The Indian tribe that lived in Yosemite Valley were called the Ahwahnechee, meaning “the dwellers of Ahwahnee.” The literal translation of Ahwahnee was “large mouth,” referring to the way the valley walls looked like the open mouth of a grizzly bear. The name Yosemite however, comes from the Miwok tribe’s word Yohhe’meti, meaning “those who kill.” It was the name they used when referring to the renegade Ahwahnechee tribe, known for their violence even by the other local tribes. Ironically, the men responsible for naming the valley confused the Miwok word isumat’i (Grizzly bear) with Yohhe’meti (the killers) and the name stuck.
Yosemite has been on our bucket list for a long time. Even though it isn’t really anywhere close to Tuba City, we had a week off and decided we might never be closer. Our truck was having fuel system issues, so we were stuck pulling the little camper with the Flex. This made the trip much slower and way less fuel efficient, but it was our only shot at Yosemite. We stopped at the Sequoia National Park along the way and camped at Lake Kaweah. The campground there was beautiful with huge boulders and wildflowers scattered all over the hillsides. The kids were in heaven and never wanted to leave. We were somewhat disappointed with the Sequoia National Park though, I think because we recently visited the Redwoods, which are nothing short of magical. The thing about the Redwoods is that almost the ENTIRE forest is Redwood trees, so you feel incredibly small walking among these towering giants. The Sequoias are much fewer and farther in between, so it was a little underwhelming. We spent one more night at Lake Kaweah so the kids could enjoy nature’s playground and then headed to Yosemite. Unfortunately, rain appeared in the forecast for the next two days. We did what we could when it wasn’t raining, and even attempted a hike to Upper Yosemite Falls in the rain, ponchos and all. Several other hikers told us they weren’t able to see much in the clouds, so we decided hiking in the rain with no pay off might not be worth it, and called it quits. Our campsite was right on a creek with fallen trees everywhere, so the kids had tons of fun anyway. The weather cleared up just in time for us to check out of our campsite. We made the most of our morning and reluctantly headed home. Yosemite is a truly unique valley, even though I don’t feel like we were able to really experience all there was to enjoy. Maybe some day we will return to climb Half Dome and explore the “mouth of the grizzly” a little more.