The first thing Steve said when he saw me with the camera was “Okay, here’s the challenge: take a picture here – anywhere – of something that hasn’t been photographed before.” Steve is my father-in-law, a friend and role model, and sees this as the same sort of education that the old master imposed on Kwai Chung Caine in Kung Fu – “When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper…”
He had a point – aiming my camera at the peaks towering above us was pointless; that’s what postcards were for. I should concentrate on shooting the kids. Er, shooting pictures of the kids.
Still, it’s hard not to try to capture this place. You walk a few hundred feet down any path between the redwoods and look up, you’re going to catch your breath.
Thanksgiving morning now. The sun is making its way down the canyon, and frost is starting to melt away from the leaves outside. At about the same pace, folks are starting to amble into the Great Room of the Ahwanee Hotel to start their day. The Ahwanee is way posh, and way iconic in a California way – Disney even built their own version of it in Disneyland. Enormous cut stone columns, massive wood beams, vaulting windows – and yet, looking out at the sequoias and towering granite walls of the valley, it feels somehow…small in perspective.
Devon and I are here with the kids, her parents, and her brother’s family. The plan is to spend a few days letting the kids burn off some energy chasing each other around while grownups explore some of the easier paths around the valley.