Cali Vacay Slideshow {part 2 - Yosemite}

Continuing on with my little slideshow with a glimpse into our big California vacation...

After leaving Oxnard, we made our way up to Yosemite about three or four hours away. On the way there, we made a stop at Sequoia National Park to see the redwoods and sequoia trees. The boys knew way more than me about all of it!

(Prepare yourself of lots of pictures of my family with trees...)

The smells here were amazing!

According to my boys and the sign, General Sherman is the biggest living thing in the world! It was cool to be able to see it (him?) in person.

After leaving Sequoia and before getting to the next house, we repeated the same grocery run with five children at dinner time that we had done just a few days before and which had been just as unpleasant *shudder*. But, eating is important and all. So we stocked up on groceries for the next few days and got to the next rental after sundown. 

The place we stayed was just outside Yosemite and such peaceful and relaxing bit of space.

I spent much of the next day right here. It was glorious.

And we celebrated Luke's feast day a day later with some palette cookies for dessert :)

The next morning was wet and chilly so we obviously had to make use of the fireplace. We don't have one in our house and miss it SO much so we made sure to get lots of use out of this one.

Despite the weather and seeing that it was going to clear up, we decided to head in to Yosemite and visit a few places. Our first stop was Bridal Veil Falls.

It was chilly and wet but that didn't stop the husband and boys from climbing past all the danger signs to the bottom of the falls while Ben and I waited and I tried not to think about how they manage to rescue people.

And then the sun came out and we stopped for picnic lunch with just a little bit of a view.

Then onto Yosemite Falls. All around are warnings about climbing the rocks at your own risk with horror stories attached. So naturally, the husband and all four older boys again decided to climb right up to the bottom while I stayed with Ben and talked yet again with our guardian angels.

(John Paul is in that little yellow circle.)

The next day we headed back for more Yosemite...this time for a bigger hike up to Vernal Falls.

The hike seemed pretty tame at first. Spectacular views, a pleasant (yet simultaneously humbling) amount of exercise, clean air, family friendly path...

And then things got REAL. Like steep drop offs, huge steps, slopes to pulverize your hamstrings real. But I was doing great and so were the kids. It was hard but good, I told myself. (As in literally I was huff-speaking to myself "I can do hard things" as I gasped up each endless step and alternated that with the guardian angel prayer.)

And then we got to the last fifty or so feet. And I so wish I had taken a picture to show you what it was like but there was no way. Because I froze. The last fifty feet the path narrows to about 2 feet - a wall of rock on one side and a drop of about 100 feet on the other. There's a waist high rickety fence along the edge but STILL. I full blown panicked. I have a wicked fear of heights and it was absolutely terrifying. I plastered my back against the wall and couldn't move and tried to stop the sobbing. Things were spinning and dizzy and I literally felt paralyzed. Meanwhile other hikers are going around me, a few offering encouragement and help for me or the kids (RIGHT. KIDS. FIVE OF MY MORE PRECIOUS THAN ANYTHING CHILDREN UP THERE WITH ME. Thankfully, none of them were as affected as me, though a couple told me it was scary after the fact.). It was humbling and embarrassing and terrifying. It was probably a good 2-3 minutes of this, though it felt like forever, before I was able to inch myself along the path to reach the top. Which, of course, was glorious. Not that I would let myself or anyone in the family get close enough to the edge to take any great pictures for you. You'll have to take my word.

If it's any reference, after the hike my husband's FitBit registered 6 miles, 21,000 steps, and 155 flights of stairs! We climbed up 1500 feet in elevation.

You can kinda get a feel for the height here? Maybe?

Survival celebration picture. Once I could breathe again.

We, um, decided to take a different, much longer route down. It was still super hard but didn't have the crazy drop offs or steepness the other did.

It really was absolutely stunning. The park is clean, the views spectacular, and I was really proud of all of us for making it the whole way with good attitudes. 

Then it was home again.

After Sunday Mass the next morning he really wanted to get his picture in front of the church named after his middle namesake.

We headed back quickly to Yosemite after morning Mass but didn't stay long. We found a spot for a picnic lunch and then decided we all needed to head back and have a more relaxing day at the house before packing up to leave early Monday.

Not before some creek play, though.

This was where Ben slept. He claimed it as his "funny bed" the first time he went in the room and it worked really well! It was in our bedroom so easy to get to him when he woke during the night and no waking of the brothers.

And we managed some runny (because mom forgot an ingredient) yet still delicious papal creme cake for my oldest's feast day. Exquisite decorating a la him...

Early next morning we headed out to San Francisco for a very brief visit before our red eye flight back home.

Stopped at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi for Mass. It was nice but almost empty!

And yet another picnic lunch from the cooler, this time a crazy random collection of all the food we needed to use up before leaving...

We visited a little playground quickly and then headed to the hotel shortly after. After a lovely *cough*sarcasm*cough* night at the airport hotel, we shuttle bussed our way to the San Fran airport at 3:30 a.m. to catch the planes back home. Flights were all on time and great (Southwest is really the best.) and we made it back home that evening. It was a great trip. Yes, traveling with kids can be hard, overwhelming, and you're still on duty as parent 24/7. But the making of memories, the time remembering how much I like these people, the chance to just be with and enjoy each other, the break from the outside obligations and interruptions? All so worth it. I'm already ready to do it again.


  1. It sounds like a wonderful trip! The pictures are stunning! I totally would have frozen, too. I love to hike, but I don't do well on narrow paths with steep drops along the sides. I am glad that you were able to overcome your fear and continue!

  2. Looks like a great trip! So glad you were able to make it happen.


Thank you for visiting and reading! I love hearing from readers so if a comment box on a post is turned off, it's because Blogger is terrible about filtering spam. If you'd like to send me a message, please use my contact page. Thank you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.