Thursday, October 05, 2006

When it all comes down to it...

good friends and family are all you need.

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Oh and gorgeous scenery helps too.
Late August our family joined a wonderful group of friends for a 5 day camping trip to Yosemite.

[The video above was taken just after reaching the top of Sentinal Dome. You can hear lots of huffing and puffing...Sujoy and I reached the top first! Before all the kids! It was the best hike of my life. I'm ready for Mt. Everest now!].

Our group covered a wide spectrum of people, aged 4 to...54?? I dared not ask our oldest member's age (well he's a former San Diego cop - a detective- and he's much bigger than about, ah roughly 2 feet give or take a few inches!).

I am not the hardiest camper...but honestly, I relished every minute of this trip.
The company could not have been better - they were all so laid back and up for having FUN. No whiners, all good timers. (Honestly I have to shake this rap rhyming thing that's been goin' on lately. Where did I get that???).

I REALLY enjoyed spending time with the teenagers (as I am stuck at age 14...mentally, on a good day).
Most of the group are from Cambodia, originally...but the teens were born here. Melissa, aged 12, cracked me up to no end. She would beckon her family by saying, "My fellow Asian people!!! Come!" She teased her dad for wearing a FOBISH outfit (FOB meaning Fresh Off the Boat).
Hanging around them made me feel proud to be an American. You see, they escaped the Pol Pot Regime in Cambodia - perhaps you've seen The Killing Fields? Well, the men in their family were murdered at the hands of Pol Pot.
The older kids and adults (those not born here of course) WALKED from Cambodia to Thailand...stepping over dead bodies along the way.
I could share some harrowing details, but I do not wish to invade their privacy.
When they arrived in the US, they stayed in refugee camps and worked in the farms of Northern California - all of them, including the children.
They eventually moved to San Diego....where they received a decent education and later went onto receive college degrees. My dear friend Sokoun has her Master's degree in Elementary Education and her sister has an Associate's in Nursing.
They are all hard working, good, fun. honest US citizens. It pains me to receive junk email about refugees draining the system here. This has NEVER been the case with any of my friends who have come as either a refugee or student.

BUT I digress.

The absolute highlight of the trip, aside from some sensational hikes...was hanging out in a river, where we spotted a BEAR!! I was beyond elated having experienced a bear sighting.
We were swimming in a river, and spotted what we figured was a "teenage" bear (of course you become an expert in beardom once you camp in Yosemite). He was just hanging out along the river's edge, munching on grass...but he made a (slow) beeline to a sandy beach area, where a family had their cooler and blankets, etc. They hadn't set up the grill yet! hee hee. We screamed at them to get the heck out of there, so they floated their cooler and flew across the river...just in time!
Here are some pics..they're a little blurry but oh well!


Sokoun and Half Dome (in the background)

The Gang

This is the river...and you can see the sandy "beach" in the background

Hanging at the camp

I have to mention that I have never ever had gourmet food on a camping trip before this one! Sokoun and her family LOVE to cook...our (meager) contribution was curried BBQ lamb that we'd marinated for a few days...yum it was really quite delish.

After one of these nights around the fire (well 2 nights actually) most of us took a little night time hike to a huge meadow. We brought our blankets and gazed up at a sumptuous banquet of stars that the heavens had conveniently laid out for us...and lucky us to have shared 2 night's worth of meterorite showers. Watching them fall, I thanked my lucky stars for friends like these...that is, until Khan, in a drunken stupor exclaimed," how come we never see a SHOOTING MOON man?! What's up with that? Why don't we ever see a shooting moon?"


Delbut said...

Ah, ah. i'm the first. I am so jealous. I want to go there now. bears and all. You make it all sound so effing fab.

All we have here to go camping in is a disused carpark and a couple of fields full of cow shit.

Darn it.

Suesjoy said...

LOL aw...I'm sorry Del.
But Del...Del...Wales is GORGEOUS!
I've always wanted to visit...
The world is just too darn big, ain't it?

lryicsgrl said...

Oh Sue,
How fabulous your trip was, for you......I love the picture of Angoli wadding in the water.....beautiful and magical, the river that flows......ah, but, trying to put myself, into that camping mode....umm, I miss it, but, at the same time, I know I would need, a really "blinged out" camper...I have to be honest; I'd need my flat iron, a dvd player, 450 count egyptian cotton linens.......just kidding ;-)

OK, Del.....I was snooping over at yours.....time for a new post, MR!

Anne-Marie said...

One day, when I am on the west coast again, I want to go camping at Yosemite. It looks amazingly beautiful.

Fab pictures, and lucky you to have seen the bear! Thanks for posting all of this, it looks like everyone had a great time.

Suesjoy said...

Susie: I know it's hard to do without all the make-up and products etc...but all you have to do is avoid mirrors! Simple.
It was the best camping trip of my life! Next trip w/the gang is to Yellowstone.
I've never been to the Grand Canyon either...we should do a Blogger camping trip someday.
Oh gawd somebody stop her....

Hey Anne-Marie!
I bet you'd be game for a Blogger camping trip! Let's do it someday. Not such a crazy idea after all, eh?

lryicsgrl said...

What do you mean, "fatal demise of 6"? I am soooooooooooooooooo confused. I hope I can sleep!

Anne-Marie said...

I am certainly up for a blogger camping trip! We camp here at a provincial park called Sandbanks just east of here, where the beach is all rolling sand dunes, so I am quite the camper. :)

Blogger party at Yosemite in 2007! Let's make it a slogan.

Sarah Beth said...

Hey, I didn't write the thing about Pete getting jolted, someone else did, and I was copying and pasting ....I don't know what happened! And annoyingly, nobody is answering on the ITA site. I guess it was nothing big...but I'm still curious to know. I'll ask again.

Hope you're well, thanks for the comment! :)

Sarah Beth said...

Thank you so much for sending that info, Sue. That is SCARY! Thank god he is okay.

Sarah Beth said...

Oh...sorry, one last post from me! Were you the the anonymous comment on my blog as well? Just checking, as I don't know who else it could be.

Anonymous said...


When we went to Yosemite I was all about seeing a bear. And everywhere we went we were greated with "you should have been here fifteen minutes ago!"

This is truly not fair.