Geo: 37.7163, -119.665
I woke up the next morning around our usual time in the 7 o'clock hour. Arya sleeps like clockwork- in bed at night about 6pm and up by 8am at the latest. Even on vacation. First things first, I made my coffee. They had a coffee pot but I stuck to my Via since it was faster. I walked outside on the icy porch with my mug- the sun was coming out and it was a beautiful day. =D Lucky us- earlier in the week it was snow storming. We all ate breakfast and then packed up in the car for a day trip to Yosemite Valley.
As we pulled up to the park entrance (only about fifteen minutes up the road) we saw people putting chains on their tires already. Looks like chain control was in effect. Having been to the Sierras enough times over the years, I already anticipated this. And my smart husband made sure our new car (Ford Flex) had all wheel drive. So while we weren't required to use our chains that day, we still had to carry chains by law. We pulled ahead of everyone else working to get their chains on, and drove
right on through after paying our entrance fees. My husband is a good driver, and he comfortably drove the ice and snow highway. As we rose higher in elevation, finally hitting about 6,000ft at Crane Flat, the ground was literally just packed snow. It took twice as long to get to the Valley since we could only go a max of 25mph but it was beautiful. None of us minded. We had hoped Arya would sleep on the drive but she didn't. =( Which made for a cranky baby. We stopped at various viewing points getting our usual beautiful shots of Yosemite. Seriously, though- every time I come, I basically stop at the same places and take the same photos. I can't help it. There's something nostalgic about it and I love doing it every time.
We visited Inspiration Point and then walked around the Swinging Bridge picnic area. There were snowmen all over the Valley but the coolest sculpture was an igloo. Someone built an IGLOO. Of course we took a billion pictures of it with our grumpy daughter! After that, we ate our sandwich lunch. We had packed all our food for the trip and brought it up with
us to save money this time. There isn't too much open in the winter anyway (at least not that's cheap and still tasty). We headed towards the Village Store (one our favorite stops- they always have neat stuff to buy), and of course that's when Arya finally passed out. So we took turns sitting in the car while she slept while the other wandered around the Village Store. I took the second turn, bought myself a t-shirt and then hunted down coffee. I usually have an afternoon cup and it was about that time. There's a cafe near the village store that was able to supply basic coffee needs. =)
Arya was awake by the time I got back so we headed towards Yosemite Falls. Having a toddler, we're restricted to easier walks rather than hikes these days. Hopefully in a couple years we'll be able to do actual hikes with her. We parked and did our loop walk to and from Lower Yosemite Falls. We even saw monks! By then it was mid-afternoon, and time to start heading back. The sky was already overcast again and we didn't want to get hit with a snowstorm on the drive. However, we
made one last stop at Crane Flat (halfway back to our yurt). The park always plows the main road into the campground and over to a makeshift snow play area. It's where we'd always go sledding when I was growing up, and it's still the go-to stop. There were a few other families there already, sledding on the same hill I did as a child. I already knew how this was going to go. We'd ride down a hill with Arya screaming her head off the whole way. Fortunately, there was a small hill for us to try. We took turns and Arya was very unhappy about the ride. So, then we took turns holding Arya while the other went down the big hill on the sled. Hella fun! Even as an adult.
We got back to the yurt and played with Arya until she was tired enough for bed. Then, same as the night before, we cooked dinner, drank wine and watched our movies.
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