Summer vacation. It means so much for so many people. When I was a kid our summer vacation trips included a trip to Sequoia, a trip or two to the beach, a bus ride to Magic mountain, or even just an occasional night at Dodger stadium to watch a baseball game. What made our vacation plans interesting was that we didn’t own a car. Much of our travel was either via city transit or by a Greyhound bus. I remember one summer my dad renting a hotel for a few days with a pool in Hollywood where we lived as a family. I have to give my dad credit. He did make some small feeble attempts at making our trips fun. At this one particular hotel I remember him having us dive for pennies. Of course being the oldest of three boys it was my duty to kick everyones butt. I was bigger, stronger, and faster. Sometimes our trips we’re wonderful, other times they included a couple of the usual things that happen in unique family systems.
As I write this and reflect on the theme of summer vacations I tear up thinking about and replaying every trip we’ve ever taken as a family as far back as I could remember. Trips to Disneyland, to the beach, camping trips, and even our cross country trips back and forth while I was attending seminary and while we were living back in New Jersey. I even remember road trips that we would make to visit friends and family in Southern California while serving at a church in Northern California.
This past week our family had the chance to take a trip to Yosemite as a way to kick off the summer. It’s a trip that we’ve taken before. It’s a family favorite. As a matter of fact I think I’ve gone to Yosemite off and on since Middle School. Our oldest kids have gone to Yosemite as participants in Yosemite’s Outdoor Education Program. I’ve gone with youth groups and with church groups. My wife and I even went when we were first married almost 22 years ago. The place we usually stay at is Curry Village. Its simple and affordable. Everything is a walk, a hike, or a tram ride away. The cabin tents aren’t the Ritz but it meets the need for being able to sleep somewhere.
This year’s trip was special because it was an opportunity to be together as a family before our oldest goes off to college at DePaul University in the Fall. It was also a chance for us to spend time together given some hectic summer schedules that await us as a family this summer. We had a great time and it was a chance for us to make some new memories as our oldest makes a very important transition in his own life as a young adult and a follower of Jesus.
We really did enjoy our time. We did the usual things you do on a camping trip. We went rafting, did some hiking, even saw a couple of the shows sponsored by the park and we of course ate as much as we could. It was also a chance for my wife to be with her boys.
What made this trip even more interesting was that we had discussed the possibility of climbing Half Dome. If you’ve done the hike up Half Dome you know it isn’t an easy hike. It’s something you need to be in shape for physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My kids are in pretty good shape. As for me? I did lose some weight, I did some walking, and changed my diet some about a month prior to the trip. Was I totally confident I could do the hike? Nope, but I was determined. We did make it of course. Thank God!
More to come. After my calfs heal up just a little tiny bit more.