Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lake Lag, 5.30.11

Lake Lag. Frogs. Toads. Kids. Raft.



Raft, Little, Blizane.

Raft w/ more occupants.

Little pulling raft.

Some professional frog collectors.

Memorial day is a great day to dynamically memorialize childhood.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Henry Coe, 5.20.11

The day after getting back from Yosemite, we all [including A[u]nt Chisnap, still ] went for a hike in the awesome Henry Coe State Park. We took the frog pond trail, which went up through oak grassland to pine forests and down into a small riparian valley. The total hike was about 3 miles with probably 1000 feet of total climbing. The girls did marvelously and the place was gorgeous, huge and--refreshing after Yosemite--completely devoid of people. The lighting was harsh but sometimes epic cuteness just trumps good lighting.

This happened quite a few times on the steeper downhill segments:

Little tripped. Her pride was wounded. So she stayed on the ground for several minutes pouting. Littler thought it was a fun game and joined in the fun:

We found a tiny creek and sat around it and played for a while. There was a drab little pacific tree frog just swimming around minding its own business.

But Chesters can't leave well enough alone, so Little instantly seized the opportunity and the frog:

Little is more than a little proud of herself.

Because this is what we do, Little splashed around for a bit. Littler got wet too but it's hard to take pictures of somebody who's holding your hand.

The previous day, Daddy had expressed his undying devotion to his 28mm f2.8 AIS Nikkor lens. On this day, he was using a different lens and the 28mm was nestled nicely in the camera pack up on a bank high above the river. Littlest, ever the busy-Buddy, reached in, grabbed the precious lens, and chucked it hardball-style right toward the river, six feet below. As it flipped through the air, Mommy exclaimed, A[u]nt Chisnap sat across the creek helpless, and Daddy stood far away unaware. The lens landed at the very edge of the water, bare-front-element first, and inexplicably stopped cold. From Daddy's perspective it looked like it was either [A] half-submerged or [B] impaled right through the glass on a small rock. Littler was closest to the action and instantly grabbed the lens while standing ankle-deep in the water. Mommy, A[u]nt Chisnap and Daddy were all yelling at her from three completely different directions with completely differing instructions. "Give it to me!" "Put it down" "Hold on to it!" In particular, Daddy--who was on the other side of 8 feet of water--yells the loudest and somehow thought it would be best to instruct Littler to give the lens to him. Littler held the lens loosely in her fingertips while waving it around in the air over her head, trying to decide which authority figure to obey. When Daddy bellowed his strange instructions, Littler decided to act and made as though to throw the lens over the water toward Daddy. Somehow the females prevailed upon Littler to hang on to it long enough for Daddy to actually get within reach. When he recovered the lens he discovered that it was inexplicably dry, intact, clean and it didn't even have a fingerprint on the lens. Phew!!

There was a lot of climbing on the way out, and the kids did marvelously, especially when they were motivated by promised cookies and juice. But, after sprinting up hills [then resting] for probably and hour they inevitably needed to be hoisted, so of course Daddy volunteered to let Mommy do it.

Henry Coe State Park is a marvelous place and will be closed in a political gimmick next year. Please take the time to inform your state legislator that you do not support this insanity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yosemite 2011 part 3

Finally coming face-to-face with the inevitable, we went back to our tent on our last morning. We found everything basically as it was--soaked but generally recognizable. We picnicked, laid out all the wet sleeping bags and tents in the sun [sun!], and packed up everything. We were back out and ready to party by noon.

We first hiked to Chilnualna Falls near Wawona.

Little just stood there looking at the falls like this for a minute or so. What was she thinking? Praying to the water god?

Little and Littler both scrambled up some boulders to get up right next to the falls. It was fun but a bit scary for both of them.

Littler, in a very common combination, is proud of herself, happy, and sporting a big fat tear on her cheek.

The Littles found a nice slab of granite next to the falls to use as a slide. They had to squirm side-to-side just to move, but this entertained them for quite a while. If A[u]nt Chisnap feels like there are not enough picture of her, notice the foot in the corner:

This was Little's reaction when I told her that A[u]nt Chisnap was going to stay with us for a couple days even after we drove home from Yosemite.

We went to Mariposa grove [sequoias the size of Littler's attitude] and hiked a couple miles to see some big trees. Over the course of the hike, several sequoias grew over 10 feet and four collapsed from old age. Several floods swept the area and dramatically rearranged the local geography. California detached from the North American continent. The colonies around Proxima Centauri revolted. The Milky Way collided with the Andromeda galaxy. The sun exploded and engulfed the earth [finally drying us out]. This is how slow Littler walks when she is being stubborn [this is not a trait she got from Daddy. Just sayin!]

But she is super cute!

We ran across the Tahlbows, a momentary spasm of ecstasy in the middle of an infinite and frustrating day for Littler.

Littler and one of her very best friends, Lukey.

We saw some big trees then went home, Mommy and Daddy are dreaming and scheming about the backcountry, Little monologuing at A[u]nt Chisnap without breath, Littler blessedly napping and Bud being Bud. Thanks to the Tahlbows, Barches and A[u]nt Chisnap for a fun trip!

Yosemite 2011 part 2

In the temporarily-drier morning of our second day, we stopped by Tunnel View to view things. It was almost boringly spectacular, the Paganini of scenery. But is was beautiful and we went there a total of five times on the trip to enjoy the ever-changing lighting.

We decided to take a hike to Mirror lake and ran into the Barches on the way. It was glorious, heavenly, lush and majestic with perfect lighting and great weather [in Daddy's opinion at least]. It even felt pretty wild compared to the rest of the valley. We took the loop trail to avoid the crush of people and the kids all walked for the two-point-something miles of the loop.

The dogwood was magical.

Little was absolutely obsessed with snow, as she has been for a couple years.The lack of suitable snow-wear didn't seem to deter her.

Epic snowfight with maybe an under-epic amount of snow to work with:

We ended up in a beautiful meadow directly below half-dome:

After hiking back, we drove around for a bit until we found this handsome young black bear:

We went back to Swinging Bridge for a late lunch and because it's just so darn awesome.

Buddy was one happy dude in the hiking backpack but otherwise he merely tolerated all the fuss and cold.

A[u]nt Chisnap took the girls exploring all over the meadow. They ended up making light-sabers out of sticks, which they didn't necessarily need to be in Yosemite for. Nevertheless, so much classic majesticness all around has got to have some benefits, right?

Our last stop was a drive up to Tuolumne Grove. It snowed a lot, so Daddy and Little just ran out and played in the thigh-deep snow for a bit.

Little loves lots of things but there is little she loves more than snow.

A view up Yosemite valley on the way back from Tuolumne:

Tunnel view, again:

At night, Daddy went with his friend J "Excessively-[and-wastefully]-tall-for-a-non-basketball-player" Tahlbow to shoot some pictures under moonlight. Lots of low-lying clouds and fog, coupled with short battery life and a late moon rising [a few days past full] made the job challenging but we each we able to salvage a couple decent pictures from the night:

Upper Yosemite fall with a moonbow:

Tunnel view again, El Capitan is on the left, Half Dome is in the distance and Bridalveil is on the right.

Another hotel night then one last day of fun before heading home: stay tuned for part 3...