Saturday, August 14, 2010

There and Back again!

Sometime early in the year some friends put together a camping trip to Yosemite.  Jeremy had been and hiked Half Dome with the guys but we thought it would be so much fun to experience it with the family.  We looked forward to it for quite some time.  The week before we were going to go, Jeremy informed me that he couldn't leave work for several important reasons.  I was upset.  We had really only planned this one vacation, of the eight families (I think it was seven) we were already down to 4 including us and I REALLY wanted to go.  I asked Jeremy if I could go with out him, to which he quickly replied no.  For the safety of our children and myself, not because he was sad to be missing out on the experience.  After much pouting on my end, he reluctantly agreed.  Then I pleaded with my friends to see if they would be willing to help out with the kids while I did stuff like set up the tent (and help with this part too!) and cooked.  They wholeheartedly stepped up to the plate.

So Tuesday morning, I had the car all packed and we were off.  Honestly I wasn't too nervous, but I knew I had a good support system.  The drive there went smoothly, with no incidents.  There is one part that I probably almost wet my pants, it was scary.  You go up this super windy (as in lots of turns) road.  I think you change about 1500 feet in elevation in 5 miles.  It is crazy.  Luckily I knew when it would end and I was watching the odometer when I got the chance.

Once we got into Yosemite Valley we stopped and walked to Lower Yosemite Falls.  It was beautiful.  I can not tell you how amazing it is to be in the valley of Yosemite.  It is so beautiful.  It was really hard to watch the kids and take pictures so my options are limited.  Here is the group we caravan-ed with.  The three that aren't mine played, carried, watched chased, etc.  my two little ones pretty much the whole time.  They were so good with all my kids.
I tried to get one with just my kids and this was the best I could get.  I finally got Lauren to open her eyse and Logan closed his, oh well!
At about 5:30 we arrived at our campsite where the other two families were already set up.  We quickly got to work and people helped me set up my tent.  My friend John, blew up our air mattresses then helped me for at least 30 minutes rearranging poles until we were satisfied.  Even my friend Tim helped, he put two stakes in the ground, then disappeared (I am kind of take charge and bossy).  In his defense he ended up getting Jackson out of the car and holding him while I was setting up.  My friend Eve was in there as well getting her hands dirty.  After that was set up I pretty much relaxed, and the kids ran around.  They were in heaven, and I just prayed the owies that the kids got could be taken care of with a band-aid!  The campsite was awesome.  The kids had a few big rocks they could climb on, they never got bored with that.  For dinner that night, the Porter family cooked some pretty amazing chicken, pasta salad, veggie tray and watermelon.  For dessert the Crowe family made a fabulous dutch oven peach cobbler, I think I am a sucker for that dessert.  The Crawford's shared some delicious cupcakes, even though they were coconut, they were fantastic as Tara would say!  I on the other hand contributed more mouths to feed, it is a tough job but some one had to do it!
I love this picture of Lauren.  She had so much fun running around, sometimes with the pack of kiddos and sometimes with her imaginary friend that she talked with.  In this pictures she is "shakin' it!"  We had a great campfire talk and were even told to be quiet, in a not so polite way.  If they heard what I heard they would probably be laughing too!

We had all checked the weather before we left and were planning for a fabulous 80 degrees during the day and a perfect 50 degrees at night.  We were not taking into account the fact that the weather was for the valley not at the elevation (above Bridalveil Falls) that we were at.  It was FA-REEEEZZZZZZZZZ-ING! One of my friends said in the morning there was about a foot and a half of ice along the bottom of our tent.  This picture was taken after about 45 minutes of cooking, can you see the frost on the propane?

 The Crowe Family, with help cooking from John and Todd, did breakfast and it was another all out meal, these people know how to provide a meal for the crowd.  They served up pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, cheesey eggs, bacon and dutch oven biscuits.  As you can tell it was a hit with my family, again I contributed to the consumption of the awesome spread.
This day we went on our one hike.  We talked to the ranger and he said it was perfect for strollers and it was a fairly easy hike, with a little house at the end for the kids to play in.  Awesome.  We start out and it was pretty good.  I had two little ones in my stroller and Lauren wanted to walk.  Eventually the path started becoming a little less maintained then it was pretty near impossible to get through.  After about 45 minutes, Todd ran up about a mile and knew we had missed the turn.  We ended up heading back to camp to grab lunch.  The hike was supposed to be easy enough that we didn't need our lunch just snacks.  On the way back I walked a little more leisurely and was able to appreciate the surroundings.  There were meadows of wildflowers that I didn't notice while my head was down and I was pushing the stroller like a bulldozer.  It was a good walk and I am glad we did it.

We headed back to camp and that is when the Park Ranger volunteer told us to not pick the wildlfowers.  Oops!  With  7 girls we had about 5 bouquets, the oldest two were not interested in the flowers as much.  After lunch we decide to go out to Glacier Point.  WOW!  Is that a beautiful place to view the Yosemite Valley!  I wish I had my camera (turns out I did it just happened to be on Miranda's back, who pretty much ditched me every chance she got!).  Some friends took some pictures and I will get some soon.  My friend Heather said it so well with one word "Majestic!"  You just stare in awe, it is so beautiful.  It makes you feel small and insignificant, but what a place to view the Lord's beauty that he created for us.
This is me and the kids at Glacier Point.  Right behind us is Half Dome.

We came back to camp and it was starting to get cold so I changed all the kids into pants and their sweaters if they wanted them.  Lauren continued to play and run around, then I look over and she is kneeling on the ground grabbing hand fulls of dirt and pouring them all over her lap.  This picture does not do her dirtiness any justice.
I love her facial expression in this photo.  She had such big round eyes and her cheeks are to die for!
When she saw this picture when we got home she said "Soren so sad."  The Crawford's prepared dinner this night.  It was grilled chicken fajitas, with black beans.  I think I almost killed myself eating two, but they were so good!  It was topped off with S'more's,  It made the camping trip complete.  I think roasted marshmallows are a symbol and necessity of a perfect camping trip!

Jackson was so happy when I let him run around.  This isn't the best picture but I thought it captured his attitude when he was free.

Thursday morning, our final day, we were up at 6:00am, by we I mean me and the kids.  The Crawfords had to leave to a fancy schmancy car show in Carmel, the Doll's left the night before due to a work commitment and the Porter family were still asleep.  It was so stinkin' cold and there was no wood for a fire so after having nothing warm to offer the kids, I loaded them in the car and put on a movie, while I started packing up some stuff.

 The next morning I did breakfast.  I provided homemade blueberry crumb muffins, banana bread, oatmeal (note for next year oatmeal IS NOT a good idea!), Sunny D (which despite the name does nothing to warm you up!), gogurt, milk and bananas.  It was a little on the wimpy side compared to the great meals from the previous group meals.

At about 10:30 I was done packing everything up (with help), Lauren repeated the dirt performance from last night, and I was exhausted from not getting good sleep, and being nervous for the crazy five mile windy road ahead.  We had planned to go walk around Mirror Lake but I couldn't do it anymore and just needed to get home.  When clarifying directions, I lost it and started to cry, so the Porter's said they would go home too so I could follow them.  It was such a blessing to me but I feel bad for cutting their vacation short as well.  Needless to say the drive home was pretty uneventful, except for the boy potty break when they spotted a baby rattle snake.

So that is my adventure.  It was amazing and I hope this is an annual trip.  I know there would be very little that would keep Jeremy away next time!

Thank you to the Porters, Dolls, Crawfords, and Crowes for all your help and making it a really nice trip for me.  You all were amazing!


Handsfullmom said...

You have awesome friends and you're a brave mother! I'm so glad your family could go.

luntaz said...

Wow April. I never would have attempted that with my TWO kids at the ages they are now! You are one brave woman. I'm impressed. I'm impressed with your friends too. They are good friends for sure.

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