Well, we made it to Yosemite for our 2009 annual trip.
Behind us are the worries of city life. The pace is different. The air is clean, cool and refreshing. The sights are heavenly. The sounds of wildlife, birds, squirrels, and Lord knows what else abound. And one of the world's treasure troves of beauty is all about us.
For the life of me, I don't know why we live elsewhere. I regret now a time when I was younger when I didn't come here with my parents. Probably one of the greatest mistakes of my lifetime, but that's what life is about. Making mistakes and learning from them.
I wish my life had been different, meaning that I wish I had had the means at a younger age to just retire and move here and spend my remaining days hiking the trails around me now, photographing, studying nature, and enjoying the heck out of it.
As I sit here typing now of this Monday a.m., I'm sitting at the bar in the kitchen and the first light of the sun as it's peeked over the surrounding mountains is bathing my right hand in warmth and color that one cannot find from home in Dallas. Two of my kids are up quietly playing UNO while the others still sleep. With the sun coming up now, it won't be long until the others are moving about and claiming to be starving!
Kari and I brought our EA SPORTS Active with us. We're planning on getting a workout in sometime today. I think most of yesterday we spent unpacking the drama that's associated with city life and putting it away until we return home. I was so tired last night I could barely keep awake.
We're here in the mountains but maintaining our healthy living and dieting. That's probably one of the most significant changes over last year's trip, though it is pretty hard to find anything fast-food-related here in the Yosemite area without driving down to Oakhurst.
As we always do on our way to our house here in Fish Camp, we stopped and bought groceries at Von's. Then we picked up pizzas from Round Table Pizza and came to the house. Yesterday, my oldest son, Ricky, who you've read about many a times before, was saying that he wanted left over Round Table Pizza because it's such a treat. Nice to find that he and I are in agreement about SOMETHING!
I discovered Round Table Pizza when there was a new one in Atwater, CA back in 1979. I think they're only located here in California, but they are among my favorites. (Next to NYC and Chicago, of course.)
We made it into Yosemite yesterday for our first excursion since our dramatic ride with all seven of the kids in December of 2007 when we had to fashion chains to our Fresno rental van and they weren't the best of chains. (Kari and I were here last June without the kids.)
We didn't do tons of activities yesterday, but as you can see, driving back about 1 p.m. the kids all were wiped out. Like I said, we were all trying to unpack our Dallas lives and convert into this distorted field of reality.
I have been able to take some wonderful photographs so far. I'm using my Nikon D-40, the Canon 35 mm I inherited from my late Grandpa Sheptak, (Who would be thrilled to know it was here in Yosemite again shooting) and my old Minolta 35 mm that I think once was my dad's from when we last lived in Atwater. The Nikon and Canon are both fitted with a 75-200-mm and an 80-200-mm lens, respectively. On the Minolta? An 18-mm fisheye for seeing the whole world in one frame.
We saw one guy shooting just outside the tunnel overlooking Yosemite Valley yesterday who was shooting with what had to be a 750-mm to 1,000-mm. Gosh to be able to strap one of those on my camera, even for just a minute, would be incredible.
We have Wii-Fi here at the house, so today I'm going to keep shooting with my standard memory card on the Nikon, but thanks to the fokes at Whrrl.com, who provided me with an Eye-Fi card, I'm going to shoot with it, too, and be able to load pics to our Whrrl story for all of you to enjoy as well.
Okay, it's about time to add my dozen or so hyperlinks, post this, and then begin getting breakfast ready. I'm ready for my bowl of Life and some wheat toast with a hint of grape jelly. Funny how that's become something I crave for breakfast thanks to our friends at EA SPORTS Active. Otherwise it would have been biscuits, gravy from sausage grease, bacon, eggs, and white rice. I know, all very unhealthy and the rice bit was something I inherited from Grandma Claxton, who was born and raised in North Alabama in the 1930s-50s.
I can't wait to share more stories of our adventures with you. This is one of the most important weeks of each year to our family. Especially because we bring our kids with us here to the area, just like my parents did and they begin to learn their own favorite things about Yosemite. They each get the opportunity to grow as individuals, learn things about themselves, how to interact with others, how to observe nature, how to climb mountains, how to skip rocks in fast-running rivers, creeks and streams, and to look for bears, deer, squirrels, birds, foxes, wolves … are you beginning to get the picture?
Onward with the day. Light clouds and right now here at the house it's 51 degrees, light clouds and a beautiful rays of sunshine that left the sun eight minutes ago and travelled 89 million miles in that time just to spend a milli-second with you and me.