So when our good friends, the Robinsons, suggested we vacation together, we were all over that like dieting Crowleys on a buffet. Our boys are the same age and even though our girls are 3 years apart, they are great buddies and have the same interests. And it was a relief for me that Brian and the kids would have people to play with and wouldn't be bored while Bella was eating or sleeping.
So we rented a cabin at Gull Lake, (which is near June Lake) that housed all of us! It was the perfect setup. A large kitchen, dining room, family room with TV, 2 full bathrooms, laundry, and 3 bedrooms, a sitting room in the master bedroom, plus a spare queen bed in a little accordianed off room. We weren't going into the week thinking the kids would sleep much, all sharing a room but by shuffling kids around after they fell asleep and putting McKenna in a packNplay in the master bedroom's sitting room, they all slept pretty good! Well, almost. Austin was so excited to be there, he developed an annoying habit of waking before 6....singing. And since the big kids rooms were right next to Nicole and Justin's rooms, while Brian and I were upstairs, they got the pleasure of being serenaded awake each morning.
We got to our cabin fairly late Sunday evening, so Monday was the first real day of playing and exploring. We decided to have a fairly laid back day, and stayed near the cabin. The day ended up being an odd hodgepodge of activities.
Then we built a fort.
McKenna got her first pedicure. She was unsure at first but has been an addict ever since!
There was a pretty good park very close to our cabin, so we took lunch there and played a bit.
The kids loved the "zipline".
Then we came back to the cabin and the big kids played with playdough while our girls took naps.
Great first day!
It was decided that our second day we would have a picnic and go swimming at June Lake. McKenna thought it was never too early to practice safety first. Even while coloring!
Nothing like a lake filled with snow melt-off for swimming! Takes your breath away! Brian and Justin and the oldest two braved it first, and Nicole and I went in for a bit after lunch, but the younger ones were much more content to dig.
It did end up being a beautiful day for a picnic though. We were visited by a fairly aggressive duck. We told the kids to hold their sandwiches up so he wouldn't get them. They looked so silly protecting their food!
What trip to the mountains would be complete without s'mores? There was a giant campfire ring down by the lake, so we took all our supplies down for a yummy snack after dinner.
Our yummy night took a crazy turn when I saw something move on the other side of the bushes next to us. Less than 100 feet from us was a big black bear. Apparently she thought our s'mores smelled good too! We quickly herded our kids and were so thankful that the bear changed his mind. Never have we been so thankful for loud children. They probably scared her off! We had to be careful going back to the cabin, because she lumbered off in the exact direction we needed to go. It was so amazing and terrifying at the same time.
Of course, I had to attempt to take a picture! Once our kids were corralled, I grabbed the camera but it was mighty dark and all I got was a black picture. I was bummed! To get an idea of how close it was, I took this one later.
When we saw it, it was on the other side of those bushes and the fence, but just to the right of those bushes is a little bridge that led right to us. Had she come down the bridge, she would have been right on us!
Wednesday we journeyed to Yosemite! It was a bit of a drive, but it was so worth it. Yosemite is just beautiful!
We got some lunch and then drove around on the buses and got a view of the valley. The kids loved the bus!
We hiked up to Lower Yosemite Falls. We saw a momma deer with two babies! That was a special treat!
Bella enjoyed her first hike!
The kids are carrying brown bags because we had them do a scavenger hunt on the way up to the falls. It made the hike fun, but super long, since they didn't understand that they didn't need to pick up every stick on the way. Just one.
Taking the bigger kids rock-hopping was super nostalgic! That was one of my favorite things to do as a kid and I have vivid memories doing it at Lower Yosemite Falls!
McKenna didn't hop the big rocks with us, but she found her own log to happily climb!
And while Bella took a snack break, we kept the kids busy making rock pets. Gotta plan ahead when we have impatient kiddos!
After dinner and ice cream, we headed back to the cabin. We were treated to a gorgeous dusk coming out of the valley! Oh, how I love this place! I can't wait to get to go back in a few weeks!!!
Nicole got a picture of this fella was just as we were leaving. And we almost hit a few deer as we were driving back. Glad Brian was awake!
June Lake, itself, doesn't have a lot to do, but it's a great jumping off point for adventures! Yosemite was within reasonable driving distance and Mammoth was very close too. So Thursday, we spent the day exploring Mammoth. We really had little idea what we would do there but ended up having an incredible experience!
One of our cutest travel companions!
We stopped at the Village at Mammoth for lunch. Best Mexican Food ever! Go to Gomez's if you are ever there! During the summer the Village has random games out for people to play as they walk around. The kids found a giant Jenga game.
We also found a ladder game, but the kids had a hard time throwing the bolas and decided they made better earmuffs!
After lunch, we took a gondola ride up to the top of the mountain. We didn't know how cool it would be but it was amazing! It felt like we were on top of the world! (It was crazy cold too! If you ever do this, take warm clothes!!)
Friday was going home day. We were sad to leave but it had been a full week. We are so thankful for good friends and the opportunity to make memories together!!