Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Yosemite has our hearts

This is a miss mash of all the rest of our favorite Yosemite photos spread over most of the week. Some of these photos are my favorites of all. The one above, playing in a meadow at sunset with towering El Capitan  looming over us. El Capitan is three times taller than the World Trade Center was, it is MASSIVE.
Both kids and their mama. ;)
Both kids were able to pick out a new toy at the visitors' center, so the raccoon and squirrel went everywhere with us.

One thing we were most excited about was swimming in the Merced River. This river is deep, and cold and absolutely stunning. The water is emerald. When I got married in Yosemite I seriously considered wedding photos on the banks of the Merced (now I wish I had!).

Our favorite beach is in the shadow of El Capitan. Not sure if you can see that rock in the middle of the river, but we've been visiting that rock since I first came to Yosemite when I was 15. It's in the middle of a deep part of the river and requires swimming to get to it. Once there it is the BEST rock to jump off of. When I was getting my laser eye surgery ten years ago they told me to just relax and imagine somewhere that made me feel peaceful, I spent the entire hour surgery imaging I was lying on that rock, in the sunshine, so it feels extra special to me.
I begged the family to join me out there on my favorite rock, but man the water is cold! Only James went out there with me. He's my best adventure buddy. He's always up for something exciting. And he jumped off with me too!
We spent hours on this sandy beach. Playing, swimming, splashing, enjoying.
It doesn't even look real when you're standing there.
Another day we went to a different beach and the kids loved this log that had fallen across the river.
All these little ladybugs had landed on the log and they both spent so much time "rescuing" them.
E didn't want to swim or get wet so he found another log and enjoyed his book.
I never don't want to swim. I ALWAYS want to swim. This reminds me a lot of this photo from Teton National Park two years ago.
On our last night there we went to The Ahwahnee to have a fancy dinner and enjoy the historic lodge where we were married.
The Ahwahnee is everything a historic hotel and lodge should be. It's grand and fancy and stunning. The entire building (and even its name) is inspired by the Native Americans that originally lived in Yosemite Valley. These historic chairs were specifically designed for Ahwahnee, they tip back letting the gust view the amazing Native American paintings on the ceiling above.
Look at how grand this fireplace is!
Can you see the stained glass above the windows? And the ceiling? It's hard to get an idea how large this room is, but it's just so grand!
Everyone packed one fancy outfit for our evening at The Ahwahnee.

This love was all smiles while we explored the grounds. We walked over to the Merced River and watched the deer that hung around the grounds.
Soon it was time to go into the stunning restaurant. Luckily we made dinner reservations a week earlier, everything was booked! 

We decided on the cheese plate for an appetizer and joked it could feed six people. Luckily we ate almost all of it. 
While eating dinner this tiny baby fawn followed her mama out of the grass, we watched them throughout dinner and couldn't get over how tiny she was. 
We asked James to snap a photo where we said "I do". Thanks kiddo.

This is the room where we danced and had appetizers all those years ago.
Until next time Awhanee.
On the last day of our vacation, we said goodby to our little condo that we stayed in and took the long road back through the high country. We decided to eat lunch at Tenaya Lake. What a spectacular place to spend our last meal! 

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Glacier Point and Vernal Falls

Yosemite posts are feeling a little daunting at this point, since I still have like four more to go. I think I'll maybe do the "highlights" all in one post, and call it a day. So after this, one more post to go.
We planned a lot of shorter hikes in Yosemite but one day we desperately wanted to attempt Vernal Falls. We would have been happy to get to the bridge 3/4 miles from the trailhead but were beyond impressed that these two just wanted to keep hiking.
We knew James would want to hike the Mist Trail portion of the hike, where the mist from the falls made the path wet and slick and rainbows could be seen everywhere.
Both both kids powered up the mist trail completely happy and undeterred. The trail is steps, large uneven steps. Up up up. They were rocking it, and so many people couldn't believe how little they were (both by far the smallest hikers on this portion of the trail).

We stopped for lots and lots of pictures of beautiful Vernal Falls. It's so hard to convey how HUGE this fall is, and how loud it is pounding in your ears.
Up up up, all the way to the top! There is millions of gallons pouring off of this waterfall and the current is fast. So while its amazing to look over the edge, we gladly stayed behind the gate. 
Most non serious hikers turn around at the viewpoint bridge or at the top of Vernal Falls. My crew? Wanted to keep going?! I could not believe it. James would have been happy to hike six more miles, but after about another half mile upstream, we decided to stop at this granite slab to enjoy the afternoon.
We were all mesmerized by this "smaller" fall. Nobody was around and we could enjoy it practically alone.
This hiking bunny was as happy as a clam. She never asked to be picked up or carried. It was a long hike, and super steep. She rocked it. Nobody could believe she was up there.

Once at the top we didn't rush to turn around. We sat, we enjoyed, we played and spent a lot of time looking at this waterfall.
The girls.
And when I say I was impressed by her, check out these stairs! They are double or triple the height of a normal step and they go on and on and on. Half of them were half her body height.
Another day we went to Glacier Point, which is amazing and awesome and you don't have to hike to!
We took lots of photos and stayed and ate lunch there. These guys were happy to clean up any crumbs or even half sandwiches that weren't watched closely enough.
Half Dome and Yosemite on the left, our hike to Vernal Falls was behind Half Dome, so the canyon on the right.

Lots of places to look at waterfalls from above. (How'd her hair get so dark?!)

I want to print this photo huge and hang it on his wall.
Way way down below (on the right hand side) we could see Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls. AMAZING.

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