Yosemite through the words of my 7-year-old

The journal.

The journal.

Visiting Yosemite National Park has become an annual ritual in this family. We go (usually in spring), we hike, we commune with nature, we take a continuing education class or two, then we come home.

We’ve done this sort of thing just about every year for the last six. For almost all of those years, I was the one who did most of the writing—not only in my journal, but also for my clients, on my computer, both there in the park and here back at home. (I’ve updated a few guidebooks about the park.)

Last year, however, L got in on the action, too. As part of a broader effort to get her to journal, I challenged her to write about our multigenerational experience inside the park when we visited back in April 2016. She took the task very seriously, scribbling copious notes throughout our visit. Before we began, she agreed that at some point I could use her work in an article. That article published yesterday on the Expedia Viewfinder blog from Expedia.

The piece, titled, “Yosemite, daughter-style,” comprises whole snippets from her journal—entire passages that describe slices of Yosemite in her words. I edited the copy only for style and grammar.

In the story I quote her on a wide range of subjects, from the road trip there to shufflepuck, our room at Evergreen Lodge to my father’s wacky way of ordering salad. I also tried to preserve her cadence—this totally unique voice that falls somewhere between innocent and totally irritated; a perfect mix for 7-going-on-17.

The process of flipping through her journal to find these passages gave me a newfound appreciation for everything we experience when we visit Yosemite. I hope her words have the same effect on you.

Nappy-Changing Nirvana

harrods

When I die, I want to change diapers here.

As a kid, I spent family vacations dreaming about a guidebook in which I’d rate men’s rooms on categories such as cleanliness, spaciousness and comfort of toilet seats. Now, as a father, I see things a little differently: I still think The Bathroom Guide would be a fun book to write, but now I think I’d want to focus it almost exclusively on baby-changing facilities.

Naturally, then, I was thrilled to experience the 4th-floor baby-changing facilities today at Harrods, arguably the most famous department store in the world.

Put simply, it was the most luxurious place in which I have changed R’s diaper. Ever. In her life.

To describe the room as “palatial” would be an understatement. It was like a swanky salon. With a mix of communal changing berths and private changing/nursing rooms. There were armchairs, mirrors and lots of fancy and swirly lights. Also, there were complimentary diapers (in case you forgot your own).

After surveying the scene (and not wanting to intrude upon the mothers nursing their children in some of the private rooms), I opted to change R’s nappy in one of the communal berths. Sensing a messy change was imminent, I opted for a “pad” right next to the garbage pad. When I placed her down, I realized the pad really was an ovular pillow that was softer than the one I use at night.

R immediately acknowledged this was no ordinary changing experience. She looked around, commented about the mirrors, then actually said, “This place nice, Daddy.”

I agreed. I agreed again moments later, when I ran out of wipes and was given extras by an attendant.

When the deed was done, when my baby daughter was at least two pounds lighter, R played quietly on one of the armchairs as I washed my hands with designer soap in a marble sink. On the way out, the aforementioned attendant wished us a good day.

After the awesomeness we had just experienced in the nappy-changing room, how could the day be bad?

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