Yosemite National Park is approximately 4 hours from where we live in Emeryville, CA. It is also a very beautiful place to visit and Jen and I have gone there at least three times together. So back in November, or December, when our friends Genia and Jess expressed interest in going to Yosemite in January we asked “Which weekend?” We then booked a couple cabins and cleared our calendars.
The second Saturday of Charlie’s soccer season was an unfortunate casualty of our trip. On the upside though, we had a great time making new memories to share and got a bunch of cool pictures too.
On Friday morning we woke up early to Charlie loudly proclaiming that the sun was out. This is his daily ritual and is worse than a rooster crowing. Jen and I are still working on teaching Charlie the difference between daylight and sunlight. The latter being our intended signal for Charlie to wake us up. In the meantime, we reluctantly rise to the loud sounds of our two year old excitedly alerting us that it is time for him, and us, to get out of bed. FML.
We were out the door on time, pretty much, and headed to the bank to quickly cash a health insurance check I received for $43.46. After taking 20 minutes to get the check cashed we had some extra money for lattes from Starbucks. Around 30 minutes later Jen realized she forgot her hiking boots at home on the porch. So we called Jess and Genia who were behind us and they kindly went out of their way to grab Jen’s hiking boots. Her weekend was now un-ruined and we were thankful for great friends.
I settled into the passenger seat to work on some Golden Gate Organics stuff while Jen drove. We both listened to the Spotify top 50 U.S. songs I downloaded the night before. It is amazing to me how productive I can be on my iPhone when I am captive within transportation without the responsibility of driving. Somewhat unrelatedly, our Cadillac ATS got 28.9 MPGs for the trip which was nice. As I emptied my inbox as much as I could on the road, Jen drove and commented around Livermore that there was a toll lane on the highway. It is for people who want to bypass rush hour traffic. We cruised mostly traffic free towards Manteca. It was around 11am.
We arrived at the park around 3pm and paid the $30 entry fee for our car with four humans in it. The park pass was good for a week. Not five minutes into the park snow began to appear and Jen was concerned about the signs for tire chains. We missed the storm from the day before and the sky was sunny and clear. There were slippery spots of wet snow within the shadows on the roads. Our tire chains, fortunately, never left our trunk and I set the driving mode of the car to snow/rain. We never had any significant issues. The snow was serene and beautiful.
At the first scenic pullout Jen pulled over. Charlie was bored of the car. I wanted to take some pictures, and the scene of snow was almost too much for him. As we got our Charlie asked for his sand shovel that Jen had intuitively packed for his snow playing pleasure. I tried to get some dramatic shots of Charlie looking over the edge of the low stone embankment. Charlie tried to throw snow at me while another new arrival to the park asked me what kind of camera I had because he thought it was cool it was red. After I told him it was a Pentax he immediately called someone to tell them of my red Pentax DSLR camera. I said it takes extremely great photos if you know what you are doing. Most of my photos are deleted because of this. Ironically, all of these photos are from my iPhone and all the Pentax pics are still on the camera.
We arrived at about 30 minutes later and checked into our cabin. After guessing the reservation name for our friends I eventually convinced the clerk to put us in the cabin next to Genia and Jess. It worked out great and they arrived a short time later. Charlie had only fallen on the icy/snowy sidewalk and cracked his head once at that point. The hood of his coat saved him every time, thankfully. While sunset was still two hours away Yosemite Valley was already covered in shadow at that point. It was dark and felt later. The snow beautifully covered the trees and lent to some excellent photo chances. Charlie ran around in the snow.
We all went to find some food after exploring Half Dome Village. The food was premium priced and cafeteria quality. An excellent concrete example of supply and demand in action in the presence of scarcity. It was expensive as fuck. We brought a bunch of fruit with us and supplemented our meals the entire weekend. After dinner we were all wiped out and retreated to our cabins. Delightfully, our cabins formed a suite with a door between them so we hung out while Kai and Charlie tried to kill each other. There was a lot of crying and complaining from the parents.
The next day was our big hiking day. We ate overpriced but fair breakfast before catching the shuttle bus over to Yosemite Falls.
If you’ve ever been to Yosemite in the summer then you know that is the worse time to go to Yosemite. This day crowds were almost non existent and parking didn’t matter because we took a shuttle.
It was right after this picture that everyone in the group moved on without me as I continued to take pictures of all sorts of really cool things. About 10 minutes later Jen, Lucas, and Charlie came back. Apparently, I ruined the day at this point because I didn’t keep up with the group. Jen came back up the hill to the falls hangry and had two hangry kids too. We stopped on the side of the path for snacks, water, and to change a poopy diaper.
The Next Day
We headed out of Yosemite Valley towards Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It was Sunday and we had 17 miles to go. Today I drove. We arrived around 1pm and began a long hike where I ultimately burned around 1,400 calories and had to carry Charlie on my shoulders for quite a ways. It was beautiful, sunny, and we were all way to hot in our warm clothes.
We had to double time back to the cars so we didn’t get locked in the park at night. It was around 5pm and we were all very hungry and exhausted at this point. After about an hour of driving we stopped at a roadside restaurant with the most delightful hostess. She even remembered Genia and Jess from when they stopped there a couple years before. I had a vegan burger and it was surprisingly much better than you would think something labeled as vegan would taste. After dinner we parted ways with our friends and independently headed home in the same direction. We each had another three hours drive to get home and it was very dark. Jen and I made it home around 10pm and put the kids to bed. My alarm then went off a few minutes later at 5:45am and it was time to begin my week. Charlie pointed out that it was getting light outside as I was putting on my motorcycle pants. I took him and put him in our bed with Jen where they slept in until 9am. It was a great trip.