It's Day 2 for us here in the Yosemite Valley! Let's see what all the day brings!
Theresa planned ahead and had coffee chilled for us, plus a cooler with ice! Combine that with flavored milk and we've all got a special treat this morning.
Last night we didn't really explored our campground much. From the map, it goes right up to the Merced river.
That is chilly! Hey Ian! Remember your last time you stuck your feet in this river? You were 6 months old!
And we got it on video! You didn't care for it so much back then.
But as we continued our walk around the campground, we saw a few people in tubes floating with the current down the river.
Brr! This water is cold! Theresa was content to put her feet in the water, then go right back to the shady shoreline.
But the kids weren't satisfied with that. They wanted more.
Ian in particular doesn't seem to mind the cold so much. He's a little polar bear.
I waded out with them and it got chilly as soon as it went above waist level. I took Ian to the other shore.
Then I came back for Alli.
Actually, once you dip into the water, your skin starts to go numb and it's not so bad.
The other side had a few things worth exploring. Like a set of fallen trees that were perfect to sit and lay on. We warmed up in the sunshine from our chilly swim across the river.
A short distance away there was a fallen log that was partially in the river. Ooh, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
The three of us floated over to the slippery log and shimmied our way up. Once we got to the area outside the water, it was much easier to walk across.
Ian and I took the plunge first, while Alli held my hat. After seeing it was do-able, Alli joined Ian and I and we all held hands and jumped in together! Brr! It's cold!
We left Ian on one side of the river while I swam Alli back to Theresa. That hot sunshine is welcome now!
Ian sat on the log from before and sang one of my favorite songs from one of the first movies I ever remember watching. It was adorable.
Brr! After that dunk in the Merced River we were all chilly. Speaking to a ranger, they estimated the temperature of the river to be in the 40s. Wish I had a thermometer to check it myself.
Lunch was a tasty PB&J sandwich.
After hearing from a few other people in the area that they couldn't get a cell signal, Theresa and I were surprised that we were able to text and stream movies. Our Uncle Ruston sent me a message to go check out the newly released Baymax Episode 6, timestamp 8:36. Go check it out yourself! It's always a treat to see someone you know who works on something you enjoy!
Who could use a treat? The camp store here sells sodas and ice cream, and the prices aren't actually bad. $2ish for drinks and $2 for these It's-It Ice Cream Sandwiches.
These chocolate covered oatmeal cookies and ice cream are fantastic.
The kids took theirs on the warm stones lining the front of the tents.
After the fun morning hiking and swimming in the river, it was time for us to head back to the Visitor's Center. There's a Junior Ranger program at 3pm that we want to be a part of to meet the criteria for earning our Junior Ranger badges.
Can't beat these views.
Biking really has been the best way for us to get around the valley.
At 3pm, the kids were first in line to see our Ranger leader Bridget. They told her about all the things they got to see and do in the parks so far.
She took all the kids over to a giant cookie slab from a Sequoia Redwood and talked about how we can see part of the history of this tree and get an idea of the age of it.
Next we went over to a large tree stump where the ranger took out a large cookie that looked like the rings of a tree. The center of the tree is marked at 1977 and then every 10 years after that.
Next the kids all get to participate! Think about an event in your life. It could be a happy memory, sad memory, etc.
She said, for instance, I'm going to mark the year 2000 as a special day for me.
Theresa and I were thinking, maybe she graduated around then, or something else momentous.
Ranger Bridget - So in 2000, I was born!
Theresa and I both started laughing. Oh my. I feel so old!
The kids picked their own special events. Ian picked his very first visit to Disneyland in 2014. Alli picked her birthday.
For those kids who have competed their booklets, they can get everything signed off.
And then get sworn in as official Yosemite park Junior Rangers!
Awesome badges kids! I love that they are made of wood and have Half Dome on it.
Thank you Ranger Bridget!
The swearing in ceremony.
A relatively short walk away from the visitor's center is the hike to Yosemite Falls. While we were on the trail, we saw a sign of wildlife! A large deer! It disappeared into the woods pretty quick though.
This was a simple hike up to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls.
Quite a few people here, but what are you going to do?
The trail up is a loop, so we continued around the other side. This side has a few more interesting features. Just off the path are a few boulders that you can scramble over.
The kids love doing rock scrambling, ever since we went to Joshua Tree.
Ah, here's the area where you can see both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.
Recreating a photo we took back in 2014 here. Thanks for being our photographer Alli!
Continuing our hike/walk, we continued into the valley below.
A cool bridge that leads over the Merced River.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting hungry. It's a good thing that Theresa picked up some extra ramen at the grocery store. We weren't sure if we'd be here an extra night.
The kids love their ramen.
Especially when the reward for finishing their dinner is s'mores for dessert!
Both kids wanted to help out making the fire with the leftover wood we have from last night.
And Ian helped light it up.
Soon enough we were ready to make delicious s'mores!
Ian had a great idea of using his Most Stuf Oreo's as the cookies and the chocolate.
The fire pits are in a communal area, so you can see and chat with your neighbors. The kids found some other children and ran off to play with them. They heard one of them mention that they wished they had more marshmallows. Since we were finished with ours, they came back and asked if we could give ours to them. That's very considerate!
When they went to deliver the marshmallows, they struck up a conversation with adults, telling them all about our stories, the blog, and more. Then when the other kids went off to play something else, the kids asked the adults to play, like corn hole. Ian and Alli made a good impression with their politeness and kindness.
As the evening continued, we played more card games together.
And around 10:30pm when it got really dark, we took a blanket back to the Merced river beach and laid out under the stars.
Oops, forgot my nice camera. No great night shots.
Time for bed! As soon as we got into the tent, I had everyone turn around and go right back out. This guy was hanging out a few inches from my pillow. Sorry for those who are squeamish!
With that, let's hope for sweet dreams and a pleasant last day tomorrow!