Rafting the American and Exploration through Yosemite

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Rafting the American and Exploration Through Yosemite

What an exciting last week! We made the long drive to the American River in the morning where temperatures reached 105 degrees on the river. However, being on the river saved us from the scorching heat. We went through some really exciting Class 3 rapids. Malcom had some funny poses as we rafted past the cameraman who was stationed at the largest rapid while holding onto the “bull” of the raft. All of us had an incredible time on the river. One of the most memorable things that happened was at lunch where the raft guides, Tyler and Bubba, helped Simon prank myself and JJ by offering us sunscreen that was actually mayonaise! Our faces smelled like mayonaise the rest of the day and I’m still seeking revenge on Simon… The silly raft guides just couldn’t get enough and got us again when at 3AM they turned on the sprinklers at our campsite getting us all wet.

After rafting the American, we departed to our campsite right outside Yosemite at Diamond O Campgrounds. Here, we celebrated Alex and Dexter’s birthdays with cupcakes. We tricked them by buying the candles that don’t blow out, which was good for some laughs. Also, our cook crew, commonly known as the “super sausage fiesta cook crew”, consisting of Alex, Ben, JJ and Dexter made a feast, which included a bacon weave and chicken stir fry! We were VERY well fed before entering the backcountry.

We started the first day at Bridalveil Creek where Henry fearlessly led the whole group for most of the trail. The second day all the kids will agree was the toughest day of hiking on the trip. JJ did an incredible job setting a high pace in front and helped keep the others entertained with his high spirits and chatter. The following days the kids started realizing how much stronger they were getting…and they weren’t lying! We were hiking at a faster pace every day as the trip went on making Abigail and myself very proud. Since we were hiking at such a high pace, we were able to get to campsites earlier, giving us more free time to relax. Many of the kids’ favorite campsite on the trip was at Buena Vista Lake where we camped within 50 feet of one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. Simon was so impressed he claimed he would build a house here if he could. 

The lake was awesome and really boosted the groups’ spirits. After swimming a bit, (witnessing Caroline and Abigail’s impressive butterfly stroke) we started “Assasins” Game around the campfire. Your kids will tell you all about how the game works, but the funniest moment thus far was when Dexter stole Abigail’s toothbrush, forcing her to brush her teeth with her finger and consequently getting her out of the game. Also, today was Alex and Dexter’s birthday, so they were co-leaders of the day and traded off carrying the WV Banner. Alex’s funny jokes while searching for people’s Mac and Cheese in their bear cans was so funny it made Abigail and I cry of laughter. We both think Alex would make a great comedian someday. 

While many of the kids were swimming, Toby was beating everyone at cards – I’ll need to bring him to Vegas with me! Our final campsite at Illouette Creek was another favorite among the kids. We camped on high cliffs near the creek that had a waterfall in it, which made the campsite really special. After our longest day of hiking, there was nothing better than to cool off in the creek. It was so nice we had to drag Dexter out if there after having so much fun playing in the water. On this night we even saw some deer(with VERY large racks) and Paige provided some cool facts about them. On our final hike out, Caroline helped lead the way on the highest grade hike we have done. As we left the backcountry today, we decided to go on one more day hike on the beautiful Mist Trail. Although tired after backpacking over 30 miles the last 5 days, the kids were resilient and because of their positive attitudes we were able to see a wonderful waterfall off the trail. Ben’s jokes along the trail kept spirits high for the entire group. 

Needless to say, Abigail and I are extremely proud of the group. They have all grown tremendously and now have successfully conquered the backcountry portion of this trip. Now off to the coast for sea kayaking and surfing!