Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Yosemite ’16 by CocoaConf

This past April, we held a CocoaConf in Yosemite National Park, California. This conference isn’t quite as technical as most of our events – it’s more of a broader look at Apple technology than an in-depth training event. (That would be hard to get away with in such a distracting place as Yosemite.) :)

The crew for this event was made up of Mommy, Ben, Solomon, Joanna, Bekah, Sammy, Josh, Daniel, and myself. It was a combined business trip and also family visit, as we were able to arrange with Grandpa Bill and Grandma Penny to meet up with them at Yosemite and explore the valley during the conference.

Setting out west.
Bringing only a subset of the family meant that we could fit everything into (or on top of) our van, without bringing a cargo trailer.
We took a southernly route to California, following the Route 66 corridor. Along the way we stopped at the beautiful Painted Desert of Arizona. It was a very windy day, so we didn’t do much hiking about in search of petrified wood, but we did get out alongside the road. The older kids enjoyed taking pictures and scrutinizing the geology of the area while the younger ones enjoyed spelunking to the best that circumstances would allow.

To little minds, this sort of thing can suffice as extreme caving. :)

We arrived at Yosemite the evening before the conference was to begin, and the next morning, while waiting to set up in the conference center, we caught up on laundry at Housekeeping Village.

Nice view for a laundromat. :)
In Daddy’s absence, Solomon took care of some of the emcee duties (one of our conference speakers took a share in it as well).

And we got to see Grandpa and Grandma! :)

During the afternoons, we had a break during the conference for attendees to go out and explore, and during that time most of us were available to venture out as well.

On a bus tour through Yosemite Valley.
Someone had to stay at the conference center with our equipment, as the conference center couldn’t be locked up during the day. But it was a fine place to spend an afternoon as well. :)

Mommy and Grandpa showing the littles different places they had gone backpacking when Mommy was growing up.

A bunch of us loaded up and headed to Tunnel Viewpoint to watch the sunset.
Mommy with her little hiking buddies. :)
On the last day, we ended up having room at the conference for all of us to have lunch together before we left.

Time to pack up!
One of the front desk staff, who made friends with the little guys during our time there, took a group picture for us.
And then we headed up out of Yosemite Valley. We happened to hear from someone there that at that time of year, at a certain time in the afternoon, you could see a rainbow in Bridalveil Fall from Tunnel Viewpoint. So we made that a stop on our way out, and got there just as the colors were showing up in the waterfall. It was gorgeous! :)

If you look closely you can see the rainbow in this picture. It was gone so fast that I think Solomon was the only one who got a picture of it.
Traveling home the same way we came, we stopped this time at the Arizona Meteor Crater – our first time there since almost 20 years ago. 

Everybody point at the crater!

Hard to fit the whole crater in one photo.
It was impressive, but hard to grasp just how big it is – a mile across, 600 feet deep.

There’s a neat museum at the rim about the history of the meteor crater, how they figured out it was caused by a meteor and not volcanic, and about meteor impacts in general. 

Solomon put together this panorama of the crater.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, we went to Garfield Bible Chapel for their Sunday meeting. We’ve stopped there before, on our travels to the West, and it was neat to see friends again, and make new friends. We happened to come on a day when a missionary from France was visiting, and he gave an encouraging message reminding us all that we are called to be Christ’s witnesses wherever we go. “A good witness is faithful – never adding or subtracting.” 

With Paul Howland, missionary in France
And then we made it home! To find out that some people left at home had been busy during our absence…

Sarah, Suby, Noah, Abi, and Daddy surprised Mommy by painting the hallway and replacing the carpet on the basement stairs.

Last touches before we came home.
Hanging the pictures up again.
And thus was our trip to Yosemite this year. :)