Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Week Long California Trip

On Friday afternoon, mid July 2 families loaded up their 10 kids, 4 adults and all their luggage into a 15 passenger van and headed for the Sierra Mountains. 
Cody Goodfellows, Dad, own a mine and we had planned to make that our 1st stop of this week long trip. 

Due to a road washing out and few detours our 1st night on the road we didn't arrive to the cabin until after 1 in the morning instead of 11pm like we had thought. 

Saturday morning was a beautiful day at the mine. We walked and walked and walked enjoying the beauty around us. Some of the girls; Emily, Madelyn, Jenna, Secoya, Savanna and Gracie

Cody had wanted to take us on a pretty fancy hike but the bridge over the water had washed out! Thats just a portion of the bridge behind Hunter. 

So beautiful! 

There were 3 seperate ponds that all fed into each other in front of the cabin.

One of the outside games to play was horse shoes.

We were surrounded by streams and rivers. 

The kids were so excited to play in the water!

 I made little miss wear her life jacket.
Although it was mid July the tops of the mountains still had snow and ice glaciers on top of them. The run off is what filled the ponds. 
To say the water was cold was a understatement!

We were also given a tour of the mine. 
We saw some old trains and other mining paraphanilia. 

 On Sunday morning we drove 45 min to church where we attended a super small branch. Smaller than Alton's ward even. We had 4 of the 6 youth present that day. Their Primary is split up into 2 classes. In R.S and Sunday School there were about 10 of us but half of us were visitors. It was interesting to see.  That afternoon we sat around playing card games, went on a walk and Little Miss here decided to test the water to see if it was still cold. It was! 
 Bright and early Monday morning we loaded the van and hit the road to our next destination, Yosemite National Park!

Beautiful place! Everyone kept telling me Yosemite was like Zion. I guess there are some similarities but Zion you can drive through in about 45min with traffic. Yosemite takes hours, and I mean hours to drive through without traffic! We spent most of our day in the van but we did make 3 stops. Our first was for a potty break. Had to get a picture of the river. 
More than an hour later we stopped for our first hike. Despite the smoke from the nearby fires we were able to enjoy ourselves.  Emily had been feeling a little car sick and so her and I walked behind everyone else while she got her bearings back. She was my model for the day. 

Look at our Dad and that tree! 

That right there is a Secouia Tree. 
Kylie, Savanna, Jace, Hunter, Brayden, Secoya, Jenna, Gracie, Emily and Madelyn
All 10 kids! 

Some of these tree's were just massive! 

The next tree was even bigger! This tree had been hallowed out to allow horses pulling carts and carriages to pass through. 

Dad and Emily

My girls

The girth of the tree is so big that all 10 kids and both dads fit inside.

Kylie loves purple. She was so excited to find purple flowers. 

The hike was only about a mile and a half down. And it was ALL downhill! Hiking back up was a killer on our calfs. It wasn't the easiet getting everyone back up. 

How great it is to be the littlest and get piggy back rides!
She has the best Daddy!

By the time we got back to the car everyone was ready to rest their weary legs. Good thing since we sat there for another 4 hours while driving through the park. We came to the main station where there are several hikes, hotels and restaraunts but we could NOT find any parking so we continued our drive through the park. 

Near the exit of the park we came across another parking lot and decided to stop and check it out. There was a short and pretty easy hike we could do but we'd have to take the 10 min tram to get there as there was no parking. So we did!

Although we are sitting it's so nice to be out of the 15 passenger van and have more room!
Kylie and Emily.


Jenna, Secoya and Cody

Brayden, Hunter and Jace

These Secoya trees are so huge!
That's my little man, Brayden. 

Miss Kylie 

Had to take a picture of the pretty wild life. 

This massive tree fell hundreds of years ago. It was so, so tall. 

Look at the roots on that thing! 

These 2 needed to stop and take a break along the way.  

Soon we found the Grizzly Giant! 

My pictures just don't do it justice in showing how big these trees are. 
Just a little ways more and we came across the Enduring Giant. It is as tall as the Statue of Liberty!

 Kory tired taking a picture of Emily and I standing in front of it and he couln't get the whole tree in the frame!

Kory and I 

When we made it back to our van we left Yosemite National Park and drove to Santa Cruz where we were staying for the night.  Tuesday we needed a break from the van so stayed pretty close to the Goodfellow's cousins house who let us sleep at their house for 2 nights. 
Our first stop for the day was The Mystery Spot,a gravitaion anomaly that kept the miles on our faces and us laughing at each other. 

You think you're standing straight but those around you say you aren't???

Who knew you could stand on the edge of the table and lean forward without falling off?

Miss Kylie can't stand straight either!

Emily trying to do pull ups.

At the beginning of this little excersise 6 volunteers stand on a board from tallest to shortest. 
It's pretty obvious to see the shortest to the tallest. But then the volunteers swap sides and guess what? They are all the same height!
Pretty Cool! 

Why can't you just stand straight and tall? 

There was another are where the same little excersise can be done
Kylie is obviously quite shorter than Brayden. 

But when they switch sides they are almost the same height.

This tree has been growing right on the edge of the Mysetery Spot. Look at it's stump. It was growing straight and then the Mystery Spot played havoc and it grew sidways but then it straightened itself out again. 

This was such a fun place to be. I'd love to go back again. 

After the Mystery Spot we spent the rest of the day at the beach!
The boys built forts and raced the waves. The race was to see if the boys could get the fort built BEFORE it was washed away. I'g going to say the waves won more than these silly boys. 

The weater was just perfect! At home our temps were over 100 degrees and here in California it was mid 80's. It felt so good! 

These 2, 14 year old girls are so funny. They spent hours trying to make a heart shape with their hair and bodies. We really didn't see hearts but we sure got some good mo hawks!

Hunter was a good sport and let the little girls bury him in the sand.  

It was a great sun and sand filled afternoon.  

 Wednesday our plan was to hit the boardwalk small amusement park. However talking to our hosts they told us about another place, California's Great America. It's bigger than the Boardwalk, has longer hours, has rides for both little and big kids and was only $10 more a ticket. So we went that route! My little ones really thought we were back in Disney Land. We had the best time! 

Like most amusement parks there are big kid sections and little kid sections. I spent most of my day hanging out in the little kids section. There were several times that Kory and I swaped so that I could go ride some awesome rides with my big kids. 

Kylie and Savanna were best buds.

After a few hours Brayden was ready to join us and ride the smaller rides.  

Bumper cars were quite the hit. 
I lost track the number of times the kids drove themselves around.  

 We even saw a few characters walking around.  
Gold Striker! An old wooden, rockety roller coaster. 
These 2 loved it, while Dad said, never again!

Kylie and Dad driving an old car along the track. 

This was the littles favorite roller coaster. They did it over and over and over again. 

This theme park has a water park inside. After lunch the kiddo's grabbed their swim suits and we went their first. Both Kory and I were wishing we had brought our swim suits in too. We had no idea how how big the water park was. These kids favorite was the lazy river!

Emily was great at keeping track of Kylie. Kylie is so short that she always looked like she was about to drown. 

When the kiddo's were done with the water we went back to the rides!

I found the big kids once and snapped a picture to prove they were with us this day! The older 3 stayed together and just went from ride to ride without us adults. They had a great time!

This place was seriously the best. I think I'd rather come here than DisneyLand again. The lines were almost non existent, granted we were here in the middle of the week. I also felt there were more rides for those under 46". And the water park was seriously so much fun. I wish I had taken more pictures but.... water and my camera don't exactly work together very well. 

Sequoia National Park
Thursday morning our vaction was coming to an end and we started to make our way back home. We left Santa Cruz and made our way to Seuquoia National Park. 

We were so ready to get out of the car by the time we got there.

 More big trees!

Beautiful lady! 

Look at the girth on the fallen tree! 

I have never seen so many tall and beautiful trees! 

 Not just tall but wide too!

My kiddo's! 

Love the sun glares in the middle of the forest.  

Jenna, Seqoya, Hunter giving Gracie a piggy back ride and Jace.

Loved this rock. Made us think of an elephant! 
We had so much fun visiting these awesome national parks. They are just so gorgeous, green and cooler temps than what we are use to. There was almost a reverant peace when walking. There were a ton of kids around yet no one was running, yelling or screaming after each other. No one was playing tag. In fact quite often kids were walking around with their arms folded next to their families. It was so peaceful. It's hard to describe. I loved every minute we were there!

When we left we made our way to Bakersfield were we got a hotel for the night. 

Gracie and Hunter 

By the end of our trip....
 Hunter had become quite the "chick magnet" to the young ladies in our group. 
 Hunter and Jenna

Hunter and Savanna 

Hunter and Jenna again.

 This was the favorite activity for the night! The kids never got tired of Kory "kicking"
them into the pool.

To soon the night came to and end and we all went to bed. The next morning we were out by 9 and started our 6 hour drive home. We had a great week with our friends, visiting an old mine, going to the beach, The Mystery Spot, 2 National Parks and an unexpected theme park. It was definetely a fun packed week!