We had such a nice Yosemite trip this October (yup, I'm definitely behind on this blog). It was much wetter than years past, but we actually really enjoyed all the rain because it made for such dramatic scenery with the waterfalls flowing higher than we have ever seen them, even during springtime visits. We even had a nice hike to the bridge below Vernal Falls in the rain one day where we all just carried umbrellas. It was fun!
We got to the park early enough on Thursday morning to do the short, easy hike to Lower Yosemite Falls. We saw deer, the girls climbed on boulders with their cousins, Elizabeth & Robert (Bobby & Holly's kids who came with Holly), and enjoyed a picnic lunch of egg salad sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, and Cheetos. The park felt practically deserted most of the time we were there, probably because of all the rain that had been forecast and the timing since we were there the weekend before Halloween, which is later than we have gone in previous years.
After lunch we walked to the museum and the Miwok & Ahwahneechee replica structures in Yosemite Village. Rose was so happy to have her little yellow polka dot umbrella to carry around with her.
It rained heavily overnight between Thursday and Friday and when we went outside on Friday morning we could hear Yosemite Falls absolutely thundering with all the water. It was unbelievably loud - totally unlike anything we have ever heard from it before - and it was pretty fascinating to witness how much water was gushing over the falls.
We attempted some family pics with the tripod but none of them really turned out. This is the best of the bunch but it's not that great (I'm picky - the picture is fine, I guess, just not the setting and colors and level of photography I wanted. Tripod self-portraits are so hard!).
We rode buses, which the girls loved.
And Paul and I even did a couple of little "date" walks while the girls were playing in the room with Grandma Nash doing crafts and games and such.
It's hard to convey with these pics but the lighting was so intense the whole time. The clouds would part and sunlight would stream through and then the wet weather would sock back in. It was beautiful and fascinating.
We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon hiking up around Mirror Lake, which actually had water in it for once! Usually this is where we play in a bone dry, sandy lake bed (more like a pond since it is so small) but since there was so much water it was completely full and we couldn't access the rocks that we normally climb on. Instead, the kids hauled small rocks or chunks of tree bark to chuck into the water.
We also found a little area tucked off the main trail where park visitors have set up dozens of cairns. It was such a neat place and the girls enjoyed climbing around stacking rocks to recreate their own little cairns.
On Saturday morning we attempted family photos yet again. This time I was more deliberate in our attire and in choosing a setting that I liked for backlighting purposes. Paul modeled for me while I messed with settings. He's the cutest.
Much better, right? Focus still isn't what I would like it to be and the lighting was still hard to work with because of the tripod and the super strong sunlight I was shooting into (even though the trees provided some filter). And the steam rising off the ground from the early morning sun and the wet rain-soaked earth didn't exactly help (although I kind of like the effect anyway). The girls were good sports, especially since it was chilly and I made everybody take their jackets off for pictures.
Bob & Donna and Holly, Elizabeth & Robert were on this walk with us (we mostly just meandered around the meadows) and I thought this was a cute picture of Clara and Robert posing for Grandpa Nash.
Paul spotted a cool setting for pics near one of the buildings tucked off in a patch of trees so we set up the tripod and attempted a few more photos there. I was kept tickling Rose and she was hamming it up for the camera. That girl.
It's so hard to get really good family pictures of everybody and I've told Paul that next year I want to hire a real photographer (you know, once my braces are off) because we have only ever done that once (using a ridiculously cheap Groupon years ago for some photographer who was clearly trying to get his business off the ground and wasn't actually that good). But for tripod pics, I'm fairly happy with what we got.
I don't have pictures of some of the other things we did this trip like breakfast at the Ahwahnee, which is always fun, or eating pizza at the Curry Village Pizza Patio (another favorite activity), or playing Bingo in Grandpa & Grandma's room. But it was such an enjoyable vacation. It's the first time that both girls have done all the hiking entirely on their own. Clara still had a few complaints about hikes being "too long" or wanting to be done, but she did so much better than she has in the past. And Rose just held my hand and trooped along, even when I could tell she was starting to fatigue on our Vernal Falls hike. But we didn't even have to coax or bribe the girls along this time, which was heavenly.
If I can get my act together, Paul and I took a few video clips that I have been meaning to edit into a video and if I do, I will post that as well.