Seaside Adventures

What a day of touring we had!  We started off late in the morning, after a wonderful night’s sleep, headed toward 17 Mile Drive.  We’d heard good (the views)…and we’d heard bad (you have to pay to drive on these privileged roads)…but either way we were determined to see what could be seen!

We started off after paying our $9.25 touring fee with the gatemaster and right away were immersed in one beautiful view after another.  The sun was the brightest of the day and the sea so inspiring!

The coastal drive held one turn-off after another, each one containing picture perfect views of the magnificent and mighty sea.  

About half way through our drive…when even such views begin to become the norm…we’d pulled into one viewing area to see what there was to see….drove around to each corner….and JUST as we were about to pull away we gasped, realizing that that sand below in THIS corner was FULL of sea lions!

They filled the area like a basket of wriggling puppies, squirming about, gnawing at each other, galumphing back into the water, and undulating one heave at a time closer and closer to their buddies…

As one after another turned to look at us, we were pulled within their puppy-like gazes….wanting to just load these oversized babies into our palms and carry them home forever!  

Giant Faith faces and the happiest part of my day!

On we ventured, with Dad stopping at points to shoot.  It’s so fun to see him fully in his element!  

He climbs out fearlessly to points I’d never try, perches precariously, and begins to set up his tripod…utterly oblivious to fences that suggest safe viewing and the milling crowds there.  May I just say that the better part of my days are spent patiently waiting and watching, when he is in this mode….sometimes for far longer than you can imagine.  And I do this gladly!  It’s such a joy to watch my husband get to be fully who he is!  Due to the sense of oneness that we have….somehow I feel a part of it all, even when he is the one out there.  He so generously asks me for feedback and my opinion, and patiently sets-up “shot ideas” that I get, making me feel a part it all!  He’s such a dear…

We exited at the south end of the drive, just after Pebble Beach, after only doing half of the 17 miles, so that we’d be near Carmel.  Katey, we shot some “behind the scenes” pictures at the club there, since it’s “world class”.  We even got pictures of the “Bev Cart” and their prices so you can show them to Brian!

Carmel! What a quaint town!  Little hobbit-like dwellings fill the area . . .

Our favorite stop was at the Carmel Mission, a functioning church to this day!  Beautiful!  

This mission is even more stunning than the lovely missions of San Antonio that we got to see when we went out for our Jenni’s very special AF bootcamp graduation.  My heart was captured by this place and the people visiting.  We have many pictures that we won’t post here, but it was the best part of Carmel for me…

After Carmel, and shopping in their little shops….where you don’t buy anything for it’s too expensive!!…we decided to “test the limits” a bit of the fire evacuations around Big Sur, and drive as far south as we’d be permitted.

We saw dramatic cliff-side views of the ocean, with huge, gargantuan waves below that were awesome from above, and almost frightening ( to me 🙂 in their size from below, when we climbed down near them.

At one stop, we descended the many steps into a crescent cove and we’re swallowed up by increasingly alien-like sounds…almost like a space shuttled taking off.  It was the TRUE roar of the ocean. I felt like we were being held in a vortex, as the deafening noise would rise and fall rhythmically.

Eventually I grew use to the sound and the power of this place, and began to wander around.  The textures and “sea garbage” and dune habitat were amazing here!

 Dad was quite taken with shooting the pounding surf and we were both amazed by how blue the color of the waves are at some of these stops….how “Pacific” the waves look at times…

We hiked around down the sand, seeking out the little coves in that area. I stayed near the cliff side at certain points, for signs above had explained that huge, rogue waves could come in and sweep away deeper on shore than you’d imagine..and I believed them! 

BTW…Dad DeCamp, we each thought we might have seen Clint too… 🙂 alas… no pictures…

Off we meandered home… exhausted and eating supper VERY late, after our nearly 12 hour adventure…



Briny, rolling fog, chilly, like deep cold autumn…..

Briny, bright…blindingly brilliant, still cool….

Monterey is beautiful in both its little moods that we’ve already been witness to…

Our animal-lover-hearts were immediately taken with the hulking, chubby sea lions perched upside down on pointy rocks.  How can THAT be comfortable?  Thank goodness for their layers of cushioning!

Dad and I enjoyed an evening at Cannery Row…very Niagara Falls…we were expecting a Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not at any turn.

What we did get, though, reminded us of our more oceanic locale…giant snails making their way toward our burgers!  Hmmm…I don’t think of them as meat lovers…and you’d think they’d want to stay away from the SALTY fries…but for some reason, three of them began to inch toward our meal.  One edged his way to the very tip of the frond……. and hung there precariously over my food, constantly wiggling his little antennae!  

Slimy cuteness…a thing we’ve never seen before 🙂

Napa area…hmmmmm

Well…we didn’t pause to blog our Napa trip.  No internet, ready for just resting :-)…and also surprisingly, because we had very little good to say.

My sweet mom taught me “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all…” so with that as our guiding premise, we’ve just stayed a bit quiet these last days…

What we can say is….we had a very restful place to lay our heads down….and with a bit of creativity and determination, one can make anyplace seem great!

So with that in mind, we’ll share a couple of pictures from our time there…

It’s actually more challenging than you’d think to find locations that don’t seem Disneyesque here, which surprised us.  But having more of a bent to experience a Tuscan sense of things, we did pause here and capture the beauty of this small property.

One evening we were captured by the architecture of this newer winery….just the sort of lines that Dad loves to captures…fresh, geometric.  These people clearly had a sense of themselves that is unusual in this area.

We did indeed do a tasting of Moscato at Sutter Home, but that’s about the only traditional “entering in” we did in this area that bows to the vine…

Let’s just say that….we’re REALLY glad to be on the coast :-)…and Daddy and I found out once again, we have fun anywhere we’re together!

Amazing Yosemite – Final

Just a piece of business before we end:

We just discovered what you all probably have found out already . . . If you double click on the photos, they will enlarge!

So we’re gone from beautiful Yosemite…but will post one last time.  To finish up our time there, Dad and I drove up to Glacier Point for our final night.  Dad wanted to do a time lapse of Half Dome and capture the color changes of the granite as evening fell….photographer stuff :-).  

I sat with him and was struck by how much in the minority we were there…mostly people from other nations there:  Germany  predominantly and Japan, then from everywhere else.  Also lots of families here, which made Dad and I again long to share this with you…we’re praying now that God will make a way for that someday…

When the sun gave way, we’d gotten cold and so climbed in the car to warm ourselves until the stars came out.  We visited and laughed, reclined our seats and just enjoyed resting there a bit…and waiting….

Little by little the crowds began to pull away…the stars began to pop out…and we emerged, rested, warmed and ready to star-gaze.  Dad immediately pointed out some known stars and constellations, and as the skies darkened, the swoosh of the milky way grew more and more apparent!  Beautiful!

Starry Pines

Starry Pines

On the far right side of the Glacier Point viewing area is a stunning ampitheater made of huge granite slabs, tiered down to what seems like the rim of forever….

Dad and I settled onto the slabs, still warm from the days sun, and lay head to head ( me covered with a blanket!) watching and pointing things out to each other!  What an amazing evening…

By the way…these pictures were taken in the PITCH dark!  My amazing photographer man did extra long exposures to capture all the light that the stars and moon were giving off, in order to capture this photo of us star-gazing!

Noggin to noggin night

Noggin to noggin night



And what a beautiful way to end our time at Yosemite…

Every corner of this amazing park speaks of God’s goodness and power!  We’re humbled that we’ve had the chance to see it and store it away in our hearts…   Prayers have been prayed for you from so many corners of this place…on quiet drives through enormous redwoods, beside pounding waterfalls, from perilously high realms, and from beside meandering rivers, alongside massive sequoias who have stood as a testament to God’s provision – fragile as they are – for hundreds of years, and under starry skies at the what seems like the edge of the world.

No matter what or where…. you are always in our hearts and prayers Abby and Ryan, Katey and your future one, Jenni and Travis, and our future generations (puppies included!) . . .

Bye for now, with love as big as this beautiful place, Mom and Dad

P.S.  Our final picture on the way out of Yosemite…


Auf Wiedersehen El Cap

Auf Wiedersehen El Cap




Wednesday, Amazing Yosemite – Day 4

7.2.08 – Well, it’s about 12:30 noon and Dad and I just returned from our early morning trek back to the valley floor.  We were really tired after our long day yesterday, and so hadn’t decided whether to sleep in, or go out for our last morning of Yosemite Adventuring.  We decided to just leave that in the Lord’s hands and just get a good night’s rest…and see what time we awoke, and how we felt led.

To our surprise, we woke refreshed and eager to go see the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.   We can feel your prayers as we wake and go about our days, with God re-energizing us again and again, and giving us naps and restful times too!  Thank you so much!!

So off we flew down the mountain.  I’m more comfortable now on the twisty, banked, and sometimes sheer cliff roads, so we made good time back onto the valley floor.    We drove directly to Shuttle Stop 6 to park, and gathered our gear for the short hike to the falls.




As we walked, I couldn’t help but wish again intensely that we could be sharing this with our family.  The trip closer to these two falls was flat and paved much of the way. Definitely the easiest we’ve done.  We got close, and enjoyed the view, then decided to press on beyond the marked path and boulder climb on up nearer the lower falls.







Climbing-in is one of the things I love best.  It’s so fun to seek out the way to go.  When you’re off public routes, you become much more aware of safety, and in more challenging areas you check each foothold to see that the rock is stable and not slippery… especially as you near the misty areas.


I’m fortunate in that I get to travel fairly unencumbered.  Dad though carries in much gear: his tripod, camera bag with lenses and gear, and a couple of camera bodies, and on many hikes the large 200mm lens that is mongo huge!  My strong man 🙂 !!!

We found many great and beautiful places for Dad to shoot from – just moving from one to the next, through the next  hour and a half…..sometimes sitting and just enjoying the beauty and each other, and sometimes climbing about for new angles and views.

That’s one of the things that we’ve learned over and over is that if we move around the areas we’re at, we’re constantly surprised by what is new and beautiful around each corner. Sometimes whole waterfalls are hidden unless you get to JUST the right spot to see them!  Kind of a life lesson probably…

One of the other things we’ve found is that if we see a place we hope to get to, and the apparent path to get there appears pretty impossible…if we just take our time and really assess the the area- scout it out – there is almost always a different, more doable route available to climb.  I can’t tell you how often that happened this morning…and my thoughts would smile and declare, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way…”

Without any breakfast in us, we decided to pack up and hike out…a feat that’s sometimes a bit more challenging than going in!  We made our way easily –until the public path was in sight.  Well…it WAS “in sight”…but we couldn’t QUITE get to it….  there just didn’t seem to be that “easy” apparent way that I just spoke of….

Looking around though, we found a natural rock slide that beckoned us to slip down it to the forest floor and then we’d be up onto the path.  Hmmmmmm… other way to go….

So we switched order, for Jim is ever protective of me when we get into a situation that appears more challenging.  He unloaded a bit of his gear and slipped down first….whee…it was fun to watch him and it seemed very very short.

My turn next…I got set up…sat down, positioned myself….and JImmy just kept saying,  “Jenni, you have to LET GO :-)…honey let go and let yourself slide.”  

Oh my…it felt higher and further to drop as I sat there than it had when I’d watched HIM do it!

Dad stood in front of me to break any fall l might have (but only after he’d taken my picture!!)…and …….swish…down I went and…BUMP went our two heads!!!  His bent over to catch me…and mine leaning forward to land properly.  

Oh my gosh, we both ALMOST fell down…and THEN almost fell down laughing so hard!!!

It’s one of those moments on the trip where I just took a mental snapshot of the moment to keep it stored away within me forever!!

We gathered ourselves back together, in fine humor, and proceeded to hike ourselves out toward the car.

As we neared the final turn toward the cars, a BOBCAT!!!! ran across the path just ahead of us!! 

Dad, ever prepared, in a blink handed off unnecessarying gear to me and started off after him….

As I watched Dad through the underbrush, I could tell he did indeed have our little guy in sight…so I stayed quietly on the trail, waiting and not wanting to startle him off.

Eventually I too set off to see if I could glimpse our Bobcat again…and not only did I get to see him, but I think I was able to catch him for a moment on videotape.

By they way… we both thought throughout the whole Bobcat adventure…”This one is for Ryan!” * * grin * * ………we know how our guy loves the wild animals…..

We got back to the car elated and humbled and so excited to see such wildness and personality in the little guy!  In our deep thanks at that gift from God, we opened our Bible and just sat there reading from God’s Word….teary at the place He had us open to:

We could tell as we read Psalm 104 that IT TOO was a gift from God for this moment.  Not only was He giving us the gift of sighting one of His precious wild creatures, but he was also giving us the gift of a chapter from his own mouth that we can turn to throughout our trip–a passage that so perfectly encapsulates this journey…His creation, His greateness, our praises…and even the various places He’s had us schedule into our trip:  the mountains and wildlife and night sky of Yosemite, the wine and olive oil of the Napa region, and the ocean to come in the days ahead.  

Do you suppose we’ll experience an earthquake too, for verse 32 says, “The earth trembles at his glance, the  mountains smoke at his touch.”  We’ve had the smoke here, that’s for sure!  Dad my differ from me, but I’m not so eager to experience a trembler…

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