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:: Yosemite

Yosemite National Park. Check.

[ Blink blink blink goes the cursor in my editor. What exactly did we do there? Amy volunteers to write this one, if I agree to watch Benjamin for an hour. While tedious, watching Benjamin sounds a lot easier than writing, so Amy's taking this post. ]

So yeah.. after three years of living in California we finally made it out to Yosemite National Park. And not just us, but all four of our parents as well. We figured Benjamin needed to see all of his grandparents at once so he doesn't get them confused with each other later on.

Craig's dad found a really nice "cabin" (actually a fully-equipped house) on the far side of the park. It had 3 bedrooms so we all piled in together. We arrived around dinner time, so the first order of business was to drink several whiskey sours each. Well, Craig and Amy went easy on the booze, knowing Benjamin would be waking them up several times in the night, as well as bright and early the next morning. Hahaha. Guess who was hung over the next morning? Not Craig and Amy! Not Benjamin! It was then that somebody read the cabin's "high altitude orientation" pamphlet, which basically advised no alcohol for the first 24 hours, lots of water, and plenty of rest. It didn't mention whiskey and wine as recommended ways to adjust.

After a low-key breakfast, we all headed out to see the natural wonders we were supposedly surrounded by. Ever since moving to California, we had been hearing about how breathtakingly amazing the Yosemite Valley is. It's only 3 hours from Livermore, so we figured we would get out there one of these weekends. It turns out everyone was right, and Yosemite really is one of the most beautiful places we've ever seen. Why hadn't we come here sooner? Why are we such slackers?

We hit all the major sights that were accessible by very short hikes from the main road. Bridal Veil Falls, which was impressively torrential from the spring thaw, Yosemite Falls, an overlook of the whole valley, and various views of the mountains towering over us, including the ever-present Half Dome. We kept trying (with no success) to find rock climbers on the face of the cliffs with the zoom on our camera.

The second day we drove up to Glacier Point, which provided even more breathtaking views, this time from a very high altitude. We lingered at the two overlooks all morning. There's really not a good way to describe how impressive the valley is. We didn't want to leave, but after some restorative ice cream, we wound our way back down the mountain. After lunch at the cabin, we decided Benjamin needed some time to roll around on the floor and play, rather than continue being strapped into his car seat. So we stayed behind while the grandparents went to see what was yet another natural wonder, the giant redwoods of Mariposa Grove.

That night we had a very good dinner at the Mountain Room, which is the Park's second-nicest restaurant. We weren't completely at ease with the thought of taking a 6 month old to the Ahwahnee Dining Room, which is described as "the crown jewel of Yosemite dining." Yeah, not with a baby, no thanks! The Mountain Room was awesome, not too formal with great food.

The next morning we went our separate ways -- Craig's parents continued going north, on their way to Glacier National Park in Montana, while the rest of us made our way home. Maybe next we can all go to Hawaii together!

Amy thinks Benjamin is a more compelling sight
than the gorgeous panorama in front of her.

More pictures can be found in our Kodak Gallery. Check out Yosemite Day 1 and Day 2.

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