Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


For the next 7 days, I’ll post a one day re-cap of our camping trip to Yosemite each day.

For the record, here’s the trip by the numbers:

  • 1 truck, dog, hammock, and kayak.
  • 2 number of kids who had the first ever camping trip
  • 3 tents
  • 4 hikes and different river locations where the kayak went floating
  • 5 1/2 waterfalls
  • 6 blocks of ice
  • 7 people, suitcases, sleeping bags, and bikes.
  • 8 days gone
  • 16 gb worth of photos shot
  • 17 miles on foot
  • 28 ice cream cones
  • 1046 miles via truck
DAY 1:

We drove from San Diego to Wawona Campground in Wawona, CA within the bounds of Yosemite National Park, about 40 minutes south of the valley floor.

We left at 4:45am and arrived about 2:30pm to what was a beautiful riverside camp location along the south fork of the Merced River. Shannon and I have been to Yosemite several times in high school with our youth group or families and then we went once on an anniversary day trip, but this was the first time for TJ, Ty, and Jake. It was also Becky and Billy’s first ever camping trip and our whole tribe’s first time in this campground.

We had to explain to Becky and Billy that camping was in a “cloth house” and that we’d be coming “home” again as this was their first and longest trip away from our house since arriving nearly 6 months ago. They had so much fun and learned to enjoy the river, go for walks, see waterfalls, check out the giant redwoods, eat smores, and enjoy the great outdoors.

So here’s the first day in some pics:

Riding with 3 six year-olds across the middle and the two big kids piled through the window in the “cage” as it has been dubbed.

Arriving at our campsite with all our gear still intact thanks to the miracle of my Ford F350, Yakima racks, and bungee cords.

We set up camp and tried our our Christmas gift from papa ken: bunk bed cots. Yep, bunk bed cots. They are both awesome and maybe 150lbs a piece. No joke. I think the ground begged for mercy when I set them up, but the kids loved them and they make for a spacious tent.
It didn’t take long for kids to need to dive into the river as it was HOT outside and the river was COLD! Shannon and Zeus settled and the kids and I worked a little on a dam.
We capped the day off with a taco salad and double-fisting some smores 🙂
Finally, I fell asleep to the sound of the river rushing by my ears less than 30 feet away. Oh…. so sweet. What a great start to a great week.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Mercy was surely granted. The cots may have seemed like a crazy idea, but I’m glad the kids liked them. The weight was surely equalized by the fourth tent you didn’t have to haul or cover up more ground space with. To say nothing of the camaraderie. Glad you had a great time, and sorry we didn’t get to come up for a day to join you. How do you define a half of a waterfall? Love, Papa Ken

  2. I think they all would have fit in the tent, just a little less floor space. Finding a spot for the tent would be hard, but they weigh more than a tent a piece. They are crazy heavy. But they were enjoyed. I think it’s time for a tent upgrade or two though. We saw one from REI that several people had that we loved and I think are gonna save up to try and get two of. They have tons of head room, a small footprint, and with the bunk cots, will give us plenty of space for lots of kiddos.

    As for the half a waterfall…. They define Yosemite falls into two parts… upper and lower… so rather than giving it a 2 water fall status… I’m giving it 1.5 🙂

    love you guys. Can’t wait to hear the stories and see the pics.

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