my bangs back in a pouf make me look super weird in this pic but it is cute of everybody else.
This was a good one too, except Clara wasn't looking at the camera. Bob looks pretty excited about the hike. What a spry grandpa he is. :)
This photo is taken at the bridge where you get the first view of the falls.
I have been noticing lately that Paul often holds my elbow in photos. I am not sure why, but he does it all the time and I sort of secretly love that whenever we take pictures together he has his arm around me in some form or other.
This was the longest hike we have done with Clara but she did great. She was sleepy from the start so I held her facing me and within just a few minutes she was snoozing heavily against my chest.
We made a number of stops to catch our breath. Notice Clara's closed eyes.
Eventually Clara woke up and she was a VERY happy girl.
Me and Clara with Vernal Falls behind us. A couple of people got too close to the water at the top of the falls were swept over earlier this year (it has been a dangerous year for Yosemite) and the bodies still haven't been recovered. There were photos of their faces at the trailhead instructing hikers to watch out for them. The current theory is that the bodies are stuck under some of the huge boulders in the river still. ~shudder~
Bob and I are in the bottom left-hand corner of this photo coming down the stairs that go past Vernal Falls. Paul was not exactly super enthusiastic about me taking Clara up these stairs, but really it wasn't even dangerous. They weren't nearly as wet and slippery as they have been in the past and I stayed on the inside of the trail, away from the drop-off to the left, which you can't really get an idea of from this picture.
Clara's Grandma Donna had fun holding Baby-Girl when we stopped for snacks, a diaper change, and to feed Clara a bottle.
Grandpa Bob had fun holding her too and was cracking up when Clara was showing off her flexibility by trying to stick her foot into her mouth.
We also went over to the Ahwahnee and spent some time enjoying the beautiful lobbies. This building was built in 1926 to attract wealthy investors to the young park (something I just learned about on this most recent trip).
Paul and I had never seen the room below before but we loved the mural painted on the wall. I should have taken a better photo with more of the mural, but there were all sorts of animals throughout it. It felt like an old english smoking lounge from a gentleman's club or something (whatever that is).
We stopped at one of the lovely golden meadows and Paul's dad took some photos of us while we were all on a walk.
Clara finally gave us a huge gummy smile when Donna came over to stand beside Bob and made noises for her. Clara loves Grandma & Grandpa Nash, who came to our house a few days before the Yosemite trip, along with Great-Grandma Madge, and were able to spend time with their newest grandchild. We loved having all of them here with us (especially since Grandma Nash watched Clara for me while I spent almost an entire day scrapbooking the Little Red Riding Hood story to be mailed out as presents.)
On one walk with Bob and Donna, we crossed a bridge over this river. Bob challenged Paul to walk out on the log that stretches out over the river, which Paul immediately declined to do while I was simultaneously accepting the challenge and yelling over my shoulder for Paul to pull out the camera. See me on the log?
It doesn't look as impressive in this photo. Does it help if I explain that the water is super clear so even though you can see the rocks on the bottom in this photo it is actually deeper than it looks and was probably ridiculously cold?
I made it to the end and posed for a picture.
The scariest part was turning around and standing back up.
We enjoyed lunch at Degnan's Deli.
I seriously told my in-laws that we all had to pose mid-bite. I totally wasn't eating here, just posing. Why am I so weird?
I am seriously going to have a zillion photos of Clara like this where she is sleeping. I just can't help myself whenever I see how serene she is. The rosy cheeks, the button nose, the fine brown hair wisping out of her miniature pigtails - I die.
Paul loves to channel his inner Ansel Adams and take scenic photos of the park in attempt to capture even a fraction of its grandeur. The task is impossible, but I still love how this year's photos turned out. Especially these two shots with Yosemite Falls in the background. Another thing I learned on this trip is that back in the 1950's Yosemite Falls was considered the 3rd highest falls on earth but new falls have since been discovered to be higher so now it is only the 7th highest on earth.
Half Dome. I have a traumatic past with this monolith that is a story for another time, but for some reason I find myself wanting to try climbing it again now. But not with Clara. She is NEVER allowed to climb it. WAY too scary.
See the mountain in the middle background of this photo? It is called Cloud's Rest and it is the highest point that can be seen from the valley floor. I spent one cold, windy, and restless night at its summit once about 4 days after having run a marathon worrying that I was either going to be attacked by a bear or be blown off in my tent. I'm grateful for the experience but I prefer the view from down here I think.
Upper Yosemite Falls. You can see Lower Yosemite Falls at the bottom of the frame in the shadows too. We have better photos of Lower Yosemite Falls later on from when we walked there.
One of the many picturesque bridges in the park.
Paul enjoys going on "night hikes" with his dad and cousin. Night hikes freak me out because I almost always see bears in Yosemite (in fact, this was the first trip when I have NOT seen a bear) and walking around in the pitch black darkness when there are bear signs EVERYWHERE is not exactly my idea of fun. I consider myself daring, but I'm not insane. Anyway, Paul was experimenting with camera settings and nighttime photography and captured this amazing image just as the moon was rising. It was around 10:30 at night and mist had just started rising off the valley floor.
We went back the next day and took a comparison photo in the daylight.
On our last morning in Yosemite, Paul, Clara and I walked to Lower Yosemite Falls. You can see the falls in this picture just to the left of Paul's head. Clara was in a great mood being able to face forward in her stroller. This may be my new all-time favorite photo of Paul. Swoon.
Here is a picture from close to the base of the falls.
We also celebrated my birthday with a dinner at the Mountain Room (a very nice restaurant by the Yosemite Lodge) where I had delicious trout and razzleberry cobbler, but I don't have any photos from that night.
There are so many other things to do and see in Yosemite that this post doesn't even touch the surface. Some of my favorites that we have done in the past include Mirror Lake, Mariposa Grove, riding bikes past the Indian Caves and the Panorama Trail hike from Glacier Point. Can't wait to go again next year!