Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Fun

This week flew by as we managed to stay busy. We picked raspberries...

19 lbs! Justin and I had a contest to see who could fill the bucket first. We finished at the same time so weighed it to find the winner. The stakes? Loser cleans the boys bedroom. Well, Justin's weighed in at 5.75lbs. Mine? 5.5 lbs. Yes, I lost...but did I really? Yes, his room will be clean--and have A LOT less stuff in it when I am done!

The kids participated in the craft fair at the library. Brit made some jewelry and sold some plays she had written. Justin made cookies, punch and bean bag balls. Amanda helped sell the punch and Alex tye-dyed shoelaces to sell. It was a success and they had a great time.

Since Brit is my main raspberry jam consumer, she got to learn to make it! We had fun making 5 batches of jam. That should hold us over for a bit. Next up is blueberries. I love this time of year!

Manda was stung by a wasp while swinging. Ouch! We have had 3 bee stings this month. JT, Amanda and a friend. glad no one is allergic.

And what would a post be without my happy boy? He definatly knows how to put a smile on your face. He has so many friends and loves to give hugs.

The weather has been incredibly nice lately and so we have spent so much time outside. We went to the park, lake and have played for hours in the sandbox.

Justin has been wanting to jump off the bridge for a few years. I finally let him.

$10 day ice cream trip. Brit got a super size. It was HUGE. I don't think she will order that size again.

We also got to spend a weekend in Portland visiting family and getting teeth fixed (thanks dr. greg). We got to be present for Julia's blessing and see my brother finish the Seattle to Portland bike ride in 1 day.

205 miles. AMAZING! Way to go Scott.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 2 - The Yellowstone Canyon

We couldn't drive all the way to Yellowstone and only visit the park once. So after conferring with my brother and sister after day 1, we decided to spend day 2 along the south rim of the "Grand Canyon" of Yellowstone. My brother, Carl, had found an internet article claiming that the south rim of the canyon had the best hike in all the park. Additionally our oldest son, Justin needed to complete a 5-mile hike using a map and compass. So why not knock off that requirement in the exact same location that his old man fulfilled the same requirement 24 years ago? It actually turned out to be pretty neat. Candace convinced me that we should stay as a family, so Darren went in the backpack and everybody headed out onto the trail.

The first stop was the Upper Yellowstone Falls. They were neat, but not a show stopper. We parked only near the overlook and where at the viewpoint minutes into our hike. Here is a shot of Alex and his hat at the Upper Falls.We continued east along the rim and soon we started to get peek-a-boo looks at the Lower Yellowstone Falls and we could tell that this was going to be the star of the hike. We were happy to catch up to my sister and her family along the hike at the first overlook for the lower falls. We enjoyed the walk with them all the way to Artist Point. When we arrived the view was breath taking. It was almost comical to watch and listen to everybody walk to the viewpoint, stop, and say, "Oh, wow!" You couldn't help yourself. The view was magnificent.
As we continued passed Artist Point, the views of the canyon continued to be drop dead gorgeous. At one point we stopped and listed the colors we could see: yellow, many shades of red, pink, orange, tan, brown, white, shades of green in the tree and water, and blue skies. It is hard to describe the beauty and the pictures of the canyon don't do the colors justice, but I'll try.We eventually had to turn away from the canyon and hike through he back country. We saw the aptly named Lily Pad Lake, swatted some mosquitoes, walked through another stinky geothermal area with mud pots (Amanda actually held her nose the entire time as shown in the picture below), passed Clear Lake and then out into an open meadow. We were rained on while hiking and saw some thunder, but nothing too serious. The rain actually kept the bugs at bay. It was a spectacular hike and everybody made it the 4.2 miles back to the car. Including Amanda who walked every step of the way! Justin and I went and walked a loop up above the upper falls to complete his 5 miles and then we all went for ice cream and souvineirs. It was another great day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yellowstone National Park

Over the Independence Day weekend we traveled to Island Park for a fantastic family reunion with the McCain Family. We rented a large five bedroom home about 20 minutes from the West Entrance into Yellowstone and we spent two fantastic days exploring the Park.

We spent the first day at Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin. That is a weird place with geysers and colorful pools scattered all around. It didn't take us long to remember the odor associated with all the geothermal activities. We hung around the main area with the family until Old Faithful put on a show and then we headed out onto the boardwalks. Aaron's brother and family joined us as we ended up going on a 3.5 mile hike with only one water bottle (oops). Most of the geysers were just steaming, but we did see a few spout. It was a neat day.

Day 2 in Yellowstone was in the canyon area of the park and I will save that for another post.