Monday, November 28, 2016

CA History: Sacramento State Government

K's government, politics, and US history class traveled to Sacramento for the day, sitting in on various court cases and visiting with a judge who told them about his job.  Sounds like a great day and she indeed reported that she had fun...

Photo courtesy

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Spectacular Yosemite Winter Wonderland

I could sing about the beauty, use K's description of how magical it felt ("like Hogwarts") or go into detail about how darn hard I tried to get those tire chains on (ugh!), but the relevance of our overall experience is best expressed in photos, even though they capture but a fraction of the beauty of the valley on this amazing morning. Sharing this spectacular experience with the girls enriched my soul and made my heart sing; I feel both privileged and deeply blessed.

From our doorway

Out of the snow...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Yosemite Bedtime

Loving it!  Not much sleep though... it snowed hard and the trees above us kept shedding their loads onto the top of the tent, which sounded like rock slides thundering down and felt like minor earthquakes all through the night.

Returning to our tent cabin, hair full of snow

And it begins

Yosemite Adventures

We started at a favorite climbing rock, then headed to a popular trail that, even this time of the year, saw a steady stream of people. We veered off the trail, however, choosing instead to search for an old (unmarked and unmaintained) trail I'd found a few times before, many years ago.  It leads to a spectacular overlook from which you can see views unparalleled by any of the existing trails. The girls seemed to love scrambling more than they love hiking and we had a great time making our way straight up the side of the mountain, no trail in sight. Eventually they both decided that they'd had enough, though. This wasn't just unmaintained and unmarked, it was also a trail that reflected many decades of rock slides and erosion and in parts we were climbing straight up. It didn't take me too long to realize that the overlook wasn't my true destination if it meant leaving my girls on the side of a mountain with a snow storm approaching. We all made it down safely and continued to Mirror Lake and then the Ahwahnee, arriving just after the long-predicted rain began. It wasn't to last long though....

Near Happy Isles
Rock fun!


A spectacular view of Yosemite Falls at a distance from high up.

Half Dome above
Smiling during part of the "trail"

Mirror lake
The rain begins, at the Merced

At the Ahwahnee

Friday, November 25, 2016

Traveling to Yosemite

A favorite routine:  stopping at the cheese factory in Oakdale

At the rim fire overlook

Silliness at the rim fire overlook

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Aurore asked for the meaning of Thanksgiving, so of course we explained the history of the first Thanksgiving, then Abraham Lincoln's proclamation and other related history.  Harder to explain is the beauty and loveliness of this holiday as it is celebrated uniquely within the United States.  In a culture that sometimes seems obsessed with materialism, it is a time to drop all of that and really enjoy what matters most, with none of the assorted expectations and stresses of other holidays.  As K said in her prayer of gratitude before we ate:  "I am grateful for food, family, and friends... and that's just the 'fs."

I am grateful for some rain, which means that the hills and valleys on our morning hike were finally green

I am grateful for shadows, light, beauty, people to hike with, and dog hiking pals, too

I am grateful for tiny beauties and the opportunities to notice them.

And of course for wonderful food, family, and friends... including many not pictured.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tahoe Day 2

Hiking, checking out a snowy beach, relaxing, playing games; a great day.  Perhaps the most magical moment was on the way back from our hike when we discovered a creek we hadn't heard before - it had literally come to life with the morning sun's warming rays and the sound was musical.

Snowy beach, Lake Tahoe in rear, and parts of the Desolation Wilderness in the background

I love gorgeous snowy details, more fragile even than street art.

Wild rosebuds, I think, red in a snowy world.

Halo girl
Puck might have been happiest of all.  When we left, he looked out of the window and whined sadly, which I've never heard him do before.  This Colorado-born dog loves playing in the snow!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tahoe Snow

We wanted to make sure that Aurore saw Tahoe while she was here, but it has been hard to find even a day when our calendars were clear.  Thanksgiving week provided that respite and a friend at work offered a discount on a house rental.  Fantastic!  We left with chains and noted the chain warnings on the way up, but being prepared isn't the same as being eager; I was glad to get through slowly and carefully without having to put them on, even though we drove through a winter wonderland of gorgeous, fabulous snow that crusted the branches of the trees and blanketed the mountainsides.  Ah, such a needed relief to be in the mountains again!

G took this one from the car on the way up and over the pass

I love to see clouds framing the mountains; elegant and dramatic

After we arrived, the rest of the evening had one primary agenda:  snow ball fights!