Last week while Scott was here we decided to make a brief trip to Fresno to visit some dear friends of ours, Jean, Debbie, and Pat. Once we got to Fresno we went straight to their children's bookstore. Its probably the best kids bookstore I've ever seen. Think Shop Around the Corner from You've Got Mail...only much better. The store is entirely kid centered, and the boooks are thoughtfully selected. I love it. Of course everybody in our family found a book or two they coudln't leave without. I even found a fabulous book that I can't wait to share with my classroom that is apparenlty out of print. The store had one copy left, and since I found it before Scott, it gets to come home with me! Yeah!
After spending a wonderful afternoon swimming, cooking out, and talking with friends, we got up the next morning and set out to meet some other friends of ours, Steve and Lisa and their two cute kids Audrey and Joseph. We loaded up the cars (Steve and Scott in one, and Lisa and I in another) and set off for the Kings Canyon and Sequoiah National Parks to see the "big trees."
We had a fabulous time. Personally, I thought the car ride up was just as fun as anything. Catching up with friends is always good, and a car ride to the mountains was the perfect opportunity. I'm certain Scott felt the same way about his time with Steve.
Once we got there and had lunch, we began to take the hike to through Grants Grove. There were several giant sequoias on this path. The kids looked with awe... well mostly. Emily didn't really think the trees were all that big. She wasn't nearly as impressed as I thought she would be. She kept telling me there certainly were bigger trees some place else. Finally, after assuring her that no, these were the biggest, she seemed to understand the importance. Elsie seemed to be very impressed with the "Big Tees! Big Tees!"
Emily had a great time hanging with Joseph. If only we lived closer. I'm sure these two would enjoy hanging out more.
The kids all loved running up and down the path with each other. Every once in awhile Eli would get a little too far in front of the group. Elsie handled it though. She would run up to him and yell, "Eyi! Stop!" Then she would grab him by the shirt and walk him back to the group. Poor Eli. I have a feeling there will be more of this bossiness to come.
Scott and I decided to drive the long way through the Sequoia National Park to get to Visalia, and then hit the 99 back to Bakersfield. This was a great trip. We loved the beautiful mountains, the foreign travlers, and the clean crisp air. We stopped several times to see the sights, and just take in the view. This one is of Emily is looking down at the Kings Canyon Park behind her, and the Sequoiah Park is on the other side of her. Simply beautiful! There was a controlled burn going on while we were there, so I feel like it probably wasn't as clear as other days. But still, it was amazing.
On the back side to Visalia we got stuck in a traffic jam for over an hour. Apparenlty there was road work where construction crews demolished one of the lanes for a ten mile stretch. These roads are the curviest roads you can imagine, so taking out a lane on a two-lane windy road must be dangerous work. We sat and waited for the hour, and then when it was finally time for us to, we had a pilot car take us down the mountain on a one-way stretch that rivaled the show Ice Road Truckers.
Luckily for us, our fearless driver got us all home safe!
It was a tremendous trip! We are so thankful our kids could see the "giant trees" even if only Emily remembers. I hope that we can return soon when they are a bit older. Its truly amazing to see such old, strong, beauty.