Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Day 8

Saturday was clean up and packup day. Those of us still there had to take care of the linens, dishes, counters, etc. We got packed up by 11 AM…which was our official check out time. Tim checked his e-mail and the owner told us that we stay longer since he wasn’t coming until late afternoon. Too late. We were already packed up. Plus we were anxious to get home.

Everyone was very tired. Although Tim was exhausted, he managed to drive the entire way home. Nicole had a coupon (and a hankering) for Papa Murphy’s pizza. So we stopped in Fullerton to pickup two pizzas for supper.

Getting Pizza at Papa Murphys. Click photo for full size.
Getting Pizza at Papa Murphys. Click photo for full size.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Day 7

Here’s Lizzie enjoying some morning coffee.

Lizzie Having Morning Coffee. Click on photo for full size.
Lizzie Having Morning Coffee. Click on photo for full size.

Friday was a day that a carload was going to be heading home. So in the late morning, all of us drove to the Merced River (which was barely flowing). We hung out for a while playing in the water, hiking around, skipping rocks, spotting wildlife.

Joanna, Nicole, Victoria, Jeffrey, Sarah, Josiah, and Lizzie at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Joanna, Nicole, Victoria, Jeffrey, Sarah, Josiah, and Lizzie at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.

Josiah, Jeri, and Nicole at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Jeri, and Nicole at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Sarah Drying Off at the Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Sarah Drying Off at the Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Victoria and Sarah at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Victoria and Sarah at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Family Playing in the Merced River. Click photo for full size.
Family Playing in the Merced River. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Tim at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Tim at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Jeri at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Jeri at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Jeffrey and Jason on Bridge over Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Jeffrey and Jason on Bridge over Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Jason Skipping a Rock. Click photo for full size.
Jason Skipping a Rock. Click photo for full size.

Victoria and Nicole Under Bridge at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.
Victoria and Nicole Under Bridge at Merced River Recreation Area. Click photo for full size.

Tim set up for a group photo.
Setting up for our Group Photo. Click on photo for full size.
Setting up for our Group Photo. Click on photo for full size.

Here’s the photo.

Family Down by the Merced River. Click photo for full size.
Family Down by the Merced River. Click photo for full size.

We came home and had lunch. We got a final group photo in the living room of the vacation house.

Family photo in Yosemite Vacation House. Click photo for full size.
Family photo in Yosemite Vacation House. Click photo for full size.

Jeri, Jason, Victoria, and Lizzie packed up and headed home. They left around 4 PM. Because they hit LA around 11 PM, they had to take a construction detour on Interstate 405. So they didn’t get home until around midnight.

Josiah waving goodbye.

Josiah Waving Goodbye. Click photo for full size.
Josiah Waving Goodbye. Click photo for full size.

We enjoyed the hot tub once last time and watched the stars. We didn’t see as many shooting stars as we did the previous night.

Sarah, Joanna, Nicole, and Jeffrey in the Hot Tub. Click photo for full size.
Sarah, Joanna, Nicole, and Jeffrey in the Hot Tub. Click photo for full size.

Tim Stargazing. Click photo for full size.
Tim Stargazing. Click photo for full size.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Day 6

Thursday was a day off. In the afternoon, we took an optional trip to Coulterville to see their museum. Everyone except Jason and Jeffrey made the trip. The drive was about 30 miles and took about an hour.

Although the museum was smaller than we expected, we were able to see some interesting artifacts from the Gold Rush era. At its peak, the town had 10,000 residents but now it’s down to a few hundred.

Jeri at Coulterville Museum. Click on photo for full size.
Jeri at Coulterville Museum. Click on photo for full size.

After spending a couple hours looking around, we headed back home. On our way back through Mariposa, we stopped at the Pioneer Market to pickup some goodies (like soda) since it was Joanna’s birthday.

Joanna and Victoria at the Pioneer Market. Click on photo for full size.
Joanna and Victoria at the Pioneer Market. Click on photo for full size.

Here’s Joanna celebrating her 21st birthday with a drink (of MUG Root Beer).

Joanna Having a Drink on Her 21st Birthday. Click on photo for full size.
Joanna Having a Drink on Her 21st Birthday. Click on photo for full size.

The family around the dining room table.

Around the Dining Room Table. Click on photo for full size.
Around the Dining Room Table. Click on photo for full size.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Days 4 & 5

Tuesday we relaxed at home. We watched “The Chase” on the game channel, played Wii Party U, played cards.

Victoria, Joanna, and Jeri Playing Wii Party U. Click on photo for full size.
Victoria, Joanna, and Jeri Playing Wii Party U. Click on photo for full size.

Wednesday was our designated “Yosemite” day…we would spend the day at the park. Initially Tim thought that we would leave somewhat early (7:30 AM) to beat the crowds and the heat. However we decided to push it back to 8:00 AM, then eventually to 9:00 AM.

So a little after 9 AM, we packed up our water bottles, lunches, and snacks and took off. Around 10 AM on our way to Yosemite Valley, we stopped at El Capitan for a photoshoot. It’s hard to believe that people will actually climb the face of El Capitan. Although we looked for climbers, we didn’t see any.

Photo Shoot at El Capitan. Click on photo for full size.
Photo Shoot at El Capitan. Click on photo for full size.

In the valley, Yosemite has free shuttle buses to take you around. So we checked out the map and figured out the stop for Vernal Falls and boarded the bus.
Nicole and Lizzie on the Yosemite Shuttle. Click on photo for full size.
Nicole and Lizzie on the Yosemite Shuttle. Click on photo for full size.

Josiah Photo Bombing. Click on photo for full size.
Josiah Photo Bombing. Click on photo for full size.

The hike to the top of Vernal Falls is 1.5 miles each way with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. They rate the hike as “moderate.” So around 11 AM, we started the hike.
Victoria and Lizzie Starting up Mist Trail. Click on photo for full size.
Victoria and Lizzie Starting up Mist Trail. Click on photo for full size.

The hike started as a slow and steady climb. We were concerned on how well Josiah would hold out…but he did fine with energy to spare. Back when he was two years old, we gave him the nickname, the “Energizer Bubba.”
Tim and Lizzie on Mist Trail. Click on photo for full size.
Tim and Lizzie on Mist Trail. Click on photo for full size.

Finally we reached the foot bridge where we refilled our water bottles. Although Lizzie was feeling a little down, Tim encouraged her to keep going. She, along with everyone else, made it to the falls.

When we reached the base of the falls, we stopped to eat lunch. The squirrels (which we didn’t feed) were quite tame and would come up to us looking for food. Some of the squirrels were very fat.

Lunch Break Spot Near Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Lunch Break Spot Near Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.

Because our visit was in late summer, the falls didn’t have a lot of water. In spite of that, the falls were still noisy. People were swimming in the pool beneath the falls.

As we ate lunch, we noticed that the trail continued to the top of the falls where we could see some people looking over a railing. Because we had finished a long hike (as well as lunch) and were enjoying the view of the falls, we figured that we had experienced the falls and would be ready to head back down.

Tim stopped to talk with an experienced hiker and asked him if it was worth hiking to the top of the falls. He gave us definite “Yes.” So we took this group picture and then climbed to the top of the falls. This final climb was up 200 feet. Tim counted each step up; there were 360.

The view was definitely nice from the top.

Tim and Jeri at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Tim and Jeri at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.

Lizzie, Victoria, Nicole, and Joanna at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Lizzie, Victoria, Nicole, and Joanna at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Nicole, Lizzie, and Jason at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Nicole, Lizzie, and Jason at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.

Lizzie at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Lizzie at the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.

Working to maintain our balance down the steep steps, the hike down from the top was, in some ways, more challenging than the hike up.
Jeri and Lizzie Descending from the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.
Jeri and Lizzie Descending from the Top of Vernal Fall. Click on photo for full size.

After the hike, we stopped at the Ansel Adams Gallery to view some amazing pictures. Then we found our vehicles and headed out. On our way out of Yosemite, we stopped at Tunnel View to take some pictures at this popular location.
Victoria and Lizzie at Tunnel View. Click photo for full size.
Victoria and Lizzie at Tunnel View. Click photo for full size.

We made it home around supper time. We popped some frozen pizzas in the oven and relaxed the rest of the evening.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – More Pics at Taft Point

The hike to Taft Point was 1.1 miles from the parking area (AKA the trailhead). It was an easy hike that had minimal elevation gain. Because we were at a higher elevation (about 7,500 feet above sea level) and because it was getting close to sundown, the temperature was pleasant. The scenery was beautiful.

Here’s a photo of us walking down the path.

Hiking to Taft Point. Click for full size.
Hiking to Taft Point. Click for full size.

Sarah took a selfie with Jeri in the background.

Sarah Selfie with Jeri. Click for full size.
Sarah Selfie with Jeri. Click for full size.

Victoria and Josiah beside a huge rock.

Victoria and Josiah near Taft Point. Click for full size.
Victoria and Josiah near Taft Point. Click for full size.

Victoria walking through the woods.

Victoria Hiking to Taft Point. Click for full size.
Victoria Hiking to Taft Point. Click for full size.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Day 3

A few of us drove into Mariposa to do some more grocery shopping. After we returned in the early afternoon, we ate lunch and packed up some sandwiches. Then around 4 PM, we drove to Glacier Point in Yosemite. Glacier Point is up a long, winding road to a spot that overlooks Yosemite Valley. Here we are at Glacier Point.

Nicole, Joanna, and Victoria at Glacier Point. Click for full size.
Nicole, Joanna, and Victoria at Glacier Point. Click for full size.

Jason Taking a Picture at Glacier Point along with Joanna and Nicole. Click for full size.
Jason Taking a Picture at Glacier Point along with Joanna and Nicole. Click for full size.

Sarah and Josiah at Glacier Point. Click for full size.
Sarah and Josiah at Glacier Point. Click for full size.

Lizzie, Sarah, and Josiah at Glacier Point. Click for full size.
Lizzie, Sarah, and Josiah at Glacier Point. Click for full size.

Jeri and Tim at Glacier Point. Click for full size.
Jeri and Tim at Glacier Point. Click for full size.

Walking  Back from Glacier Point. Click for full size.
Walking Back from Glacier Point. Click for full size.

After Glacier Point, we drove about two miles back down the road to the trailhead for Taft Point and Sentinel Dome. Originally we were thinking of catching sunset at Sentinel Dome, but at the last minutes, Tim decided to hike to Taft Point instead. (Each of the hikes was 1.1 miles one way.)

The description of Taft Point (named after President Taft who visited Yosemite) is “a scenic spot at 7,500 feet elevation…one step to the north and you are at 4,000 feet.”

Joanna and Nicole Near Taft Point. Click for full size.
Joanna and Nicole Near Taft Point. Click for full size.

Sarah at Taft Point
Sarah at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Lizzie at Taft Point
Lizzie at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Lizzie Looking Down from Taft Point
Lizzie Looking Down from Taft Point. Click for full size.

Lizzie, Sarah, and Victoria at Taft Point
Lizzie, Sarah, and Victoria at Taft Point. Click for full size.

As seen in the above photos, the official Taft Point had a metal railing to protect you from falling over the edge. However Nicole and Joanna had a photo-taking session apart from the railing. They carefully crawled to within 10 feet or so of the edge to take some photos. Be sure to click on the photo below and look for Joanna and Nicole in the center.
Joanna and Nicole Heading up to Taft Point
Joanna and Nicole Heading up to Taft Point. Click for full size.

Nicole and Joanna at Taft Point
Nicole and Joanna at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Sunset Approaches Taft Point
Sunset Approaches Taft Point. Click for full size.

Justin Taking Pictures at Taft Point
Justin Taking Pictures at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Family at Taft Point
Family at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Justin along with Jeffrey Setting up for a Sunset Photo
Justin along with Jeffrey Setting up for a Sunset Photo. Click for full size.

Josiah in the Sun with Joanna
Josiah in the Sun with Joanna. Click for full size.

Jason Taking a Photo at Taft Point
Jason Taking a Photo at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Joanna Escorting Josiah at Taft Point
Joanna Escorting Josiah at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Justin Taking Sunset Photos
Justin Taking Sunset Photos. Click for full size.

Tim, Jeri, and Josiah at Taft Point
Tim, Jeri, and Josiah at Taft Point. Click for full size.

Jeffrey and Justin at Sunset
Jeffrey and Justin at Sunset. Click for full size.

The drive was very twisty and windy…a few people were feeling quite sick during our trip home.

Some more pics are here.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Day 2

Sunday was a day of relaxing in the vacation house. We awoke to find deer in the front yard.

Deer in the Front Yard. Click for full size.
Deer in the Front Yard. Click for full size.

We watched the movie, Kate & Leopold, as well as some shows on the Food Network (like Cutthroat Kitchen). We also played Wii Party U.

We also worked on figuring out plans for our trips to Yosemite.

We grilled burgers for supper.

Jeffrey Grilling. Click for full size.
Jeffrey Grilling. Click for full size.

We went to Yosemite the next day (Monday). Click here.

Yosemite Vacation 2014 – Day 1

This year, our vacation took us to Yosemite. We rented a house in Midpines for a week. The house is about an hour from the western entrance to the park.

Family Ready to Hit the Road for Yosemite. Click for full size.
Family Ready to Hit the Road for Yosemite. Click for full size.

We left Saturday morning August 16th and, surprisingly, we left almost on schedule. The drive was a little over 300 miles. We had to endure a slow slog through L.A. We took our “new” vehicles that we purchased this year: our 2005 Kia Sedona minivan and our 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon. The latter we were able to get the A/C working by adding more refrigerant (R134a). In preparation for our trip, we took the Subaru to the shop. We had them replace the timing belt and water pump.

A selfie in the Subaru.

Lizzie, Nicole, and Josiah in the Subaru wagon. Click on photo for full size.
Lizzie, Nicole, and Josiah in the Subaru wagon. Click on photo for full size.

After a few hours, we stopped at a Del Taco for lunch.

Jeri and Lizzie Waiting for Lunch at Del Taco. Click for full size.
Jeri and Lizzie Waiting for Lunch at Del Taco. Click for full size.

Tim, Jeffrey, Justin, and Jason Waiting for Lunch at Del Taco. Click for full size.
Tim, Jeffrey, Justin, and Jason Waiting for Lunch at Del Taco. Click for full size.

Joanna and Jeffrey Waiting for Lunch at Del Taco. Click for full size.
Joanna and Jeffrey Waiting for Lunch at Del Taco. Click for full size.

After stopping, the A/C in the Subaru would work intermittently. So the temperature would cycle between cold to lukewarm. Not sure if it was due to excessive refrigerant in the system or if the 100 degree outside temperature was a factor.

Before getting to the house, we stopped at a Vons grocery store in Oakhurst. Because we were shopping for the week, we shopped for a good hour.

Jeri, Lizzie, and Nicole at Vons in Oakhurst. Click for full size.
Jeri, Lizzie, and Nicole at Vons in Oakhurst. Click for full size.

We finally got to the house around 7 PM. After unpacking, we ate supper and relaxed.

Click here for Day 2!

20140807_095733[1] Selfie time. #selfie #fair #Iowa #highschooler #annoying #tomanyhashtags 20140807_095417[1] Nicole in the food department. 20140807_095451[1] Some really cool cakes that were going to be judged soon. 20140807_094559[1] Some more awesomeness in the food department. Super Mario Galaxy Mario Galaxy Mario. 20140807_094341[1] Nicole taking a picture of Lizzie taking a picture. 20140807_094700[1] Olaf! 20140806_085307[1] Lizzie and Victoria at Panera Bread. 20140806_090121[1] And finally, Rachel with her pound and a half of cream cheese.