We went to Yosemite yesterday. Ian booked the reservation two months ago, as that is now how you have to go. I felt funny calling the school to tell them the kids would be absent from distance learning, but it was totally worth it. Because of the reservation system, and maybe because it was a weekday?, Yosemite was practically empty. Which was SO nice. I also think we have gotten better over the years about day trips and they have become much more enjoyable. We have gotten better about our expectations of what we can accomplish in a day. We have also gotten better about packing and expecting our needs ahead of time. 

We brought chairs, a mat, the kids swimming stuff and enough food to feed us all day. We set up shop at the rivers edge and I was so happy to watch the kids play and use their imaginations. That type of thing makes my heart soar. And Willa wasn't a fan of the cold water or rocks (we aren't sure which), so stayed out of the water. That made it so much easier on us. The three older ones played in the water for a couple hours, while Ian, Willa and I chilled. I couldn't have asked for a better or easier time. 

We then changed the kids, packed up and headed toward Yosemite Village in search of ice cream. Again, there was literally no one around. We got the kids some jr ranger booklets, got some ice cream and set up shop on a picnic table in the shade. The kids did the booklet activities while eating ice cream. Once done, we headed to the ranger station so they could officially become jr rangers and get their patches. 

Then we set off in search of a good view of half dome. We found one, parked and explored a bit. Even saw someone painting the view of half done. Then we drove around a bit before leaving. On our way out of the park, we got to see a bear that was maybe 30 yards off the road. All the cars were stopped just watching. It was a little guy and felt a bit surreal seeing it walk around. Of course, I also wondered where mama bear was and if she would be mad at the cars watching her baby! 

It was a great trip. One that left us wanting to go back. Though I told Ian that we are getting spoiled going to the national parks without crowds during covid. I don't think we would normally have the same enjoyable and serene experiences we have been having. 

^^ we've gotten pretty dang good at the self timer photos in the past month or so!

I also don't want to forget the new experience of doing back to school night from my phone while driving home! We lost service halfway through Isla's teacher's presentation, but I was able to watch all of Connor's. Such a funny experience it would have been from home, but it made it all the more so from the car.

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