Monday, April 03, 2006

Yo Semite!
Woo Hoo! What a wonder-filled trip that was!
We so got soaked!
As we arrived in the park, we noticed what the kids thought was a wolf. I think it was a coyote. I'll post a pic when I get my camera back. But, the creature was sniffing out the campsites near us. The kids' eyes were as big as saucers, but they didn't freak out. The animal was only a carlength away from us to begin with and stayed within 50 yards for about 45 minutes before heading off into the woods.
The boys set up the tent and I began preparing dinner. Campfires couldn't be lit until 5pm, so I made dinner on the campstove. Three-grain pancakes and homemade fruit compote was our hearty dinner that night. Was really good!
Derek got the fire going just in time to see the sun set. We sat around it, as the rain began to drizzle. We all threw on ponchos and sang devo songs for a while. Soon, we invited our neighbor Richard to join us. He was a dentist from L.A. A Korean-American.
We enjoyed mint hot chocolate from Trader Joe's and s'mores roasted on green sticks. Man, it was good! The kids cuddled with us before we headed off to the tent.
Derek had set up the tent and it looked good. But, in a matter of an hour it began to gather water and leak from a seam... right above me! I got Derek up and asked him to throw the water off... and told him we'd either have to fix the tent, or do that every half hour. He was pooped. He opted for every half hour.
I checked on the kids, they were dry and toasty. I was relieved. But, an hour later, I was freezing despite my best efforts to stay dry. The rain pattering the tent grew faint and then stopped. Derek thought it stopped raining, but judging by my steamy breath I knew it had started snowing. Derek thought "nawwwww...." and peeked outside. Sure enough. The rain had frozen over and it was snowing. If it had snowed to start out with, I wouldn't have been wet... but it was too late. I began shivering uncontrollably, and promptly changed clothes. Derek and I looked at ways to join the kids on the dry side of the tent, but it was full. We thought about just leaving them in their toastiness, but I was worried that they'd wake and find us missing and freak out. So, the poor darlings were wakened in the middle of the night to gather their blankets, pillows and haul it all back to the van. We had abandoned ship.
So, in the dark of the night, we passed our still glowing firepit and quickly made our way to the car. Derek had started the van, warming it for us. We were so relieved to see those seats that had numbed our bottoms hours before. I got the kids all set up with dry blankets, removed wet clothing and put on dry socks. Kids had to go potty - which was easier for the boys than the girl.
After an hour or so of fidgeting we all crashed in our van. Periodically Derek would turn on the van and heat us up because he hadn't quite warmed to the core yet. I was out. Later I woke to find the city-slicker under TWO sleeping bags. He'd finally found the heat he needed. I, on the other hand needed only to rely on my Eskimo fat layer to keep me toasty!
About 6:40 AM, Derek woke me up to look up the side of the mountain. The sun was up and shining on the peak of the nearest cliff. The snow had rested in it's cracks and crevasses and the sun shone brilliantly off of it. The sky was blue and the ground all around was white. It was BEAUTIFUL! I said "Wow, babe - that's gorgeous", and promptly returned to my exhausted slumber. A few hours later, I hear the kids whisper with excitement. The van was covered in snow.
The sun had finally reached us in the valley. And, we were ready to come out of our van-turned-tent. I made my way through the snow back to the tent to find it covered in ice. The fire was out. The picnic tables were covered in ice and snow. I set up the campstove and began preparing breakfast.
As the sun started warming the morning air, the trees began their assault on me. We had set up camp under large trees thinking it would keep us sheltered from the elements. Uh... no. As the warm sun melted the ice on the trees, the trees dropped their slushballs right on top of me! (I guess I'm a precipitation magnet!) I kept cooking depsite the air assault. The kids were wise enough to figure this one out and played in the clearing. So, as I was frying breakfast potatoes, I'd be pelted with miniature snowballs. Every once in a while one would land in the frying pan and sizzle. I was passive about it. Whatever. Snow is water, right?
We ate our hearty breakfast of potatoes, onions and spam. And, wouldn't you know it, but lunch would soon need to be on it's way. So, I started that. Derek broke camp rules and started a campfire at 9:30am. He did it for the kids' sake. They were freezing. Especially Zion who couldn't keep his little hands warm for soaked gloves. I warmed water for him and had him do up the dishes. (Clever,eh?!)
The day was gorgeous. The peaks we had seen and been impressed with the day before were now covered in snow. Beautiful! I took the same pictures all over again!
We only stayed for a day, but vowed to return! This time, in the clearing.

1 comment:

Niki said...

Remind me never to plan a camping trip with you guys!;) My idea of roughing it is staying at a motel without a pool.

The pancakes and fruit compote sounded good though.

Can't wait to see the pictures!