Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pinecones and Sequoias

Friday, March 18th - Day 2 at Yosemite National Park

Friday morning we went into the lodge restaurant for breakfast. That was my first time to see the inside of the lodge. It was beautiful. It is just what you picture when you think of a mountain or ski lodge. It had a huge stone fireplace and various wild game mounted on the wall. Around the fireplace were nice big comfy couches and chairs to lounge in. The restaurant had a nice breakfast buffet, which we took advantage of.

Main entrance of Tenaya Lodge

Fireplace in lobby of Lodge

After breakfast, we looked around the lodge a little bit and then headed back to our cabin to get ready to hike up to the Giant Sequoias inside the park. In the summer, you can drive your car up close to the sequoias and then ride a little tram around to see all of the famous trees, but this time of year, the road is closed. So, in order to see the giant sequoias, you have to walk up that road. It didn’t make much sense that the road was closed because it was totally cleared off. We were even able to take our Bob stroller and push Jonah up the road rather than having Mark carry him in the hiking back pack. This road was entirely uphill for about 1500 feet of elevation change, about 3.1 miles total. I had the ‘great’ idea to try to run up this hill….. yea, we didn’t make it very far running. We ran in spurts to get some exercise in and to also save a little time. Overall, we mostly walked but it was still a work out. You really can tell a difference when you are exercising at an elevation of 5,000 feet.

The Giant Sequoias were just that. Giant. They were incredible. SO big and so tall. I guess it’s not something that can fully be understood until you are right there standing beside them. It got colder as we went up in elevation and there was more and more snow. We had Jonah bundled up in his snow suit, but he was still saying he was cold when he got out of his ‘BundleMe’ in his stroller. Once he got out though, he did enjoy the trees, especially the ones he called ‘Nunnel Tees!’ (tunnel trees). These were the ones with a whole in the base where you could walk through. There were one or two that had these tunnels in them.

Jonah getting ready to go on our walk up to the Sequoias. This is in our little cabin.. we had our own little fireplace in there too!!

Entering Mariposa Grove

This picture is just funny -- Jonah looks like he is about to fall over, he was stuck down in there though, we had to help him get out!!

Me next to one of the Giant Sequoias.. they're HUGE, aren't they!?!

Mark and Jonah underneath 'Clothespin'; looking up at the tree.

Now you can see why this tree is named 'Clothespin'

That's me and Jonah (in the stroller) back in between the trees... kind of gives you an idea of just how big these trees are! GIANT!

Jonah under the 'Nunnel Tee'

This one was named 'Fallen Monarch' it was so enormous!

While we were up in the Mariposa grove, the area of the Giant Sequoias, I was in search of large pine cones. I had seen giant pine cones in the gift shop (for $15 each) at Tenaya Lodge, so I figured there had to be some in Mariposa Grove. Mark spotted one first and I was thrilled. Not sure why, but I really wanted to find one. After Mark initially found one for me, I found 2 others, one of which was larger and in better condition than the one Mark initially found, so that is the one I decided to keep. I have no idea what I am going to do with this giant pine cone now, but it is giant and makes a good (free) souvenir. :) I’ve just got to figure out how to get it home in one piece.

My giant pinecone...I did make it home with it all in one piece... now to figure out what I am going to do with it.

On the 3+mile walk back down from Mariposa grove, Jonah fell asleep. He slept all the way down, so that ended up being a pretty decent nap for him. We went back to Tenaya lodge, grabbed some lunch and just hung out in our little cabin for a while. Later in the afternoon, we went to the indoor pool and hot tub. Jonah had a blast. While we were in the hot tub, it started snowing…… and it didn’t stop until Saturday morning (more about that later).

Friday night we went back up to the lodge restaurant for dinner. We then looked around in the lodge’s gift store, got some hot chocolate and just relaxed in the lobby of the lodge (well, relaxed as much as possible with a 2 year old running around). It was a really good day. The Giant Sequoias make it up to the top of my list of things we’ve gotten to see/do on this trip.

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