This year was my second (dad's) family reunion, which we've been having every 1.5 years (so as to alternate summer and winter).
1. As D pointed out, his family reunions have almost ten times the people and less than one-tenth the drama. To be perfectly fair, all the drama was pretty much confined to the first generation (dad and siblings) with some first-second generation drama, and as far as I know no second-generation drama at all. My cousins are great!
2. In what turns out to be related news, the older/female part of the first generation has some problems with emotional manipulation. (The younger part of the first generation tends to just suck it up or avoid conflict.) I caved in (which I certainly have a problem with) to mom on Friday, to my great regret, but perhaps it was just as well, as my regret over this led directly to my preventing a cave-in by my dad to his sister on Saturday.
3. I always forget how much I adore Yosemite, particularly Tuolumne. ADORE.
4. In related news, I really need to get a new camera with better manual controls. In particular, I need to get a Canon G15 :) My Panasonic LX-3 is a great camera that takes great pictures, but doing any kind of manual control is like pulling teeth, and it turns out this makes me not want to use it at all, whereas back when I had a G7 I was always taking it out. Using an iPhone camera is a nonstarter for much the same reasons. That being said, it's certainly true that when hiking with a bunch of kids and/or a lot of non-photo-driven adults there's not really that much time for messing around with manual control... (Also, the G15 has a fast, fast f/1.8 lens. Be still my heart!) I've also been following the 4/3 interchangeable-lens non-SLR cameras with interest -- if you'd asked me five years ago I would totally have thought it would have been my next camera -- but I've decided that I am exponentially more likely to take a camera places if it easily fits in large pockets/small bags.
5. Lessons learned include a) Saddlebag Lake and the lakes to the northwest are awesome; the lakes to the northeast, not so much, so don't do the loop hike, and b) the mosquitoes in July are horrible. Interestingly, it was only the environs of Saddlebag Lake that had terrible mosquitoes; our Yosemite and June Lake hikes were mostly devoid of them. I am gratified to learn that my two favorite places (though I can think of more impressive ones) in all of Yosemite, Tenaya Lake and Cathedral Lake, were also the favorites of my relatives.
6. E hiked up her first "mountain" (Pothole Dome, which is only 200 ft, but it's bare shiny granite and certainly looked like a mountain to E). D and I were both totally expecting that she would only make it halfway up, but she plugged away (and then fell asleep within minutes of getting back in the car). This is the same kid who complains about almost any kind of physical anything we've ever had her do (she still complains bitterly, for instance, if we make her ride her tricycle, whereas all the other kids we know looooove tricycles). Pothole Dome has an awesome view-to-effort ratio, and I'm amazed we never did it before.