Yo Semite

We like to pronounce Yosemite as though we are making a Hooked on Phonics infomercial. Yo Semite.

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Yo. We went there, yo. Totally dude.

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Um… check out the butterfly.

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It’s been forever since we had been to Yosemite…. Since our honeymoon more than 15 years ago which is actually just shy of forever. Funny story that… we didn’t actually go to Yosemite for our honeymoon. We went to Lake Tahoe. We just went for a “short” visit to Yosemite which, if you know anything about California geography, you probably already know is not really all that close to Lake Tahoe. How could we know? Google Maps hadn’t been invented yet.

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We had to recreate one of our honeymoon pictures…

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because maps aren’t fun. Pictures are fun!

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No, nothing in that picture is its natural color. Editing is fun!

Yosemite is about a 3 hour drive from home. One of those so close, yet so far away type of places. When we lived an hour from Banff we went there all the time for day trips. Three hours each way is a little more of a commitment. I’m so glad we went as we are not really taking a vacation this year. The kids had a great time.

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Our kids, sadly, are what you might call Connoisseurs of Gift Shops. Had we not made sure that we enjoyed at least 2 natural wonders for every 1 unnatural wonder we may have just as easily driven them to the nearest airport for a grand gift shop tour. They are at the age where they really, really, really neeeeeeed souvenirs.

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Never mind that they apparently need the souvenirs before they actually see the place they are hoping to commemorate. We’re suckers though since we’re depriving them of so many real vacations. They all got their trinkets. We got a few too. And we can proudly say that we tried every single gift shop in Yosemite.

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And no, we didn’t buy bear poop.

We did happen to visit the Awahnee Hotel just in time for its 85th birthday celebration.

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My strange kids were not in the mood for cake though so we just looked at it and then left.

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Weird.

We saw lots of pretty.

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Lots of magnificent. (Look closely… there are people in these pictures…)

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And lots of buses.

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What would you do at Yosemite without the buses? I don’t know. We would not have had nearly as good a time with the kids as we did. All because of the buses. Thank you buses!

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We decided to do the looking before lunch, eat lunch in the car and then do the hiking stuff after getting some food in our bellies.

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This was my stroke of genius for the day. I put our mayo and mustard into little baggies, stuck them in an old sour cream container and then just barely plucked the tip off a corner of the baggies. Voila! Automatic condiment piping enabled. Worked beautifully.

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A rare treat. I normally don’t find Oreo’s worth the horror of having black cookie caked on my teeth. For some reason I found it worth it on Saturday.

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I always try to be consistent and make sense whenever possible.

We hiked up to Lower Yosemite Falls. On our last trip to Yosemite back in the last century we hiked up Vernal Falls. I couldn’t even remember the name of that waterfall or where it was until after we left Yosemite on Saturday. It would have been too many stairs for the kids anyway.

As it was we got to climb up lots and lots of rocks that during the spring are being polished by the rushing of the snow melt-driven Yosemite Falls. We will have to go back in the Spring sometime so the kids can see more water. When we made it back down from our climb we all felt like dying and looked like we had just been pulled out of Dwight Schrute’s beet patches.

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It was hot. And although we didn’t go all the way up (by any stretch) we went pretty far and those rocks are much more daunting than they may appear.

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See those little colorful dots at the bottom? Those are human beings. Yosemite is big, man.

At all of the bus stops we had time to make faces at each other.

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Lastly, I need to give a warning about wildlife at our National Parks. These creatures are dangerous, deadly, dastardly and disease-ridden. And dumb. They don’t read the rules about not fraternizing with humans. And sometimes the humans foolishly risk Bubonic Plague and Rabies and Whooping Cough and The Mumps and any number of flesh eating viruses, not to mention worms of all kinds, by (albeit cautiously) fraternizing back.

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My point? Don’t feed the animals. We didn’t. He just liked hanging out with us. Oh… maybe someone dropped part of his ice cream cone.

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But the little knuckle head splayed himself out on the lawn like a playboy bunny. Wrong rodent, buddy… have you ever heard of a playboy squirrel? I thought not.

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These critters also have developed a certain interest in digital photography gear. Here he is getting under the hood of my 24-70mm f/2.8.

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“Is this thing an L series? Niiiiiice.”

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Want to know why his nose is out of focus? He was wiping it on my glass. And well, the camera just doesn’t focus that close up.

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