Wawona is about an hour's drive from Yosemite Valley. It means that it's not as crazy or crowded, but it also means a drive there and back every day you feel the need to go. You can't not go to the Valley, especially with children. They probably wouldn't even know they'd been to Yosemite without a few waterfalls and big, big rocks.
Most years, the waterfalls are mere trickles by August. The fact that it rained a ton this year was what prompted me to get the trip organized mid-summer. For a change, there would still be something to see. We made a stop at Bridalveil Falls on our way down the hill.Then, we stopped for some nice views of Upper Yosemite Falls before locating a place to park. Fortunately, we'd managed to make it there early enough that parking wasn't a big problem. And our parking spot also featured a nice view of Half Dome.The air was a little hazy from the smoke of a nearby wildfire, but it wasn't too bad.
We hiked up to Mirror Lake, which was more meadow than lake, even in a wet year. And the air was even hazier by the time we got there. So I the views of Half Dome were mostly obscured. I took pictures of flowers. How novel.We made our way back, had lunch and set out to visit Lower Yosemite Falls...and easy hike that was nonetheless complained about vociferously. And Smunch, who had developed any number of concerns about any number of things we did or saw, was very concerned about all those people out there breaking the rules and climbing on the rocks below the falls.They're just tiny in this picture. I'm not sure what Smunch expected me to do about those hundreds of transgressions. Send them all to their rooms, perhaps?
Although we're all looking pretty happy in this photo, I'd had quite enough of the whining by 2 or 3 o'clock and we decided to head back over the mountain to our cabin.We stopped at the Tunnel View overlook...because that's just what you do, isn't it?It gave us a good idea just how smoky it was. And it gave me another idea. Seven years ago, a dear friend of mine had a wedding in Yosemite Valley...a lovely affair that I failed to appreciate with my premature 6-month-old who screamed bloody murder on all car rides. But during one of the less screamy moments, we'd stopped at this very spot for a family photo. Things have changed just a bit since then...and it's not just that the air's smokier.Naturally, there was more jumping off rocks into the river when we got back. Too bad we can't end every day like that at home.