Four hours of driving. Three babes. Two nights. One tent.
The odds were against us.
I am not exactly sure why I was so optimistic. It might be that I have adventurous mom friends; maybe I just enjoy pushing the limits. Whatever the case, I had a brilliant idea to go camping and visit Yosemite. It would save us money and give us an idea of what we were capable of!
The odds of a successful camping trip were not exactly in our favor.
To list a few:
The kids HATE the car. The campground was 3 hours way. Yosemite was an additional hour.
We have 3 kids under the age of 4.
Last time we camped (just us) was when August was 9 months old. That was also our first time.
The campground was full.
Josh cares about dirt and I don’t.
We were outnumbered.
To be perfectly real, having 3 young kids so close in age is hard enough at home. I am always defusing fires and playing catch-up. That is with electricity, wifi, running water, a microwave, and all the other comforts that we were leaving behind.
We found a campground with a site or two left and booked our adventure! I made a detailed list of meals, packing, and things to do. I made a schedule of the hikes I wanted to do, the distance they were from the campground, the distance of the hikes, and the days we should do them on. Everything works better with a plan and a list.
We were ready to go.
Of course, no adventure is complete with out road bumps.
We forgot to fill up!
The drive there went freakishly well. I honestly can’t believe how smooth and ENJOYABLE it was. We made one pitstop. That was it. On that pit stop we were supposed to get gas. I guess we got overwhelmed with the HUGE Bass Pro Shop we stopped in. We discovered our folly when we were out in the middle of nowhere and the gas light came on. The nearest gas station was 20 miles towards our destination. We had no choice but to push through. Soon, we came to a sign that read : TURN OFF A/C FOR THE NEXT 5 MILES.
I have never in my life read a sign that says that. As I was pondering why a sign would say that, we came to a road that pointed UP. We were so close to the gas station. It was too late to turn around, so up we went. This road rises 1700 ft. in elevation in 2 miles. It’s nicknamed “Rattlesnake Hill”.
It took 5 minutes for our temp gauge to creep half way up to hot. Our gas gauge started dropping. The road hugs a mountain, so there is no where to pull over or turn around (hence the sign). It was a very tense 5 miles. BEAUTIFUL, but tense. We later found out that we didn’t have to take that road, but it being the shorter of two routes meant it was the GPS’ choice.
The good news was there was a gas station at the top of the hill! WHEW.
Beyond the gas station was the campground!
We pulled up with our tank full and our bellies grumbling.
It was 90 degrees. No shade, hungry toddlers, hungry baby, and we had to set up our massive tent. Turns out our site did have a little secret shade spot that the screaming baby, whinny toddlers and I picnicked at while Josh set up camp. At this point my optimistic attitude fell. I realized that reality hits hard.
After lunch and setting up we were all drenched in sweat–especially Josh. The idea of jumping in a nice cold body of water sounded delightful! I grabbed my beautiful list, that by some miracle I remembered to bring, and looked it over. First on my list was a hike to a breath-taking lake. Lovely! However, the directions were not pulling up. After a few minutes of research, I discovered that road was closed. That road also held 3 other hikes I was planning on us going on. Apparently, there was a late snow that still had not melted yet. Half of my list was instantly scratched out. The nearest accessible lake was an hour and a half away and it was already 4 PM; our window was closed. Josh suggested we swim in the pool. I was so disappointed! I put a lot of hard work into making this list. We could swim in a pool any day; we came to have fun in YOSEMITE!
It seems like a pretty silly attitude to have had. Honestly, it really was–but that was how I felt. I suddenly realized how terrible this could all turn out–what a mistake this could all turn out to be. What if Ellie or Harris pulled an all-nighter? What if the meltdowns never stopped? I also realized that I needed to change my attitude–now–or I would start the trip bitter before anything really bad happened.
It actually turned out to be an amazing few days. The kids slept GREAT. They certainly did not sleep through the night, but they fell right back to sleep after water, nursing, or whatever else. Yosemite was beautiful–absolutely extraordinary. Our first glance took our breath away. Although we didn’t do half of what I wanted, the trip was still great.
I would definitely call it a HUGE success. It went so much better then I could have hoped for.
Don’t get me wrong. We had plenty of meltdowns, a few wipeouts, and Auggie is firmly at the “Are we there yet?” stage. We spent a majority of the time chasing kids and keeping them from harm; repeating myself 50 times in 1 minute; asking Ellie what was she crying about; reminding the kids not to use bathroom words, but “boogers” and “stinky feet” are allowed. Over all, it was a wonderful trip.
I did learn a few lessons:
I need to go at my family’s pace and not the pace I want to go.
I have to remember to enjoy the small triumphs and not dwell on the disappointments.
I must make sure we fill up before starting a road trip.
When it all comes down to it, I am elated that we had such a great camping trip, even though the odds were against us.