Our first night at Yosemite we stayed in a tent cabin in the valley. Finding our tent cabin at 10:00 p.m., after checking in at the park office and getting our keys, was a bit of an adventure. I found it humorous, but not everyone agreed. Keep in mind we had just been given many "bear-aware" warnings by the park rangers, as we began our trek in the dark to find our site. We literally found our tent using our cell phone lights. (A tent cabin is basically a canvas tent with a wooden frame, built up off the ground with wooden floors, with beds and one electric light.) I thought it was fine, but the girls hated every moment. That was a sentiment they had many times during the vacation, but that's a whole other post entirely.
What I didn't realize until the light of the morning, was that we were surrounded by the beautiful granite mountains that bring many people to Yosemite. I stepped out of the tent and saw this:
I'm no Ansel Adams, but this is my shot of El Capitan with Half Dome in the background.
I was awestruck. Again, not everyone shared my feelings. After breakfast, we took a tour of the valley floor on an open-air tram...very nice and lots of interesting facts, but I was glad it was only two hours. We then left the valley and headed to our lodge which was right outside the park, about an hour away. We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge, which was just awesome. We were there three nights, and while there we rode horses, mountain biked (me and Alan - mostly Alan), lounged by the pool, hiked to see the Giant Sequoias (again, just me and Alan - Bailey and Keena were not wild about exerting themselves on this trip), and treated the girls to facials at the lodge's spa.
There's something about those big pink helmets that make the girls look 10 yrs. old.
This horseback ride was not your average, simple trail ride. We went over steep, rocky, narrow paths and crossed several creeks. It was pretty adventurous! We all agreed this ranked nearly as high as the rafting as the most memorable part of the trip!
We enjoyed one "dressy" night out for dinner during our Yosemite stay.
I had to take a picture of this bloody mary I had poolside. The best I've ever had!
One of the highlights of the entire vacation was the all-day whitewater rafting on the Tuolomne River. The girls and I had never been rafting, but we were big fans shortly after getting started. I could have settled for a half-day, but perhaps all the strenuous activities in the higher elevation were getting to me. I was pooped, and the rafting was hard work. My back is still not happy with me. Anyway, before we began the rapids we practiced some strokes and maneuvers and the ability to follow directives from the guide. We practiced one maneuver that the guide said was rarely necessary, but important to know. So I think our favorite part of the rafting was when we actually had to perform the maneuver to keep everyone from falling out in the middle of a Class IV rapid. It was exciting and kind of scary, but so fun afterwards! (This is not a picture of that maneuver!)
You can't even see the other rider in the front right of the boat. She's getting an ice-cold splash in the face.
We got back to the lodge around 7:30 p.m. to discover they were still having trouble with a water main break. Too bad, it meant we had no water in our hotel room and they had to move us to the luxury suite for our last night. Darn it. :-) This was a $700/night suite, so needless to say we were wishing the water problems had occurred earlier in the week!
The next morning we left for San Francisco, which I thought would be another highlight of the trip. What was I thinking?