Thursday, September 1, 2011

The end to our perfect summer.

by Holly

This is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I am blessed to be able to end my summers here with my husband and our boys.  We started camping here when Big Man was 4, and Middle Man was just 1 (he took his first steps here).  Our pastor and his family had been coming here for years and they were always telling us how great it was.  And I grew up only 3 hours away, but never went with my family.
When our kids were younger, my husband really wanted to start camping.  But this was a big commitment. The 9 hour drive was a bit much for me.  IF something went wrong (a kid got sick, hurt, really bad weather) we would be pretty well stuck.  I was nervous.  So, the first year we only stayed 4 days.  I eased my way into it.
And now it is one of my favorite places in the world.  Ah, Yosemite!
We go at the end of the summer, and it really gets us grounded and ready for the crazy school year ahead.  I love the teamwork that camping asks of all of us, and my kids cry when we leave every year.
Here are some of my favorite pics from the trip...
We went with some of our friends, and we have A LOT of boys between us.  Maybe you can pick out little Maddie in the middle of the table of 7 boys.  It was great having so many kids there.  Chaotic, but great!
Like I said before, we were really introduced to Yosemite from our pastor.  He goes with his family every year.  The fun thing is that they go earlier in the summer than we do.  Last year we had the idea to give him some little toys and have him hide them for our kids to find once we got there.  This year he did it again, and he records clues for them which we show the kids on a little flip camera.  Then the kids are on the hunt.  It is so fun for them!  We have found things under rocks next to waterfalls, in telephone booths, old fallen logs...  Amazing memories being made here!
Of course, there is always a craft time.  Camping has a lot of down time, so I usually bring a craft or two that will keep the boys busy while the adults have time to relax.
The boys hiked to the top of Vernal Falls.  Yes, it is that steep all the way up.  Last year I practically carried Little Man the whole way because I wanted to go so bad.  This year, he and I sat it out.  He is too big to carry, and the climb would have had him begging the whole way.  I chose instead to hang out with my friend Amy and her little girl and have a nice lunch in the village.  Excellent choice!  But here is what they got to see..
Beautiful!  (And they got lollipops at the top, so it was a win-win.)
We also spent a morning rafting down the Merced river.  This year it was amazing because there was so much water.  The risk of going so late in the summer is that all of the waterfalls and the river are pretty well dried up by the time we get there.  But this year was different, and we really got to see a lot of water.  Yay!
Now this is relaxing!
Getting a campsite in the valley can be very tricky.  Some years we have been lucky to find anything.  This year we got 2 sites that backed up to a little meadow.  These were our breakfast guests one morning.  So sweet!  And then there was this guy...
We stayed far away from him (or her).  The wildlife is amazing.  One of our favorite things to do is go on one last bike ride before bed each night.  In the evening, the meadows are filled with deer and the lighting is so pretty on half dome.
Sweetness!  Walking across the meadow hand in hand on the way to get ice cream.
There is just such a sweetness about camping.  It is hard work, but the memories are so worth it.  I love that my phone is off, there is no television or radio.  My family and I can just be together, sing songs (their new favorite is "How Great Thou Art" that they learned at vacation Bible school), and live simply: even if only for 8 days, 7 nights (the maximum you can stay, and how long we stay every year after that first one).  It is an amazing time, spent in an amazing place.  It is THE perfect way to end our summer.

Happy Thursday everyone!


Tina said...

What a beautiful waterfall! That bear looks cute, but I'm with you, and I would stay VERY FAR AWAY!

Thanks for following me. :) I have enjoyed reading your blog.

amycornwell said...

How beautiful! Sounds like a wonderful trip!