Yosemite National Park – California…

Yesterday we drove around 2 1/2 hours from our RV park in Sanger, CA to Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park.

It was worth the long drive. The weather was perfect, and Yosemite is a gorgeous place to explore.

We went to the visitor center so our kids could stamp their passport books and buy postcards. We know this is going to take 30 minutes – 1 hour every park we go to, so we just plan for it. We buy a Christmas ornament at each park, also.

We ate a snack lunch that I packed – trail mix and peanut butter crackers – in a beautiful area where leaves were steadily falling from the trees around us.

We decided to hike the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail. It was stroller friendly, shaded and an easy walk the whole way.

It was a really fun trail.

We sat Bravely on this stump for a photo, and she screamed when we took her off. We ended up letting her sit there for about 10 minutes playing with pine needles. She kept saying, “Whoa!”, and smiling.

Our kids loved balancing and walking across many logs along the trail. How many kids can you count in this photo? Look closely, they are all there.

We found a great climbing tree as well.

As we were walking along, we saw several kids and families building small rock towers. It looked like fun, and our kids asked if they could do it. We now know, after posting our rock tower photos on social media, that national parks prefer you do not stack rocks. Having no clue, we naturally thought it was a fine idea and looked for a good place to stack rocks.

We came to a dry waterfall, which we were told is typically flowing during spring and early summer.

As we left the waterfall, we saw the perfect open area to let our kids play in the rocks.

Our kids were focused, working on balancing those rocks, when Ryan told me there was a bear. Sure enough, a black bear was strutting right behind our kids along the yellow arrow in this photo! I whispered loudly, “Kids, bear. Walk quietly toward me.” They took that seriously. They were instantly at me feet. We walked back a little, and then we got some photos and videos of the bear.

In the bottom yellow circle are some of our kids rock stacks, in the top circle is the bear. It was freaky and amazing all at the same time! It is one of those great after stories, if you know what I mean. Ha!

Ryan had been dying to see a bear. He just knew we’d see one. He was searching the mountains as we drove into Yosemite. Never would he have imagined we’d have this experience, though!

Just as we moved on from the bear, we had four deer come right up to us. We stood and watched them for awhile.

We would have loved to explore more, but we knew we’d be heading down the narrow winding mountain roads in the dark if we didn’t leave soon.

On our way out, we did stop to see the waterfall, Bridalveil Falls. It was beautiful!

Then we made our long drive back down the mountains and watched the sunset as we rode.

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