Day 13: We rushed out of our hotel room as early as possible (that would be about 9:30 am, as always) to visit Yosemite. We planned to leave after lunch, so we wanted as much time as possible.
I cannot express how awe-inspiring Yosemite is. Of all the places we visited on our trip, we all agree this is the place we'd return if we could only choose one. With only a few hours, we could not possibly exhaust even the joy of Yosemite Falls (which we were lucky to see as it only runs in spring and early summer).
We did briefly visit the Visitor's Center and I found a status of John Muir for a picture.
We combined bits and pieces of a couple of trails - up to Lower Falls and then across Cooke's Meadow. Along the way, we visited the spot where John Muir built his cabin.
Once there, it's easy to see why he picked that spot, though all the visitors would drive him away quickly enough today.
We saw deer, but were most impressed by the pair of coyotes that wandered through the meadow, ignoring the people.
We also spotted red-headed woodpeckers and many stellar jays.
After our walk, we lunched near El Capitan, then headed out. There were more mountains to cross (6,192 feet) and Google maps sent us down a shortcut called Old Priest Grade that must be so-named for all the prayers people say while traveling along it. Luckily, the van made it down without mishap.
We arrived at a little haven, the home of friends from our college days and their beautiful family of sweet girls. They fed us a scrumptious dinner and let the children romp in their pool despite the chilly water.
Total driving for day 13 - 122 miles.
Day 14: Our lovely hosts provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a laundry room for our piles of dirty clothes, and even graciously let Kansas Dad set up our tent and rain fly in the front yard, which had been crammed in their bags all wet from the rain at Sequoia for three nights. Oh, and allowed the children to play in the pool off and on all day long! It was a perfectly restorative day and we cannot thank them enough for their hospitality.
Total driving for day 14 - 16 miles. (Kansas Dad went grocery shopping.)