Kindergarten and the Great Outdoors

Today was the first day of school. How is it possible that my baby is now in kindergarten? I must say I handled it well; I didn’t cry and Luke was perfectly happy to go to his class. I’m sure it helps that we already know 3 out of the other 19 kids in his class (2 from soccer, one from his preschool class). He was so excited about his new lunchbox, though it’s for snack time since I will happily pay $2 a day for a pretty decent cafeteria meal. I can’t wait to pick him up after work and see how his day went. I know that it would be normal to feel sad that he’s growing up so fast, etc, but I didn’t have a problem with today. I always loved school; it was a refuge for me. I know it isn’t that way for everyone, but he seemed to enjoy learning new things at preschool and I intend to do all I can to foster a love for learning in him.

I had quite the adventure on my backpacking trip and I’ve been meaning to write about it but have been busy. As usual, right? Well we drove up to Mammoth Saturday, via Camarillo (which is actually 120 miles out of the way). Luke spent the week at my mom’s house and enjoyed the week immensely. I understand there was much lego building and more than a little spoiling! My mom was so excited to spend the time with him and I know he enjoyed the time with my brothers.

We got to Mammoth mid-late afternoon, got settled in the condo (where I had my own room and bathroom which was great) and did an easy one mile hike around the Earthquake Fault before dinner. Sunday we got up early to go to the ranger station only to find out that we couldn’t get our permit until 11am. The ranger assured us that we shouldn’t have a problem getting the permit since the Rush Creek Trail was a particularly difficult one. That should have been the first sign that we were in trouble… We had a leisurely breakfast at The Breakfast Club (which I totally recommend) and packed up to spend the afternoon hiking in Yosemite. At 11am we got our permit, rented a second bear canister, and headed up to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite to do a day hike and begin acclimating to the higher elevation (9000-ish). We decided to hike to Cathedral Lakes, 7 miles round trip, and this was one of the high points of the entire trip. Anyone who knows me at all well knows that it takes a lot to make me speechless. I was either speechless or babbling inanely much of this hike as I was overcome with the beauty of the place. I have only been able to upload a few pictures to flickr so far because of the file size limit each month, but here are a couple from this hike:

Cathedral Peak:

We spent Sunday evening preparing for the backpacking trip, after a hearty dinner. Hiking 7 miles at 9000’, even with just light day packs, was a decent amount of exercise. Enough for me to worry about the three days to follow! Monday we were up very early to check out of the condo and head to Mammoth Mountain Inn to catch the YARTS bus up to the trailhead. I don’t have many pictures uploaded from the first day yet but here is one of our camp that first night.

The trail was especially strenuous the first two miles. We hiked nearly 8 miles the first day and one of the other people hurt his knee the first day. The first night was really cold; there was ice in the water pump when I got water on Tuesday morning! The stars were beautiful though and worth the 8 mile trek and freezing cold. The stove caught on fire Tuesday morning and so did two rocks…we had to resort to a wood fire to boil water for breakfast. We were woefully under prepared; the person who was *supposed* to bring matches didn’t, so we were in trouble when the lighter melted! After breakfast Tuesday we lived on power bars, trail mix, and jerky until we reached civilization on Wednesday afternoon. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from Tuesday:

Me crossing Rush Creek:

posing by the “no fires over10,000 feet” sign:

Thousand Island Lake:

favorite spot (so far) on the John Muir Trail, between the 10,000 feet sign and Thousand Island Lake:

We didn’t discover our lack of matches until we set up camp Tuesday evening. Two of the guys in the group spent hours trying to start a fire by rubbing sticks together while I laughed hysterically.

We returned to civilization Wednesday following the River Trail to Agnew Meadow. We shortened the trip by 7-8 miles due to the injured knee and lack of fire (ie, food). I’ve already decided where I want to go next: I want to start at Agnew Meadow, take the Pacific Crest Trail to Thousand Island Lake, and do the rest of the original trip which was the John Muir Trail down to Reds Meadow. Next time!

Thursday we drove the Tioga Road through Yosemite and I finally got to see Yosemite Valley. Words are so inadequate when it comes to Yosemite.

All told we hiked 28 miles during the trip and I managed to escape with only five mosquito bites (which is impressive considering I ended up with 26 when I went to Tahoe…).

I’d better end this now or it will never get posted. Hopefully my life will settle down soon and I can resume some normal posting. I did do some stitching in the car so I’ll take pictures of that soon.

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13 Responses to “Kindergarten and the Great Outdoors”

  1. Terri Says:

    Welcome back! Happy kindergarten day to Luke! What a big boy he is!

    I can just hear the enthusiasm in your voice while reading your hiking report 🙂

  2. Faith Ann Says:

    It sounds like a really fun hiking trip…except the lack of food after the stove caught on fire 🙂

    I hope Luke had a great first day!!

  3. Karen Says:

    Welcome back! Your son is too adorable. You must feel so proud of him.

    The pictures of your hiking trip are beautiful. What an amazing (and brave!) thing to do! I’m sure it was an adventure you’ll always cherish.

    What’s a bear cannister????

  4. Rani Says:

    Welcome back and happy first day of school to Luke! Your hike sounded crazy and wonderful. Way more than I could have handled. You should sign up for the Amazing Race. =)

  5. Darla Says:

    Glad you’re back, glad you had such a wonderful time!! Can’t wait to see more pictures!

    And best wishes to Luke!

  6. Glenda Says:

    Wonderful pictures. I love hiking as well but prefer mine to be bug-free.

  7. Jenny Says:

    Beautiful photos and sounds like you had a nice time. 🙂

    I’m sure Luke had a good day at school – brings back memories of sending Alex off to his first day, we have a similiar picture of him with his backpack all ready to go. This year we are sending him to 6th!! grade. Yikes.

  8. Amy Says:

    Aw, what an adorable Kindergardner! Why do they have to grow up so darn FAST?

    You had some *gorgeous* views on your trip! Very Lord of the Rings. Wow…

  9. Karoline Says:

    Lovely pictures, sounds like your trip was amazing.

  10. Melissa Says:

    Welcome back!!! You’ve been missed!

    I can’t believe how big Luke is getting. U starts preschool in 2 weeks. I’m getting soooo nervous…

  11. Susan Says:

    Congratulations to Luke on his first day of kindergarten!

    I’m so happy to read a post from you, and glad that you had a lovely hiking trip!

  12. Sarah Says:

    Congrats to Luke on his first day of school. I’m glad to hear he liked it. My “baby” will be in first grade this year, he is so excited, and I’m just amazed at how fast the time flew.

    I agree with everyone your pictures are beautiful and it sounds like you had a great time.

    It was also nice to put a name with the face because up until now I thought you were blonde, of course I think everyone in CA is blonde!

  13. Susan in SoCal Says:

    Wow, what a great post.

    It was great reading about your backpacking trip. DH and I went up in that general area some 27 years ago with my dad and another friend. I’ll never forget that backpacking experience.

    I loved seeing the pics of Luke starting school. Glad he’s enjoying it.

    Take care of yourself. It’s good to see you here.

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