We headed a couple hours south to Yosemite National Park. We found a place to dry camp for free, just 5 minutes outside of the park. It was reassuring to see others doing the same. We had a three day pass to explore. We saw the highlights in the valley, El Capitan, the Half Dome, etc. We did a couple small hikes, the first day- Lower Falls trail and a meadow hike. The second day we spent some time at a little beach, unpacked some chicken salad and biscuits, and the kids played in the sand and water for hours. Because the water levels were so low we just hung out under the bridge.

The second day we hiked to Mirror Lake- unfortunately it was a pool filled by Glaciers that was pretty much completely dry at that point. We enjoyed the hiking and the beauty of the mountains, but would also love to come back in the Spring to see the beautiful waterfalls.

The meadow and half dome
A very dry Mirror Lake
Mountain grandeur and a rock to climb on

Our last night we ran out of propane in the trailer and spent a prepared, but chilly night. We planned to get up early the next day anyway, so we had our cold cereal, and headed an hour south to Mariposa Grove, in Yellowstone Park. The Sequoia trees were there and I wanted to see them! We got there in time for Luke to have a work call, but then found out it was cancelled, so we started hiking. We did NOT realize before arriving that it was a 2 mile hike just to get IN to the grove, with additional hikes from there. We questioned ourselves briefly, put some chocolate in a backpack, and plunged in woods with our kids, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8, in tow. The three oldest kids all have hiking backpacks with water pouches and they stay well hydrated. Clara too, our youngest is constantly filling up on water from Luke's water bladder. Such a fun way to hydrate ;).

We started hiking about 11 AM and after a mostly uphill climb, arrived at the Grizzly Giant around 1:30 PM which was another 0.7 or so miles from the beginning of the grove.

These kids were troopers. It was probably the longest consecutive hike we had done to date and was probably hardest on Pierce. Clara often wants to walk more but I try to keep her in a carrier so we can make time. For the 2 + miles back Pierce rode on Luke's shoulders and we booked it back in just over an hour, appreciating the downhill slope. We didn't mind getting into the car for the rest of the day, with a stop for propane and groceries before our next campsite.

Our next destination: Shaver Lake.