Groveland, CA 11/16/07
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Our last few days in Yosemite. We’ve had a great time here. It’s beautiful, and the weather has been really nice. Cold but sunny days, every day. It was a wonderful place to spend Thanksgiving.

Apparently, a lot of people like to spend Thanksgiving camping because the campground, which only had a few of us earlier in the week, filled up. We got some new neighbors the day before Thanksgiving- a California couple with a teenage daughter. They fought like crazy. The wife screamed at the husband, the kid screamed at the dad, the wife screamed at the kid, the dad looked at us like, “could I please stay with you guys for awhile”. On Thanksgiving Day the husband set up the satellite so they could watch TV and everything became quiet and peaceful. We were all truly thankful.

We’re not sure what traditions our neighbors were following, but we followed some of our usual ones. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade off and on while we made a huge mess cooking way too much of our favorite Thanksgiving food. The absence of healthy vegetables on the menu was noted, but quickly forgotten. No room for things like that on a day like this. In the late afternoon we sat down to dinner and listened to Alice’s Restaurant while we ate turkey, mashed potatoes, Trav’s homemade gravy, etc. etc. etc. until we were stuffed. We were actually a little surprised at how well things turned out, given that our usual contribution to the Thanksgiving table is fruit salad, and that’s about it - maybe we brought olives once. Our moms taught us well, though, so we did just fine. We did find that after years of training in big Thanksgiving feast preparation, it was kind of hard to determine the scale on a dinner for two. Consequently, our Thanksgiving leftovers should last us through the rest of winter.

The day after Thanksgiving we woke up to find that our water was completely frozen. It’s been in the 20’s here overnight and in the mornings- gets into the mid 50’s during the day. We decided to take a trip into town while things thawed.

We drove up to Jamestown- a historic gold rush town. We stumbled upon the Railtown Museum there, where they were giving rides on their steam train. It runs only a few months out of the year, and only Thanksgiving weekend during November- so we kind of lucked out there. It was a short trip, but it’s definitely not something you get to do every day. Oh, and Santa Claus was on the train too- he just can’t stay away from those photo ops.

After Jamestown we drove up to the Mercer caves, which were really beautiful. It’s a vertical cave so you climb down 16 stories worth of stairs and then all the way back up. It was worth it, though.

Now, we’re coming to the end of our stay here. We’re kind of sad to leave. Like we said earlier, this has been a great place to spend Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the season we’ve been reflecting on the things that we’re grateful for. Being away from home and in a place like this really adds to that feeling of gratitude. We’re missing our family and friends every day, and that has made us even more grateful for them. Days of climbing up and down mountain trails has made us keenly aware of and very happy for our health. Lastly, to have this incredible opportunity to travel and see beautiful places like this- there are just no words.