Ocean Family Road Trip

Yosemite Notes

Day 1

We are on our way into Yosemite National Park. I just finished a bowl of cereal with mildly off milk. Trump is president and Leonard Cohen is dead. Two jobs in Nevada City fell through and we are heading to Yosemite to remind us why we are doing this, but I have low expectations.
We’ve just got back from our first day at the park. Yosemite Valley is magical!! This valley is the birthplace of the National Park movement. This valley has been muse to artists and poets and conservationists. This is the place John Muir returned to over and over again as his santuary and camped with Roosevelt and begged him to preserve it. People love Yosemite in a way that keeps calling them back again and again.
That valley floor itself, is some kind of beautiful no mans land, as if through some kind of stroke of fate and luck and timing; it exists. Its a meadow between towering rock faces, belonging to know one, accessible to everyone. The deer are snoozing under the oak trees, the late sun is hitting the tips of the long grass, there are gushing waterfalls, sequoia, cedars, theres fresh air and a quiet calm that comes from a wild space.
Day 2
The lodge here is hiring. Maybe we could live here for awhile.
There is staff cabins and a tiny one classroom school. We got to see a sneak peak of the neighborhood during the 2 hour Ahwahnee Stories and Games Ranger Talk. Pat would really love to be a ranger and said he thinks that its his calling in life. We’re heading to Omaha for Christmas but maybe afterwards. We have to figure out something soon before we spend our New Zealand savings.
Day 3
Some people say the highs are higher and the lows are lower when you live on the road, maybe its true, but one thing is certain; life is less predictable. None of us would have thought a week ago that we would be climbing the Sentinel Dome in Yosemite national park to watch the super moon rise.
After 3 days in Yosemite vally and our lives seem to now revolve around sunrise, sunset, moonrise and repeat. The landscape is mesmerizing, especially from up at Glacier Point.
Also, Instagram has become very boring all of a sudden. I scroll through a few pics and just can’t get into it. I wonder whether its because I’ve become disillusioned with van life hype or because its simply more preferable to be out the window and present where I am. And maybe its also because of the 100 or so couples I’ve seen; shiny black tights, nikes and long blonde hair in a high pony tail, him wearing a plaid shirt with a canon slr hanging around his neck. This couple is everywhere. They get out of their car, snap a few pics and are back in their car on to the next spot. They hike, to get the photo at the top, or so it seems.
Day 4
I was in the half dome camp office inquiring where the showers were when I saw a police officer approach the bus. He was young and tense. I walked over to see what was going on.  Basically he pulled Pat over in the parking lot because the kids weren’t in seat belts. He seemed suspicious of us, we chatted, I tried to round things up…  “Well its technically a school bus.” “Ma’am! That thing is part bus, part camper, part ice cream truck.” Alright mate, we have a geology talk to get to. He didn’t write us a ticket.
We sat around in a semi circle waiting for the ranger to start the geology talk and a gust of wind blew thousands of autumn leaves in a downward stream, showering us and all around while floating through the air. It rendering everyone silent.  An man who was sitting in the corner banged his walking stick twice and piped up to quote John Muir. “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” The group clapped and cheered, and nodded in agreement. Some of those people had been to the park over 40 times.
The geology talk was for an hour and a half and for adults. I knew the kids wouldn’t follow along with everything but Pat and I wanted to attend. Do you know what I realized at the end? All of the hard scientific questions that the ranger posed to the group – some of which he didn’t even know the answers too – old ladies answered. Every single time – the group would fall silent and a quiet term “Milankovitch cycles” or “nunatak” would be spoken from the back. I know the kids learnt about how the valley was formed, and learnt about salamanders and beetles and granite and the ice age but I hope they also picked on up the wisdom and intellectual prowess of those old women.
When I close my eyes at night, all I see is the warm bark of sequoia trees and a green forest haze, all I can hear are owls. I have very little personal space, sandwiched between 2 kids in a single bed, but I’m used to it. I really feel for the first time since childhood that I am of the Earth, as opposed to on the Earth. I feel like I am out in the wide world really living my life.

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