Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Great Gonsalves Family Yosemite (mis)Adventure

Pre me, the Gonsalves family used to go camping a lot. I try not to take it personally that they don't anymore. Well, Dylan's sister thought it was high time to indoctrinate me into the Gonsalves family ways (or, maybe she just wanted to go on a camping trip and found available campsites during her daughter's spring break), and planned a trip to beautiful Yosemite. Because of work and school schedules and weather forecasts, not everyone in the family was able to make it. But those of us who were nuts enough to attempt camping with a forecast of cold, colder, freezing, rain, and snow had an awesome time..... until it started raining. and snowing. It turns out that we can all handle being a little cold. Damp and chilled through with no break from rain/snow in the forecast is a different story.

Our first misadventure was trying to pack our van. In the past we've been able to take Dylan's truck and load up the bed of it with all of our junk, but there are only 5 seatbelts in it so we had to take the van. How do you load 6 people, 4 bikes, a bike trailer, a tent, sleeping bags, winter clothes, food, and camp gear into a minivan? Well, it looks kinda like this:
(all piled up and strapped on well. and yes, we did bottom out every time we went over a bump)
On our way to Yosemite, we had to stop at the fish hatchery because Dylan's "dad always stopped at the fish hatchery on the way to Yosemite and I'm going to, too." While I may or may not have been rolling my eyes at this decision, when I was talking with the kids about how fortunate we are to be able to be in one of the most beautiful places in the whole world [Yosemite, not the fish hatchery], Grady said "and we're lucky because we got to go to see the fish hatchery." It was seriously a highlight for him. (I may or may not have also rolled my eyes at this). In case you were wondering what the heck a fish hatchery looks like....
(not sure how this can possibly hold a candle to the grandeur of the Yosemite valley, but to each his own!)

 In preparation for our trip, I checked out bunches of books about Yosemite from the library and we spent a few afternoons looking at the pictures and learning about Half Dome, El Capitan, John Muir, Indians, glaciers, waterfalls and animals that we might see. When the kids saw their first glimpses of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls they were SO excited because they recognized them from the books. Grady was pretty disappointed that we didn't see any bears or mountain lions, but he always had a stick or rock in hand just in case he needed to protect us.

One of the best parts of camping in Yosemite is how easy it is for people to enjoy the beauty and awesomeness of God's creation while still being relatively lazy. I mean, sure there are some crazy gnarly hikes that you can do (like hiking up half dome in cross trainers during the heat of summer with a group of super in shape people and nothing but luke warm gatorade and some salame and cheese to sustain you), but if you want, you can just walk to a close-by shuttle bus stop, hop on, and let it take you wherever you want to go. Landon LOVED riding the bus and has since been pointing them out wherever we go.
(here are some of us walking to our bus stop)

For the first two days we were blessed by perfect weather and were able to see some sites and do some exploring...

....and then it started raining. And it didn't stop. And then Emma threw up in her sleeping bag in the middle of the night. And then the rain turned into snow-rain. And then we tried to explore the non-outdoor parts of Yosemite via shuttle but we caught the tail end of the shuttle schedule so we were stuck waiting outside in the snow-rain for 20 minutes. While we were freezing to death at the shuttle stop Emma kept complaining about how much her stomach hurt and Landon cried because his "finnies" (fingers) hurt and Grady kept yelling "I HATE camping. I never want to camp again." Good times.

So we quit. Grady, Landon and Stella hung out in the van with the heater on, listening to Adventures in Odyssey while Emma laid down on a heap of semi-clean bedding in the middle of our tent and the rest of us broke camp . Remember how most of our stuff was packed on top of the van on our way in? Well, in an effort to not soak everything we own, we had to stuff everything into plastic garbage bags and then into the duffel bags. And then everything had to be strapped back onto the roof of the car. Needless to say, our packing job was much less efficient than it was when we started out on our camping trip. Thankfully, Dylan's parents had extra room in their van and we were able to send some stuff with them.

By the time we pulled out of our campsite, the kids were thoroughly miserable. Here they are all bundled up in the back seat crying...

That night, as we were tucked snugly into our warm beds while our house was literally being rocked by the craziest thunderstorm we'd ever heard, we realized that even though a lot of the effort that went into planning and preparing for the trip was wasted because we left 3 days early, quitting camping was one of the best ideas ever :)


joyful said...

so you're saying the next bear grylls probably isn't one of your children.

The Pints said...

Love the photos and glad we got to have the crazy adventure w/you guys. Today I just realized we still had a giant rock at the bottom of the stroller : )