Yosemite with the Family

Yosemite National Park.  My parents are adamant about traveling over the summers (my mom is a teacher as well.  Where else do you think I got my love for summer travel from?).  Now my parents typical vacation and my typical vacation vary a bit as my mom has never been outside of North America.  But when it comes to North America, especially United States National Parks, my parents go big.  The last vacation I took with them and my brother (my sister wasn’t able to go) was in 2006 to Yosemite National Park in California.

Yosemite Climbing SchoolYosemite Rock Climbing School which provided a great intermediate level class called Crack Climbing.  The goal was to teach us how to jam our hands in between the cracks to find climbing holds.  Our instructor’s hands were all jacked up from climbing, especially his knuckles.  Now, back when I was in grad school I worked at the Challenge Course/Ropes Course at my university.  Working on the high ropes course gave me confidence in climbing that I didn’t earn from my once a year rock climbing post mission trips in high school.  So even though I wasn’t (and still not) a hard core climbing, they said if I know how to put on a harness, I could be in the intermediate class.  It was a great time spent climbing with just three other people, so you get tons of instructional time.  I highly recommend it!

Glacier Point. One of the first things we did after arriving in Yosemite was drive to Glacier Point.  The view from Glacier Point allows you to see Half Dome (that half rock looking thing) and all of the rest of the Valley.  The overlooked area is paved, so it’s an easy spot for anyone to get to.  And it’s pretty much one of the most legit viewpoints that I’ve ever seen in my life.

Yosemite

Yosemite

My dad is such a hiking baller.  He is crazy obsessed with National Parks and long, adventuresome hikes.  At this moment, I’m pretty sure that he is scooping out what area he can hike up/down/around in Yosemite.

Yosemite

The family at Glacier Point circa 2006.

Yosemite

Sentinel Dome.  Glacier Point Road provides access to the Sentinel Dome trail which was a pretty easy hike.  The trail wasn’t a big deal until we had to go straight up the snow covered dome.  The dome itself was a bit tricky to navigate due to the slippery snow and the lack of things to hold on to.  People (including my brother) were sliding back down it on their butt.  My brother was doing this primarily because he was a Florida boy who had a chance to play in the snow, even if that meant wet shorts at the end.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite

My mom is slightly obsessed with Park Rangers.  She chatted it up with these guys the entire time that my dad, brother, and I were hiking through the dangerous snow on Sentinel Dome (that she didn’t want to wipe out on). Yes, this is somewhat of a creeper picture since the rangers didn’t know they were being featured, but just look at that excitement on my mother’s face!  My parents have been back to Yosemite more recently and my mom swears that she ran into the Ranger on the right again on this same hike.  I wasn’t there so I can’t verify the validity of this claim, but it certainly made her happy to think they met again!

Yosemite

Yosemite Lower Falls

Yosemite Lower Falls
YosemiteThis Park Ranger, Shelton Johnson, is famous for his Buffalo Soldier uniform and his tours around Yosemite Valley.  He is all over tv – Travel Channel, PBS, and even Oprah!  Apparently, my family is also on one of these shows.  I don’t remember this, but my mom says there was a film crew taping while we were on this tour through Yosemite Valley.  And now that show is being replayed over and over again on the Travel Channel and you get a prime shot of my family listening intently to the tour… or so we’ve been told by friends.  None of the family has seen it yet, but it’s out there.  Be sure to let me know if you see us on the Travel Channel’s National Park show!  Besides my families debut with this guy, I also saw Park Ranger Shelton on Oprah.  He was encouraging more African Americans to get out into nature and the great outdoors.  Oprah and Gail ended up going camping in Yosemite because of this guy.  I’d say that’s an accomplishment.  This last family vacay was certainly unforgettable from the get views, Ranger talks, to the epic rock climbing.
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