Vanny and Junior first proposed the idea of a cousins’ trip to Yosemite. We’d all been camping as a group; the previous time being in 2006. Everyone was interested. Seven of us cousins were in. Adding plus ones, the group quickly doubled.
Junior, Vanny’s boyfriend, took the lead in organizing the trip. He reserved two sites at Hodgdon Meadows campground as soon as reservations opened up. He seemed a little bummed, because he wanted to get campsites in Yosemite Valley rather than at the northwest edge of the park (a 45 minute drive away). I was happy. Our campsites were numbers 30 and 31.
By March, we were ironing out some details. At least we tried to. Discussions over food and transportation (who’s going to drive?) quickly devolved into shouting matches. It wasn’t that we were mad at each other, that’s just the way we communicate.
Up until two weeks before departure, we were still finalizing the group. A few people backed out due to work and other obligations. Soon we were down to 13 (four people are missing from the group above).
We met up in Hacienda Heights at my mom’s house early Sunday morning. Call time was 4 am, but we didn’t get cars loaded, burritos made, and cars fueled until shortly before 6. We had a long road trip and wanted to get started before it got too warm. We split up in to 3 trucks/SUVs loaded down with camping equipment and coolers filled with food:
Cholos 101 – Junior, Vanny, Lori and Valerie
Mocos 414 – Nancy, Rene, Vero, Sean and me
Pimps on a Mission – Adrian, Alexis, De’Shaun and Jen
And we were off. The road trip was uneventful. Vero, Sean and I played Scrabble as we drove through various Central Valley towns. I won. We made a couple of pit stops. As we got to Yosemite, I brought out the bacon-flavored potato chips another cousin had brought with her after her post-college graduation European tour. They were delicious.
Around 1 or 2, we arrived to Yosemite National Park. We stopped in Wawona to go to the visitor’s center. Afterward, we drove in to gridlocked Yosemite Valley, home to iconic views of El Capitan, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. We all gasped as soon as these breathtaking monuments came in to view. I love Ansel Adams’ Yosemite landscapes, but they’re poor substitutions for the real thing. Like good tourists, Vero, Nancy and Sean snapped photos of the breathtaking granite formations. I sat in my middle seat, tired, grumpy and jealous that I could barely see much.
We hung out in Yosemite Valley for half an hour before reading the visitor’s guide and realizing we could buy ice and fire wood at the gas station in Crane Flat, only 8 miles from our campground.
We drove to Hodgdon Meadows and set up camp. As soon as the tents were up and food was unloaded we made dinner (spaghetti). It was the perfect way to carb load for our 6+ mile hike the next day to Nevada Falls.