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Jaden has never been to Yosemite National Park. We traveled to National Forests together and even did a small day hike in Sequoia National Park when he was almost 3 years old. It had been awhile since he last set foot in the higher elevations among the pines. It was time to change that and see how we would react to a trip to Yosemite.
The adventure started on Friday, June 30, and we left at 8 AM to get there. According to our directions, it would take approximately 2.5 hours till we arrived assuming we would not stop. The plan was not to stop, but that didn’t work out. I hear a small voice pipe up from the back seat, “dad, my stomach hurts.”
Doing my best to look back and see what was the matter, he was reading a book while driving up the curvy roads. I pulled over, rolled down windows, and asked how he was doing. He said it felt a little better, but a couple moments later the ailment to his stomach was all over him. It took about 20 minutes to clean him and the seat up. Thankfully the stash of napkins and lots of extra water did the trick. I placed him back in his car seat and put his outer garments up to dry the rest of the way. I had the windows down the rest of the way and made sure he was looking forward.
The tunnel leading into Yosemite Valley was an exciting introduction to Yosemite for Jaden. I told him we were actually driving through the mountain. He thought about it and it reminded him of a Dinosaur Train episode where they go to the center of the earth. He said, “we are driving through the Earth?” I nodded which only made his smile bigger. Once past the tunnel and viewing area, our first stop was Bridalveil Falls.
We waited 10 minutes to get a parking spot at Bridalveil Falls. There were so many people walking around. Once we did get a spot, I put the outer garments back on and off we went. He was excited to be out of the car and in the mountains. We made our way up, felt the mist land on us, and then made our way back down. I snapped a few shots of us along the way of course.
Jaden wanted to go across the bridges, so we made a small detour on the way back down. Once at the car and a snack in hand, we left and proceeded to Yosemite Falls.
Parking once again was the biggest challenge. I recalled my first visit was on a bicycle and it sure would have been nice to ride one around. However, Jaden will need to be older for that one. Anyway, we finally found a parking spot about half a mile west of Yosemite Falls. Not far at all and the walk together was pleasant. He found some pine cones along the way and still remembered finding them a few years back. Impressive.
Yosemite Falls was cranking along when we arrived at the trail. As usual, crowds of people on foot or bicycle where there to enjoy the views. Both of us were hungry at this point and surprising we found a bench off to the right of the main path that was much quieter. It made it a lot easier for Jaden to eat his food.
Lunch was not rushed and we did enjoy a relaxing lunch. A doe walked by in the distance, which Jaden noticed first. Soon lunch was consumed and our trek continued on towards the falls. A large grey squirrel was near the trail and Jaden was fascinated by it. We also found the doe again and much closer this time. Pressing on we arrived at the famous Yosemite Falls with other tourists too.
It was windy because of all the water coming down. I tightened the strap on our hats and took a photo of Jaden by the falls. We continued around the loop and Jaden found “thinking rocks” where he wanted his picture taken. The causeways were a nice change along the trail too. Jaden really enjoyed crossing all the long “bridges” on our way back to the beginning of the trail.
The water in the streams were crystal clear. You could see all the details below and even fish. Looking higher up on the banks you could also see the flooding that happened this year with all the rain and snow our state received. It was quite impressive what logs were moved and jammed in places.
Now it was time to make our way home and back for dinner. The drive out was a good one. No car sickness this time and Jaden actually snoozed for 30 minutes just past the tunnel. We did make one final stop before arriving home and that was at Riemer’s Ice Cream and Chocolates store for some homemade goodness.
I picked out banana nut and Jaden went for the chocolate. Once seated I snapped a selfie of us enjoying our treat. It was a great trip and Jaden wanted to “climb more mountains” and “go on more hikes” that day. In fact he wanted to camp for “100 days” as he put it. A great success in getting him excited about being outdoors and in the mountains.