We have a hard time planning vacations in advance. For one D’s job can be so erratic that it’s tough to make a reservation that won’t cost us more in cancelation or changing fees. So, when our friend offered up her reserved days in Yosemite at the end of April we took them!
I had never been before. D went decades ago. We love nature so this was going to be a treat. Well…turns out the weather was cold, wet and snowy. I caught a cold right before leaving. The drive going in was winding with dense fog and it kept going up and down 1-2,000 feet. With my clogged sinuses I ended up with a headache for 3 days.
I had no idea about the bear issue either! No one has ever died from a bear attack in Yosemite but they are constantly in the camps at night looking for junk food. Upon registering they tell you you have to take out the child seats because bears can smell the residual food on them! They show videos of bears tearing cars to pieces to get food! I don’t know of any family car that doesn’t have residual food in every nook and cranny, forget about the car seat!!! OMG this freaked me out! My Volvo! I love my Volvo.
Well, we didn’t see a bear the entire time we were there. Thank God! P wanted to see one very badly. I kept telling her they aren’t like Winnie the Pooh. They want more than a honey pot. We did get to see deer, squirrels, and many birds. That was lovely.
We also went very unprepared. D didn’t think we needed to take the jogger. Because of the forecasted rain we didn’t take bikes. I thought the trails were going to be more like Big Sur where they’re narrow and steep so hiking with just P is easier. Yosemite is made for bikes, joggers, strollers, anything with wheels. There are many paved paths and even more on flat trails. All of the major sites we saw had paved paths leading almost right to them. Every hike of ours turned into a 25lb weight workout for both D and myself when we put P on our shoulders.
Both D and I learned something valuable on this trip. Vacations with a 2 year old aren’t about the destinations but the journeys. P wasn’t interested in seeing Mirror Lake or Bridalveil Falls. She was happy playing with a rock or pine needles right outside our cabin. She was happiest jumping in puddles or playing with her dinosaurs in front of the registration office. D was frustrated by this because he wanted to show P the amazing views. Being a photographer he wanted to share part of his passion with her. He wanted to start opening her eyes to the perspective of Ansel Adams.
We talked about this at great length over our trip and upon our return. Based on my experience with P, and what I’ve exposed her to since birth, I believe showing her all the great views are important to her development. However, it’s also important to let her explore the world at her pace.
I’m not sure if’ we’ll return there anytime soon. It was way too crowed for me. I kind of felt like we were at a Disney theme park pretending to be in nature. I went for an early morning run one day. Upon returning to our cabin, I walked past the tented areas and saw a thick haze hanging overhead. It looked like LA’s haze. Ugh, I wanted to get away from EXACTLY that. And, I was told it gets even more crowded during the summer months when the weather is beautiful!
The food was also horrible. Weeks later I’m still feeling stiff joints…which is what happens when I eat bad food. I feel like a rusty bike. This sounds odd but it’s what I’ve come to experience in my body over decades of sporadic bad eating. The one place that had pretty good food was the Ahwahnee Hotel, but it wasn’t cheap. We ended up walking over there for most meals.
There are two other places on the planet I absolutely love to go spend alone time in nature. I won’t mention them because I don’t want them to turn into a world known National Park. But their natural beauty and the stillness and quiet found in these locations is what I crave.
But P did have a great time. She cried when we left and when we got back home. On the drive up there she started this chant “1-2-3-4 Yosemiteeeee!”. Despite all my complaining, I actually would go back because she loved it so much. And I felt this trip did a lot of stimulating of her brain. In retrospect i realized this trip prompted her to get fully potty trained.