Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yosemite - hiking with a baby

I have been to several islands in the Philippines, all over Florida again and again, to several islands in the Caribbean and some beautiful parts of Mexico, pretty much across the entire U.S. many times. Being raised by a family full of teachers meant long epic summers full of mountains, camping and big adventures. By far the most enchanting place I have ever been is Yosemite. There is something magical about it - as soon as you get there you 'get' why it has inspired Schools of Art and captured the attention of some of the most influential Americans. It is definitely one of those 'must-see before you die' places.

PHOTO: Found online - our pictures just don't do it justice - do a Google image search for 'Yosemite' if you aren't familiar with the site though. 

That being said it was pretty hard to take and 8 month old there ;) Thank heavens we bought an Ergo baby carrier - that saved our life!

PHOTO: Me, Ava, the Ergo

We underestimated how cold it would be there in April so I wish we had more warm hiking clothes. I also never considered Ava getting car sick (over and over again...) - even though in retrospect in makes a lot of since - she was down low and rear facing a seat while riding through insane mountains in the rental car from Sacramento to Yosemite - for some reason we thought taking 'Historic 49' was a good idea...maybe if you have 2 days to make the drive...

PHOTO: Cleaning Ava, the rental car seat, and the rental car up on the roadside the first of many times on 49

When we go back we will totally go just a month or two later so it will be a bit warmer but still cool. We will stay at Curry Village or Camp Curry. We spent a lot of time there but actually stayed at a nice little place right outside the park in Mariposa because Camp Curry was booked up by the time we were ready to make our reservation. The location of Camp Curry  hotel / lodge is worth the little bit of extra expense and it is the place to stay if you are really interested in hiking and getting out to enjoy the mountains.

PHOTO: Mother at Camp Curry around the turn of the Century. Camp Curry is Yosemite's oldest accommodation.

PHOTO: Ava and I eating in Camp Curry

They will give you a great map when you enter the park - find the Sequoia Groves and other major spots like half-dome right away so you don't miss the really epic spots in the park.

PHOTO: Joe in Mariposa Grove

You of course need layers, a great infant carrier and a well-thought out & stocked backpack to take an infant hiking but otherwise they love the attention and being outside. So it is a really great activity to do with a baby.
Curry Village has lots of different strollers and bikes with kid trailers to give toddlers a break from walking.

PHOTO: Ava peeking out in front of a waterfall in Yosemite

In all scenarios though you aren't going to get any serious climbing / hiking done with small children in tow but almost the entire park is outfitted for anyone and everyone to enjoy the amazing views - from bus trams that make regular stops around the park to boardwalks and railed steps up to some of the really good overlooks. None of the conveniences seem to detract from the 'wild' of the park or takeaway any of the mystery of Yosemite. 

PHOTO: A main road in Yosemite - hundreds of trails etc. stream off this main road through the park but it also means you can get lots of places by car and then get out and do short hikes. 

- Still Coming this week and all done with an infant or toddler - 
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