(use the arrow in the upper right hand corner to make the pictures full screen, then scroll thru them)

KATIE: Hey everybody! Omg. I’m completely exhausted after our long hike through Merced Grove. It was truly the hardest hike I’ve ever been on, but it was worth it. We saw dozens of huge Sequoia trees. Some were like, 2 times as wide as our family. It was very soothing seeing the waterfalls after the hike. They were absolutely, well I can’t say breath-taking because that’s what made me catch mine. It was very calm and peaceful. Other than that, we saw the biggest rock formation ever at Yosemite Valley. It was like a solid rock mountain. We even drove threw solid rock tunnels. I’ll just say there’s lots and lots of trees, rocks and water.
SHARON: This trip has been great for our family in more ways than one. Our kids have done better than I ever dreamed they would. Hardly any complaining, fighting or asking , “are we there yet?” And on this trip, who wouldn’t ask that question. Finally, today, Anthony got just a little bit homesick. I guess everything is so different from home that it’s just a lot for one little guy to take.
Talking about different, when you get to Yosemite Valley, you almost feel like you were just sat down on another planet. You have to blink to make sure what you are seeing is real. There are sheer rock walls that stand thousands of feet straight up, and huge trees, and huge waterfalls. Everywhere you look, people are looking straight up. I bet a chiropractor would make a killing here, treating strained necks. And probably stained legs and feet too. There is a lot of hiking and walking to do around here.
We took a 3 mile round trip hike down a mountain to see some really big sequoias and we had a really tough time making the trip. Anthony said his “little legs were strained“. Mine were too, and my feet, and my lungs, and my entire body. But it was worth it and we felt like we had accomplished something.
We got a zillion pictures, but Mark said he was disappointed in them. I think it was because there is just no way to get what you’re seeing in a picture. It’s all truly amazing. This place is so huge, you couldn’t see every bit of it in a lifetime. And some locations are only for folks who are fit enough to hike mountains for days. You can still see remnants of millions old glaciers in remote areas of the park. There were some climbers climbing one part of a rock cliff and to put the size into perspective, you couldn’t really see them with the naked eye. Some people were there observing them with astronomical quality telescopes. We could barely see them with our binoculars, but they are really good binoculars.
Everyone should try to see this at least once in a lifetime. I think Yosemite is my favorite place so far. It’s not a place for the faint of heart, though. Just traveling the roads to get here is scary. At least for me. I can’t wait to see if anything can top this. Everyone take care at home and we’ll see you soon!
ANTHONY: Today we went on a hike. It was LLLOOONNNGGG!!!! At first the trail was flat. Then we went past a gate and it was all down hill from there, literally. But to the rest of the family it was worth the walk, but not for me. We saw BIG Sequoia trees. We went back up and it was a little better. When I saw the gate, it was like a checkpoint in an arcade race game. Then when we got there, it felt like I had went through a marathon. The mountains and the rivers were really big and I learned of the Spirit of Yosemite, which is “change”, from the filmstrip we saw. We got back to the campground and took a shower because I slid, sat and laid on dirt. Boy, am I wanting to go to bed. Good night, folks.
Mark: Well folks, this family has spoken the truth. The hike was grueling but worth every torn and strained ligament to stand beside a 2000 year old tree. Do you know what it feels like when you visit with someone older but wiser? They tell you stories, you absorb them..you may never have met them, but you admire them for living the life and telling you about it. That is what it is like standing next to a 2000 year old tree. They’ve lived it, endured it, and they are beautiful despite it all. They stand proud and represent status. Two thousand years old. WOW….personally, I felt absolute privileged to touch them. (insert tree hugger here I guess. LOL)

Then, off to the valley. Well, the pictures just can’t do them justice. There is no way to. It is overwhelming to be there. It’s like standing in a postcard….everwhere. We ate lunch outside and stared up at a waterfall 1000’s of feet above us. Doing what it had for a million years. Red winged black birds and squirrels fat from french fries skattered around our feet. We met a couple from Romania that was very nice. We sat there and saw people in Indian dress, some others were speaking Asian, some were speaking Russian. Some had on clothes like us, some had on much tighter clothes. It’s easy to meet people and sometimes the language barrier struggles past “where ya’ll from”, but nice firm handshakes and eye to eye contact with a smile will overcome anything. That’s just being human and understanding that you may not speak like them, but you appreciate them enough to shake their hand. You both know you’ll never see each other again, but for a moment, you met their lives on a trip to Yosemite or wherever you travels intersected with theirs.
But…everyone here, no matter where you are from, was in awe of the surroundings, we all had that in common. No matter what language you speak, jaw-dropping awe is universal. Sometimes, you just look at a bystander and shake your head and both of you understand that you are in an awesome presence. The Romanian guy and I had a few hurdles to overcome in language, but that was fine. His name was Chris.

One guy from Ohio was standing beside me and we were taking pictures on a bridge. All of a sudden, he looked at me and said, “Ain’t life precious?” After I realized he wasn’t going to toss me over the bridge, haha, we had a good conversation about the vastness of this place here.
Sharon mentioned the rock climbers. The guy in the picture, his name is Bill and he is from California. He volunteered to let us look thru his telescope and was pointing out the climbers to Sharon. (the kids were recovering from the hike and stayed in the truck). We took a picture through the telescope lens, that is what that odd picture is. They come here to star gaze and watch the climbers up the cliffs.
Some of you may remember that guy that painted what he called the “happy trees” on PBS. Surely, he came here for inspiration. Because, today, my family and I sat amongst the happy trees in his magical paintings.
Tomorrow we head for Lake Tahoe…
Gnite folks,
Mark…dreaming of the happy trees…

Don’t forget to follow the link at the top of this blog to see the slideshow….