Week 23 – Great National Parks of the West

We have now commenced the part of our trip that once upon a time made Mieke and myself fall in love with the raw natural beauty of the United States. We were awed by Yosemite National Park, which easily catapulted itself to the top of our list of favourite parks and which is an absolute must do for anyone visiting California! We are now dozing away at Kings Canyon National Park, making sure to enjoy one of the most beautiful campsites that we have thus far been lucky enough to have been assigned. Campfire, marshmallows, BBQ and cold beer. To quote an older gentlemen sitting by the river in Yosemite Valley: “It doesn’t get any better than this, my friend.” How right he is!

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Gabriel offered to write a guest entry to contribute to this week’s post. Since I am opposed to censorship, I will give you his contribution unaltered, however, would like to use my editorial powers to offer you my opinion of his comments:

I agree that I have a minor form of OCD. I would personally argue that, given the necessity for order when living in a motorhome, this is to the benefit of all, but will accept that I can get carried away. I would further argue that it’s not my fault that Gabriel’s (man) purse contains more items than Mieke’s and that he has a tendency to leave his things lying about! I will also oppose that I elegidly complain as much as he does. My wife was so kind to describe this as simply delusional. Couldn’t have put it any better myself.

Other than that, it’s been an absolutely lovely time together with Gabriel!! Routines have quickly established themselves and it feels like we have been on joint holidays many times before. My hugs and kisses to our adopted Meyer!

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Hey everyone, I want to share some of my experiences with the Meyers. I’m a proud part of this lovely family, but as I tried to explain to Benni, I’m not born wired like a Meyer, though it seems I’ve become it more and more during my life with them.

There are of course some things that are annoying, like with any roommates, especially with Tim (he complains at least as much as me, I will not quote him, that would take up too much space).

For example, if you leave something unused and unattended for 3-5 seconds somewhere in the RV, it will disappear and will resurface in the appropriate box or drawer, even when Tim is driving!
This drives Mieke, the kids and me crazy! How he does it? Nobody knows…

Everything else works really well, the children give everyday a little twist, but for the most part, it’s like having 2 really nice little teammates on board. I think I have to thank Mieke at this point, she keeps them in check and lets Tim and me take a couple of hikes alone. Mieke, I love you, you’re the best, I would really not survive a day with these 2 boys and to share a thought that I have from time to time: It looks so easy and natural, but that is definitely a trap!

Tim’s hiking speed is more from the category of “slow jogging” than walking, which gave me the impression that I’m super slow. But I appreciate the push to get to my limits!

The cooking is amazing, it’s like having a Friday dinner everyday, just with less people! Mieke/Tim, I’m speechless! 😊😘

So, all in all, I’m with 4 people that I love from the bottom of my heart and I enjoy every second of this! Thanks for having me and especially for having you as family!

– Gabriel

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Our week in bullet points:

  • We had the best BBQ of our trip at Copper Top BBQ. Must stop should you ever travel the eastern Sierra Nevada. The pulled pork! The ribs! The chicken!
  • We stopped over at Inyo National Forest and discovered the best maintained public campground of our trip. David Mac, the volunteer campground host, was simply incredible. The campsites were spotless and equipped with two gallons of water for extinguishing our campfire. He further entertained us with jokes and a real quiz that we successfully mastered and that was rewarded with a present bag containing a JoJo and self made candles. We repaid his hospitality with a bowl of pasta with my very own Bolognese sauce. It just makes such a difference if people are kind from the bottom of their hearts. Thank you, David!
  • We jointly hiked the Lombard Dome in northern Yosemite (6km, 280m elevation).
  • Gabriel and I hiked to Yosemite Peak via the Upper Yosemite Falls (13.5km, 950m elevation). As the falls had already dried out we dangled our feet in one of the pools that remained in the river bed. Benni meanwhile took part in a ranger led nature walk learning about the parks plants and animals. I was lucky to be back in time for his swering in ceremony. He now officially is a Junior Ranger! Baammmm!
  • We (less Gabriel, who had to attend to his injuries) hiked to the Nevada Falls. We had originally planned to turn around at Vernal Falls (4km roundtrip), but Benni urged us to push on. So we ended up doing a total 12.6km with a 650m elevation gain. The whole hike took us eight hours. Benni was the hero of the day. He was applauded and high fived all along the way. We were simply proud to have two such amazing outdoorsy kids. Benni, Alex – we love you!
  • We drove to Kings Canyon National Park, where we have been staying at Cedar Grove for the past three days. Knackered from Yosemite, we have used our time here to recuperate: Mieke and Gabriel enjoyed the sun, the boys have been playing Duplo together admirably on their outdoor patio carpet, and I have been relaxing in the hammock with my feet dangling in the children’s pool. Living up to his duties as newly instated Junior Park Ranger, Benni spent our entire time here scouting the campground for even the smallest pieces of trash. The first night and today at lunch, we made use of a lovely little snack bar located on the river, right across from our campground.
  • Finally, I made sure to hike to Lookout Peak to be rewarded with a stunning view of the entire canyon (17.5km, 1.300m elevation gain).

Next stop: Sequoia National Park.

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