Monday, September 28, 2009


Wednesday is my hubby's birthday. He'll be his dreams. Months and months ago, before we knew how crazy finances were going to get, I made reservations for us to stay at his favorite place in the whole world...Yosemite.
He's been going to Yosemite since he was...14? 15? And he loves it. When he goes to Yosemite, he doesn't mess around. It's backpacking all the way. For days. Eating bits of dried food and purifying his water straight from the lakes and falls.
Well, all my life I'd never been to Yosemite. So for my 30th birthday (when I was pregnant with Ian unbeknownst to me, which could account for some of the crying...but I'll get to that in a minute...ahem) he bought me my own backpack and took me to Yosemite for my first ever adventure at one of the most beautiful places on earth.
I have to admit, I am not adventurous. At all. I'm afraid of heights...flying...elevators if I allow myself to be...I never could get the hang of balancing the stroller on an escalator...I'm a big chicken. I can't balance across fallen trees or bridges without rails or jump rocks across a stream. A chicken, I tell you. I like my feet firmly planted on stable, non granite-y, non-slippery ground. Flat is good, too.
Well, it was an interesting trip. Beautiful. Enlightening. And a time to test my bravery...or lack thereof. We climbed and hiked. And it was amazing. Until...the descent. It's a long let's just say that I cried all the way down the granite slab to our camp site...a lot. And really hard. Like a little baby. That knew bad words. spite of me...we made it to our little camp site. And I will admit, once there and set up, it was beautiful. And quiet. Very, very quiet. And it got dark. Very, very dark very, very fast. We ate, quite possibly, the best dinner ever. It consisted of dried minestrone soup that we packed in...and not the typical hiker food that you buy at REI. We bought it at the grocery store and then transferred it to Ziplocs ourselves. Much better that way. Hiker food isn't all that. And because I had it in the fridge, at the last minute I tossed one cob of fresh corn into my pack...and at dinner that night we broke it in half and added one half to each little pot of soup simmering on our individual backpacking stoves.
Wow. Was it ever good.
Eventually, we went to sleep. I was terrified at each little noise that I heard so I tried to make myself go to sleep quickly. And I hoped that I'd STAY asleep and PLEASE don't let me have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Please. Because I am NOT leaving this little two-man tent for nothin'!
Eventually, morning came. I'd made it. I'd survived through the night. And what a relief. It was a gorgeous and crisp. Sunny. Beautiful. We ate breakfast...pancakes made with mix and purified stream water and Jimmy Dean sausage that we'd packed in frozen. By the time it was time for breakfast it was perfectly thawed. I'm telling you, we really had this whole hiking food thing down. Breakfast was delicious...and smelled divine. And not just to us. As we're cleaning up breakfast dishes and taking our sweet time packing up our stuff to make the rest of the hike to "the top", we begin to hear crackling in the trees. You know, twigs breaking and such. I turned to look and thought I saw a deer in the trees. But in a split second, I realized that I was not seeing a deer. Not even close. I was seeing A BEAR. And he was close. And he was hungry. And he wanted some of our sausage and pancakes. Or us. I'm not sure. But we certainly weren't going to wait around to find out. You have never seen two people pack up a tent and sleeping bags and whatever else we had with us and FLY up a slab of granite so fast in your life. There was a lot of action in between, but I'll spare you the details of useless air guns and the many, many expletives that were flying out of my mouth. (Hey, this was years ago and before I began my walk with the Lord...we're still working on my sailor mouth!) the bottom line is that we survived. But I, well, let's just say, I was traumatized. For life. And I haven't been back to Yosemite since. It's been over 11 years. But, it's time to get over myself and face my fears...for my family. Chris has been wanting to take the boys to Yosemite for years. But between baseball schedules, business dealings, finances, my FEAR...we haven't gone.
Well, this year, we decided it was time. No matter what. We were going to take the boys to Yosemite. And as a surprise I made us reservations here:

Curry Village...cabins. My one request was that if we DO take the boys, that we ease back into the whole Yosemite thing. I was too scared to pack in...especially with my kids. And I was too scared to tent camp...because bears like to join the campers and steal their garlic bread (right Aunt Lisa?!). So...the concession was...we stay in a cabin with walls and our own bathroom. And Chris lovingly agreed
ALL of this to say...we'll be leaving Wednesday morning for a three-day trip to Yosemite. The boys get to miss school and everything. We can't wait...we are SO excited! Yes, even me. Over the next day and half I will be preparing everything for us to go...find an animal sitter, pack pillows and blankets, snacks and drinks, grubby clothes and grubby shoes, and make sure I have a fully charged camera battery. The boys have all already decided to bear the burden of the backpacks so that I can pack my camera! The next photos you see of Yosemite will be MINE!
And to get laundry started and get ready for work this afternoon. And make my lists...lots of lists...
(these are not my on them to get necessary info)


Elaine said...

Oh I'm so excited to hear about your trip! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Yosemite. I usually go twice a year. It's amazingly beautiful! Amazingly beautiful.

You don't really need blankets in the cabins. It's like a motel room. I always take my own pillow everywhere though. It's rustic, but appropriate.

I can't recommend enough to rent bikes. Just one day. Rent a bike and ride through the meadow trails and to Yosemite Village and to Lower Yosemite falls. Ride up to Mirror Lake and hike around. There won't be much water (if any) but it's still a beautiful hike. Especially if the leaves have started to turn.

I totally recommend going to the Ahwanhee Hotel for a glass of wine or go for coffee in the AM. We had brunch there on my birthday. It's a real treasure, but UBER expensive, so be prepared to only look around or have something small.

The Ansel Adams Gallery is a must see. It's in Yosemite Village. You park your car when you get there and then walk, ride a bike or ride the bus everywhere you want to go.

Believe what they say about food in your car. Lotion, lip gloss, empty water bottles, soda cans, old french fries under the seat, etc.....don't leave them in there. Check everything so you don't get a bear break in.

I'm so excited you are going. I wish I were there to show you around. Yosemite is my favorite place on earth and I feel like it's my home! Or at least I wish it were.

Have a great time, you nature girl you.


You Can Call Me Jane said...

Have a wonderful time. I will pray for views of bears from far, far, far, far away:-).

Sheryl said...

sounds like a great time!! i have to say how wonderful of you to have gone before with your husband even though you were afraid. that speaks volumes

laughed out loud when you said you cried like a baby who knew bad words!! i knew there was a reason we hit it off.

have a great time.

from, your fellow sailor mouthed friend.

Anonymous said...

way cool. way exciting. way fun. this trip will make some awesome memories. ps. loved the story

Wren said...

LOVED the story!! I can't believe you are going to Yosemite!! and a CABIN to boot?? How awesome! Can't can't can't wait to see your pictures!!! Have a wonderful time! ~also love your blog updates. I love the fact you posted my now "favorite" scripture verse thanks to you. My mom has it on her desk too. I wanted you to know...

A Friend Across the Miles said...

Thanks for sharing your story - and for making me laugh!

You are going to have so much fun, I can hardly stand it. And there is no dollar amount that would replace the memories that you are going to be creating with your family. So go eat hiker food and stretch your comfort zone and take wonderful, Ansel Adams-ish pictures. I can't wait to hear all about it!

sarah said...

Have a ball! Sounds like a lot of fun. I have never been, but hear Yosemite is just beautiful.

Nancy said...

Yeah! A little getaway and a birthday! Such fun.

I've never been to Yosemite. Looks gorgeous. And hiking? It is my all time favorite thing to do on vacation. Just ask my girls...they hate it. Now they do but at some point, I'm sure they'll have fond memories of it (fingers crossed). Enjoy!

Unknown said...

MIchelle, you're going to LOVE it. I've stayed in these same cabins when I snow skied at Badger Pass on year. I've also stayed at the Wawona Hotel which is near the south gate of Yosemite and done a lot of biking (rentals are on the premises). If you can swing it, dinner at the Ahwanhee is a once in a lifetime experience. Note that men must have a jacket (not sure about a tie) and I know I wore a skirt, just not sure if it is required. It's amazing to dine with Yosemite falls right outside the window - 30 foot window that is!

We are headed to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in a week and a half. Can't wait!

May you be blessed on your trip!