Day 99 - Yosemite National Park - California (USA)
Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
141Trip End Aug 17, 2013
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Our first full day in Yosemite National Park, and its another wow. These National Parks are truly outstanding. They are all so very different from each other.
Yosemite is much much more commercialised than any of the other parks we have been to. Not necessarily a negative, just different, having lots of accommodation options and amenities around in the park. The central wooded areas remind us very much of Centre Parcs in the UK. The scenery clearly does not.
So our plan to take it easy went out the window as soon as we set foot in the park, so much we want to see
We arrive in the park early for breakfast, and to beat the crowds. Parking is a breeze, despite being warned not to take the RV into the park at this busy time.
Our first wander is to Yosemite Village, then onto the path to Lower Yosemite Falls. The paved path winds through beautiful woodland, and we stare up and up to the tops of the huge trees. Our first stop is at a viewpoint of both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls in a clearing. Dylan plays in a stream lobbing rocks, (this can no longer be described as stone throwing) and sticks in, and enjoying the splashes. He keeps telling us "we are at Yosemite National Park for five days". Yosemite Falls drops 2425ft, and is the tallest waterfall in North America.
Our next destination is to the bottom of the falls. It takes us some time to get there. If you want to go anywhere quickly don't let the toddler walk. We, however, really enjoy watching him having fun playing, and we are (thankfully) in no hurry. First long stop is on a wooden bridge, where the logs at the ends are two boats, one for Rich, and one for Dylan. Dylan's is apparently a sailing boat and he wants to race Rich's boat. Rich chooses a motor boat (the benefit of age). After at least half an hour of boat racing we lure him away by pretending to be on jet bikes and on kayaks, and racing along the track. We have never seen him move so fast, we can't keep up. Dylan has started to use the phrase that he is all "hot and bothered" which we think is hilarious. It's such fun when you start hearing yourself talking through the mouth of a little one
The next pit stop is for an impromptu concert by Dylan. We are arranged in the correct places to be the audience and he then treats us to some of his favourite tunes. Baa Baa Black Sheep (blah blah is now only used to make us laugh), Walking in the Air, and Five Little Monkeys. He pulls in a few passers by to listen. He's actually not too bad for a toddler. Wonder who he takes after?!
We finally get underway and reach the bottom of lower Yosemite Falls. It's beautiful, a reasonable flow of water from the huge cliffs towering above us. There are people paddling in the pools beneath and Dylan of course wishes to join them. We love his sense of adventure. Rich clambers down the rocks with him and let's him go in for a paddle.
We catch the shuttle bus back to the van for lunch. Emma accuses Rich of having lost his sense of humour over lunch. Dylan keeps saying that Daddy has lost his sense of satsuma which has us all laughing. We decide to pram push for nap time, and it turns out to be an excellent decision. One of the nicest nap time walks we have ever done. The little people both fall asleep straight away, which is always a bonus. There are miles of paved tracks around Yosemite Valley so tonnes of good scenic options. We chose a walk to Mirror Lakes (thanks N and N for the recommendation). Its about a 4 mile loop walk from where we are. The village and parking area is really busy, but as soon as we walk a bit further out, we don't see too many other people until we reach Mirror Lake. On the way we spot lots of lovely swimming areas in the river, and quickly add an hour or so swimming at one of these locations to our wish list for our time here
Mirror Lake which is apparently often now referred to as Mirror Meadow since in the summer it's often dried up all together. There is plenty of water for us to see, and just enough for Mt Watkins to be reflected in it. The area is stunning though. Trees, rocks, water and huge towering cliffs. Half Dome rides nearly a mile above the valley floor, making for an impressive back drop.
On our return walk to the RV we spot a Park Ranger's car with two Rangers fully dressed up. Rich comments on the necessity for a stab proof vest in the park. As they pull away they call out of the window to ask if we have seen anyone walking around with guns whilst on our walk. Those will be bullet proof vests then!
We stop at Curry Village for a much needed drink and ice cream. Dylan remembers the ice cream that Emma chose in Yellowstone that was about a million times nicer than his choice. He doesn't make the same mistake twice, he chooses the same as mummy this time.
We make a slow journey back to our campsite as the valley is busy with cars, but the Rangers do a great job of keeping things moving
Taya has us all giggling at dinner as she takes her chances on swiping the serving spoon from the mince bowl, and proceeds to lick off the contents. Having already eaten half a peach that had been cut for her she swipes Emma's whole peach and does an amazing job of eating round the stone. We are thoroughly impressed. It seems she may also have the Kempton eating gene.
Rich and Dylan make use of the train playground and the outside pool this evening, but are late home for bed after all our fun. We have checked out the possibility of the tennis final tomorrow at Wimbledon being shown on the restaurant TV at 7am. We will have to see how accommodating the morning staff are for Emma's request! Come on Murray - make us proud.