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This summer, my family and I went to go visit my grandmother, Nana, in Lancaster, California. Ever since I was a baby, my family and I had made several trips out to California to see Nana. However, this year was different because both of my siblings now have their own homes and because my grandmother, Mamie, had just died earlier in the year, which put some urgency on visiting Nana who was 88 at the time.
My mom, dad, and I flew out a few days early to spend some time with Nana and to get everything ready for our weeklong trip up to the cabin in Mammoth, California. Once everyone was in Lancaster, we rented a 15 passenger van, and all eight of us piled in to make the five hour trek up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains where we got settled into the cabin on the shore of Lake Mary, elevation 9,000 feet. The trip to Mammoth was filled with climbing at Red Rock Canyon, dam building at Independence, picture taking, fun, crazy games of Catch Phrase, and watching the scenery and animals. Once at Mammoth, we spend the first three days sight seeing because Katie and Mike had never been to this area before. We went to the Hot Creek with its water heated by volcanic activity, an earthquake fault with snow in the crack, 60 feet below the surface (which was good for a snowball fight in July, especially exciting for us, Floridians), Rainbow Falls that created little rainbows in the mist of the cascading water, Devil’s Postpile with its interesting hexagonal columns formed by lava and a glacier, and the “Hole in the Wall” with its dusty, steep drop navigated only on one’s posterior, which made for holey jeans at the finish. After the first few exciting and exhausting days, we had more time to relax and fish. Trout fishing takes a special knack, special bait, and lots of patience. Speaking of fishing, I was woken up at six o’clock every morning by the boys going to fish in the lake. We girls did our fair share of fishing, as well. It looked like our traditional fish fry on Friday might be in jeopardy until the fish began to bite like crazy on Thursday. At night, we shared fun games, gourmet dinners cooked by my brother (with the help of all the other ‘kids’), stargazing, campfires, smores, and episodes of NCIS, which capped off our fun-filled days at the cabin.
The last two whirl-wind days took us through Yosemite National Park where we saw Bridal Veil Falls and El Capitan. Then into the San Francisco Bay area where we took a mini tour to see a few of the famous sites such as, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and Fishman’s Wharf. We did all of this before piling in the van again to drive to a hotel in the Monterey Bay area. After about five hours of sleep, we took a quick hike at Point Lobos to see the wild sea lions and sea otters. Then, the ‘kids’ spent some time in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, before meeting up for a walk down Cannery Row. Back in the van for another long drive along the coast with more games, NCIS episodes in our mini, moving theater, and a whale and a dolphin sighting. As Jonathan ‘flew’ down the coastline to the Long Beach Airport, Mike put all the pictures in a digital picture frame for Nana so that she can share with friends the beautiful pictures and fun memories from this family trip.