Adventures in Yosemite

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A little while back, my brother and Nerissa invited us to join them on a camping trip to Yosemite. Flights were reasonable, so we figured it would be fun. (Considering that Nerissa had made the campground reservations back in February, the odds of us having this opportunity were very low.) T and I had gone to Yosemite back in 2000, but had pretty much stayed in the valley the whole time. This time we’d be camping in Tuolomne Meadows, up in the high country and I was excited to see a different part of the park.

We flew in the night before and had a fantastic dinner in Oakland before heading back to Erik & Nerissa’s place. The next morning, we completed some last little errands and set about getting the truly impressive amount of stuff into Erik’s Element. Luckily, T & Nerissa were up to the job:

Y14T-packIt’s about a 4.5 hour drive, (plus a quick In-N-Out Burger lunch stop.) As we got closer, we just had to get out to stretch our legs and admire the amazing scenery:

Y14-view Y14-OlmsteadThe scale of Yosemite is hard to describe. Consider that my brother is 6’8″:

Y14-viewEN Y14-viewTrock Y14-viewN Y14-viewTtreeAnd the giant granite fields are insane:

Y14-Olmstead2Finally, the demands of our full bladders drove us on to the campsite. We got checked in and set up our camp. Erik made fun of T’s and my luxurious method of camping, but it was pretty obvious that he was just jealous of our sweet set-up. 😉

Y14-tentPlus, it’s not like they hadn’t brought some camping fanciness of their own:

Y14-NerissaHammockI finished setting up camp while T, Erik & Nerissa went on a firewood run. Somehow T got the supervisory role…

Y14-WoodGatheringYosemite has very strict rules about food/trash to keep the camp from attracting the local bear population. Each campsite has a bear box where all food/toiletries/anything scented needs to live. Dishwater has to be flushed down the toilet and this is what the trash cans look like. It’s a little bit stressful!

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Nerissa, T  and I decided to go for a walk in the meadow, while Erik relaxed back at camp. Just a short walk from our campsite was this beautiful meadow:

Y14-MeadowWalk2Given the altitude (8600 feet), I think we were all grateful for the flat trail:

Y14-MeadowWalk3We came upon this herd of deer in the meadow. They didn’t seem to mind our presence at all. Aside from the occasional over-zealous tourist, I guess they don’t have too many predators up here. Behind them is Lembert Dome:

Y14-MeadowWalk5And if the placid wildlife in front of the granite mountain isn’t picturesque enough, there’s a pretty little river that runs through the meadow:

Y14-MeadowWalk4Y14-MeadowWalk6Y14-MeadowWalk7

So far, Yosemite has really managed to raise the level of natural beauty to a ridiculous degree.

After our walk, we went back to camp for a delicious dinner, excellent red wine and a fabulous Pinterest experiment from Nerissa for dessert – strawberries dipped in marshmallow fluff and roasted over the campfire. Do yourself a favor and try it, you’ll be glad you did.

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T in training

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This blog is chock-full of my training exploits, but for whatever reason, the desire to train for tris has been non-existent this year. T is super gung-ho to do Leadman, so I’ve taken on the role of sherpa and joining him for parts of training as I feel like it. It’s been going pretty well. I have major FOMO (fear of missing out) about Leadman, but I’m pretty sure getting to hang out with a bunch of friends will more than make up for that. Plus, it’s been so fantastic to watch T so fired up about training. He’s been killing it in training and seems to be really enjoying the process.

He’s also learning first-hand how exhausting long course training is. The penalty for napping in our house is a bed full of animals:

NappingI think young Austin misses his dad when he’s gone. I came outside to see this. Since I know exactly how bad that sweaty run shirt smells, it MUST be love:

AustinTshirtBut he’s learned to take advantage of T’s recovery time:

TonDogBed CouchTandAustin For one of T’s long run days, we parked the car at Magnuson park, which is right next to the Burke Gilman and has a fantastic dog park. So Austin and I got to enjoy this:

AustinDogParkWhile T did this:

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While T is doing all of his training, I’ve had time to tackle fun projects. Like making experimental cocktail cherries.

CherriesBuying too many things at Oiselle’s sample sale:

OiselleClothesAnd M did a Whole 30! We had them over for W30 dinner and backyard time. Rowan showed us the magic (and deliciousness) of bubbles:

RowanBubblesAnd continued her deep, abiding friendship with Wally:

RowanWally

It’s certainly a challenge balancing T’s training needs with the regular demands of life, but I think it’s going pretty well. I’ve been struggling with exercise, but I’m signing up for some new classes that I’ve been wanting to try and am plotting my next big undertaking. More on that later… In the meantime, the weekly produce box has been keeping our meals healthy. But mostly, it’s been good to switch places with T, I’m learning a lot about this side of the fence.

 

‘Murica!

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We spent our Fourth of July weekend at Jenn & Bryan’s cabin. In addition to all of the other awesome things about going out to the cabin, they also don’t allow any fireworks out there, so poor Wally wouldn’t be traumatized. (And not teach Austin that fireworks are SO SCARY THAT YOU MUST FREAK OUT WHEN YOU HEAR THEM!!!!)

We had a fantastic weekend, filled with all kinds of adventures. We took the boys for nice long walks in the woods. Austin was up every morning at dawn, jonesing to chase all of the woodland creatures. (He got a few epic off-leash jaunts when we felt it was safe, but by and large had to enjoy the woodland creatures from behind windows or on a leash. Poor abused puppy… )

Wally enjoyed a quieter form of adventure, but was still very happy to be in the woods.

AdventureWally

Bryan had a big chainsaw project, cutting up a big old tree. It turned out to contain a woodpecker nest, which was really cool. It’s amazing what a little bird can do:WoodpeckerNest

T was a training machine. He went out for a solo ride, but his phone was out of batteries, so he had to borrow mine. I later found a series of hilarious selfies:

T-selfies

He and I also went out for a ride together. I dropped him off in Twisp and then drove to Winthrop to an agreed upon starting point. Since he’s significantly faster than me, I then just started riding with the plan that he’d catch up. Of course, there was no way to know when that would actually be, which can be stressful. I really needed to pee, so after carefully scanning the road behind me, I stopped to use the porta-potty, hurrying as fast as I could. But naturally, when I looked out at the road afterward I saw Todd pedaling up the road, well out of shouting range. Crap!

There is very limited cell service, so I sent a hail mary text, but just had to ride the best I could and hope that he might be at our usual water stop. I somehow missed that campground and was getting pretty grumpy since I was riding longer than I wanted to, but couldn’t stop lest T be frantically worried. FINALLY, I saw him coming down the hill as I was coming up. Thankfully, it was all downhill and smooth sailing after that.

Following our melodramatic bike ride, I got to go for a horseback ride with Jenn. I haven’t been on a horse since the summer after T and I got married, seventeen years ago. (I’m pretty sure the girl from the stables that was helping us hadn’t been born yet… ) It was so much fun and I’m going to look into riding lessons. Stay tuned for a blog post on that adventure…

Jenn, of course, had an insane holiday-themed dessert planned:

CakeAssemblyMontageI liked the mid-way camera adjustment:

CakeAssembly2

The end result was… formidable:

CakeTime

But when you cut the cake, voila! Flag magic!

FlagCake

This was a common sight in the evenings:

RecoveryTAs was this:

ArtsyWallySleeping

But we managed to stay awake late enough to play an epic Mexican Dominos game. We had to invoke the “T rule” when Bryan won three games in a row. We probably need to invoke a “spouses shouldn’t pour the penalty shot” rule:

MexicanDominosPenaltyShot BryanDominosPenalty BryanShotApparently, we were having so much fun that Austin decided to join the party:

AustinTable

We checked out the Twisp farmers market:

FarmersMarketJenn and Bryan scored an awesome owl nesting house from this guy:

BirdhousesAnd Austin learned to swim. He was not really pleased with T and I swimming far out into the lake, but otherwise, I think he enjoyed it. The next time, we’ll take both dogs so Austin can watch Wally chase sticks and things. 

LakeAustinOn our way home, we stopped in Lake Chelan, where T’s boss has a vacation house. We hung out with her, her partner and her partner’s nephew/girlfriend in a gorgeous park next to the lake.

Chelan3 Chelan1We even did a little kayaking. Here’s T’s boss Tee, showing how it’s done:

Chelan2There was also some gorgeous porch time, which made it very hard to leave. But eventually, we had to hit the road. Tee had recommended a burger place in town, but we weren’t quite hungry enough to stand in the long line, so we hit our normal drive-in burger place… which had a 30 minute wait on TO GO orders. So, we soldiered on to Leavenworth. T had looked up a decent sounding burger place, which was somehow closed at 7:40 on a very busy holiday weekend. Grrrr… We settled for the Ye Olde McDonalds. Which screwed up T’s order. Twice. Way to make a bad situation worse, Ye Olde McDonalds. Then to add insult to injury, we passed a very respectable looking drive-in burger place on the way out of town. With a huge sign that said “LEAVENWORTH’S BEST BURGERS.” Have I mentioned how much I hate Leavenworth?

But this was a tiny blip on what was an insanely fantastic weekend. As always, thanks so much to Jenn & Bryan for being such amazing hosts and inviting us to enjoy their wonderful cabin. And best of all, this was young Austin when we got home:

PoopedAustinPriceless.