in a perfect world of yancies: July 2014

26 July 2014

CA 14 Pt 2:

Franklin & Emily at Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park
Glad we finally got to see Yosemite National Park! And on it's 150th birthday no less!

Had a nice stay at the Wawona Hotel (good find, Emily!).

Bit of a drive over from Oakland, though at least we had a nice break in Modesto with Dave and Diana. By the time we were about an hour from the hotel, though, Franklin started saying things like "That's a hike." And then "There's a spot! We can park there!" So, yeah, he was definitely ready to get out of the car...

Was he actually ready to hike? Well, yes and no:

We all cheered up considerably the next morning, though, when we came out of the tunnel and saw this:
Family at Yosemite
At the aptly named Tunnel View. (Also pictured up top.) Beautiful.

Then it was on to Yosemite Valley:
Lower Yosemite Falls
Did the pleasant little Lower Yosemite Fall Trail. Not bad to look at either.

Lower Yosemite Falls 2

It's a big, busy valley, but luckily it has its own bus system, so we hopped on a shuttle and started up the Vernal Fall Trail:
Hats Off!

Not much more than a mile, but here's our GPS record if you're curious:

Of course since it was steep and there was a scary drop-off on one side, Franklin wanted to hike this one. We let him do about twenty yards—the twenty yards where there's a wall on the side:
Hiking to Vernal Fall 3
And then we promptly stowed him in our fancy new, lightweight, easy-to-fold (yeah I like it, so what?) BobaAir carrier.


Vernal Fall 3

For better or worse, that didn't stop him from taking over the photography for a few minutes:
Franklin Taking Pictures

Franklin Photography 3
A budding talent? Such evocative images...

Next morning, we hopped back on a shuttle bus to go and see the big trees:
Yosemite Valley Shuttle

Hiking Mariposa Grove
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. When Emily and I did our trip to the redwoods a few summers ago, we saw the tall Coastal Redwoods. Cool to also see a few of these giants now too.

Did a bit more hiking this time:


Water break:
Water Break

And Franklin took a few more photos:
Mom's Foot

And then I took one:
Grizzly Selfie

And then it was his turn again:
Franklin's Turn Next

Luckily Emily had her phone back in time to see this deer walk by:
Deer 2

Love these big trees:
Big Tree

Big Tree, Small Pinecone

What really blows my mind is this bit from the Wikipedia description: "The seed cones are 4–7 centimetres (1.6–2.8 in) long... each cone has 30–50 spirally arranged scales, with several seeds on each scale, giving an average of 230 seeds per cone."

In other words, there are over 200 potential giant sequoias in Franklin's hand in that picture! Wild!

Oh, you can't see his hand? Try the full size version, or take a look at this close-up:
Big Tree, Small Pinecone Closeup

Well, that was our last full day. Did one more quick hike on the Bridal Veil Fall Trail, took one more look at Tunnel View, and ended the day with some delicious pizza on the way back to Oakland.

I think nearly all of them made the blog, but here's the link to all our photos just in case you want more:

Cheers to a great vacation!
Yosemite National Park

25 July 2014

CA 14 Pt 1:
Sunny, Ceremonial, and Scenic

Ah, that California sun!
California Sun

Flew down to Oakland last week:

Had the pleasure of attending Geoff and Lauren's wedding:

Didn't get any pictures of our own unfortunately, but luckily their photographer is awesome and posted everything online for us to enjoy.

Did I mention that sun?

Great time. Put on our ties, saw some old friends:
Ready for the Wedding?

Like Rodrigo:
Will Franklin Smile?

And Aiko, pictured here behind us on the cute little train that ran around the wedding venue:
I See Aiko

Speaking of kid-friendly stuff, they also had a treehouse with a ladder, so that's not bad:

Not a bad setup for dinner either:

And Jeremy was looking good of course:
Here's to Jeremy

A few more favorites from the professionals:

Even one with Andy, who we hadn't seen in what, like fifteen years?

Great time. Congrats everyone!

Luckily we also had a little time to relax in Los Gatos, where the wedding was held:
Relaxing by the Pool

Including spending the morning at the awesome Blossom Hill Park, which among other excellent attractions includes the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad:
Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad
All aboard!

A nice dinner back in Oakland at the KangNam Pho House:

So close:
KangNam Pho House

Great seeing everyone!

Aiko, Yancy, Franklin, Jeremy

Speaking of seeing everyone, thanks to a serendipitous Facebook post we found out that Dave and Diana were also vacationing in California that same week. So glad we got to see them!
And so glad Emily suggested meeting them at the Scenic Drive-In, an excellent little roadside restaurant in Modesto. Yum!

Scenic Selfie
They were on the way back from the same spot we were heading: Yosemite!
More on that soon!

15 July 2014

the wild mountains then the sea
and the waves rushing

So glad I have this crew to help make the most of the warm weather and the new neighborhood!
Wildlife at Constellation Park marine reserve.

Back a few days to the 10th, when we toasted Emily down at the beach. No photos, alas, but when we got back home Franklin had some fun trying on his mom's new shoes:
Or "kayaks" as he calls them, inspired I assume by the color and material :)

Great sunsets and moons this week. Not quite the supermoon in this photo, and it's in the wrong direction for a sunset, but our new neighbor looked pretty good the other night:
Mountain Moon
Bigger version here.

So, mountains and water, yes. Sounds even better in the title for this post, though, no? It's a little bit of Molly's monologue at the end of Ulysses. We had the rare pleasure of reading and discussing some of the novel with some friends down on the beach last night.

Here's the rest of the stretch I quoted up top:

... God of heaven theres nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with the fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is...

Just amazing.

And in case you're wondering about gathering on a beautiful summer evening to read Ulysses while the sun sets over the water, I'll just note that The Economist said it's "maybe the best book you take to the beach this summer"... So there you go.

All right, before I move on it's probably unfair given my recent comments about myself to leave out what Molly says immediately after what I just quoted:

as for them saying theres no God I wouldnt give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning why dont they go and create something I often asked him atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the priest and they dying and why why because theyre afraid of hell on account of their bad conscience ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they dont know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow

Fair enough.

Now as for what comes after that, well, the last stretch of Ulysses is among the most beautiful things I've ever read, and I don't think it's quite fair to paste it into a blog post about Franklin getting a haircut and going to a street fair. But if you scroll to the bottom of this page and read picking up near the rhododendrons on Howth you won't be sorry.

But yeah, so Franklin got a haircut!
Took him a little while to warm up to it...


But he sure looks good now:
I Like Your Hairs

Then we stopped by Lincoln Park to cool our feet with Wendy:

More wading on Sunday, when I took that picture of the crab up above.

Video too!

All thanks to an awesome -3 foot low tide. And thanks to this cool program sponsored by the Seattle Aquarium we had great help finding sea stars, anemones, sea cucumbers, and more!

Sea Star!

After a little rest, we ended the day at the West Seattle Summer Fest:
Street Fair Candy

Street Fair!
Up next is California. Actually, what am I doing sitting here at the computer? I need to pack!