No Sleep ‘Til Walnut Creek

Our camping adventure to Yosemite was great fun! The highlights were as follows:

  • Spending time with the family that didn’t involve the standard comforts of our day to day.
  • The challenge of camping in tents, cooking our outdoors, and trying to keep warm as the temps really dropped.
  • Connecting with our fellow co-campers (parents and kids from Maya’s Girl Scout troop).
  • A tough hike to the top of Vernal falls. 
  • Food, drinks, and great conversations by the fire the night after the hike.

We couldn’t find our digital camera, so we bought a film camera at the store but haven’t gotten the film developed yet.  But I found some pictures of Vernal falls off of Google images that will have to do for now.

The picture on the left is Vernal falls in the spring, and the pic on the right is more like what the falls where like when we were there.  The problem with these pictures is that it doesn’t capture how high this water fall is.  According to the park’s website, it’s a 317 foot drop.  When you’re faced with a drop of that depth, you don’t want to do this:

Last year three people fell to their deaths in Yosemite from taking risks like this.  The other risk is swimming upstream from a waterfall where the water looks calm, but is anything but during the spring run off.

At the top of Vernal falls is Emerald Pool — which is very pretty.  There’s a natural water slide between a small water fall and the pond that was not as swollen or flowing as fast  you see in this picture. 

In fact, there was a place where the water pooled in a semi-enclosed space on the rock slide.   It was there that the girls in the troop decided this was a great place to get rid of their pants and run around in just their underware and t-shirts.  Did I tell  you the water was cold?  I took my shoes off and put my feet in the water and lost a good amount of feeling very quickly. But kids being kids, they didn’t really care how cold it was.  After all, they just climbed about 1000 feet and were looking for some cool relief. Some were threatening to jump into the pool (and remember, this was semi-enclosed pool, so no real danger of them getting swept into what little gushing water was on the slide).  So I offered a cash prize to the first kid who totally submerged herself in the water.  While many in the group were thinking about it, one kid tossed her t-shirt, walked into the knee-deep water and went right in! She ran right out and her parents were there with a sweater to warm her up.  She got $15 and a good story to tell! However, I got a bit of grief from her parents.  They weren’t so worried about her jumping into the water, but they were concerned that she would do a “dare for cash” so quickly.  Here’s a snapshot of our post-dunk conversation:

Me:  Um, sorry but I didn’t think any of the girls would take the bait.

Mom: I have visions of my daughter in college drinking too much booze for $50.

Me: Again, sorry about that.  I’m a bad person.

Mom:  No, it’s okay.  It just I learned something about my daughter that I didn’t know before. 

Me: I still feel bad…

Mom:  Don’t worry about it.  She has your fifteen bucks!


By far, the worst part of camping at Yosemite is the bears.  They are out in full force this time of the year looking for food.  The campsites have “bear boxes” where you put anything that has a strong odor (including soap) inside them and they lock.  Well, night after night, the bears would come into our site to look for goodies.  What happens when a bear comes into your site? You’re supposed to make a lot of noise to scare it off. The park rangers set off explosives that sounds like fireworks, but campers have to resort to using their voices, banging on pots and pans, or setting off their car alarms.  The problem is that bears, like the sandpeople in Star Wars, scare easily, but they usually come back. 

The last night we were there, a bear broke into the bear locker next to our campsite and was chowing on the food it found.  A car alarm and some guy yelling “Git! Git! Get outta here!” scared the bear off, but it came back 3 more times. And each time, the bear was greeted with yelling and car alarms. Good christ what an endless night. 

When we finally got home, we were just dopey tired….I think we slept about 12 hours.

And if you’ve read this far, you’re probably ready for a nap, too!

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