We've been blessed with some really amazing friends (who apparently enjoy our company), so when we were invited to crash at a Yosemite cabin this last weekend, we couldn't turn down the opportunity! Continuing the amazing friend theme, we managed to outfit Max entirely in LL Bean and REI, thanks to hand-me-downs and loaners! LOL Jamie's old snowboard pants and boots fit still fit him, and I had some cozy pants and planned to just not fall down (ever!) so I wouldn't get too wet.
We left on Saturday afternoon after Jamie got off work, and made great time; almost exactly four hours from door to door, so we arrived just after 7. We missed the thrill of driving into the Valley, but it was still there in the morning, so it's not like we're going to complain! (Thanks to perfect timing, I had Monday off as well, since it's dead slow right now, so we still got a full weekend in, in spite of Jamie's having to work on Saturday)
We got up and out early on Sunday morning, and after breakfast with the gang, decided to head to Bridal Veil Falls… Paul joined us, Perrie and Sarah headed out snowboarding, and the rest decided to hike the four miles from the cabin to meet us at the Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls has a pretty special meaning to Jamie and I; we were last in Yosemite in March of 2003, with a big group of friends. He and I had just reconnected the previous December, and it was on that weekend trip that I realized that my old high school crush was back in full force. We spent a day of that weekend exploring the Falls and the surrounding area, and even have a photo to prove it!
I thought it would be fun to go take that same picture this trip, but with Max too! So we have now decided that this is our official Yosemite Trip Tradition (although we have also decided that our next trip needs to be sooner than 8 years from now!)
Random product review: YakTrax
These things are awesome! Rob had an extra pair he let me borrow, so my Chuck Taylors turned *voila!* into excellent snow shoes! I've always wondered how tire chains on cars can be so great, but now I have my answer! We were able to walk (almost speed walk!) right up the icy trails around the Falls (All that mist makes for a LOT of ice!) and they were absolutely incredible in how secure I felt when wearing them!
We got tired of waiting for the hiking group (4 miles in the know with a couple of shutterbugs takes a LOOOONG time!) so we headed back towards the cabin. We happened to run into the wayward hikers on the road (Not literally; they were walking, we passed them and then pulled over. No one was injured, I promise!)
We decided to head over to the Awahnee Hotel just to take a look around (Hey! It looks just like the Grand Californian at Disneyland! Weird!) and to take some time to warm up a bit by the fire. We contemplated grabbing a snack while we were there, but one look at a menu of $22 sandwiches and $7 hot dogs (Hey! Just like at Disneyland! LOL) changed our minds pretty quick! We decided to head back to the cabin, with a stop at the general store for provisions (Diet Coke and lunch meat, mostly) and then took the scenic route back (we did NOT get lost; we were exploring!), pulling over from time to time to take some photos.
It's hard, feeling like I can't adequately capture the beauty of the park… it's hard to show the sheer vastness of it; of these solid expanses of granite, the sound of the waterfalls and the occasionally rattle of rocks and snow shifting and falling. The smell of the meadow as the mist comes off it in the morning, the sun, which you can't yet see, but it illuminates the highest points above you in the most amazing golden-pink light. I can only imagine what kind of images Ansel Adams could have captured if he'd had access to some of the equipment we have now, and I'm not even talking digital! Just color. It's impossible to get the full spectrum of the colors; it's like you feel the color down into your very being… it's as much a part of the experience as the cold and the size and the overall beauty.
So I can't get it all, but I did get a little bit…
As always, proof of a successful adventure:
We were up and out early on Monday morning; we were concerned about long-weekend traffic, so we were home by 2pm, in time for Max to take a nap and Jamie and I to be lazy for a bit before heading back to work on Tuesday. We'd like to make a snow trip an annual tradition; Max loved it, and we had a great time too… now the question is, back to Yosemite next year, or find somewhere else?
If you'd like to see more pictures, you can check out my set of Flickr by clicking here.