On Saturday we drove up to Olympia to celebrate my Uncle Tom's 60th birthday. It was nice to see everyone. We were fed well, the kids were entertained with the two pools & each other and we all got to sit around, chat and catch up. My Uncle Tom is a great guy - Happy Birthday!
The birthday boy.
Margene and my mom, Mauricia.
Gammy and Trevor
Ron taking a picture of me taking a picture of him - must be at least one of those pictures at every party!
This is Aidan, he loved taking pictures, even borrowed my camera for a few minutes, but that is for another post.
Steph sent me a message and wanted to know if the boys and I wanted to join her and the kids on a hike up by Carson WA while the men were at the Organic Brew Fest. I had been cleaning the house all morning so I said yes and off we went. We got a little bit of late start but finally made it up there and it was gorgeous! We were in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, pretty high up actually and the hike in was a steady uphill climb too. Not horrible by any means but you could tell you were constantly headed in the upwards direction. You could see water almost the entire way up and could hear it at all times. The trees were huge and beautiful providing shade on this sunny hot day. It's places like this that make me love living in the Pacific Northwest even more than I already do. I have to say the kids did GREAT! It was a decent 3.4 mile round trip hike and it wasn't until the way back down that you could tell the kids were getting tired and hungry (shhh, don't tell them but so were the adults). On the way back down, however, Oliver was getting a bit too tired and he kept tripping and falling. On the third fall he just couldn't take it anymore and I ended up carrying him for at least a half a mile. At one point, while carrying the boy, Ty and Noah turned to me and said, "Have you fallen yet?" Can you guess what happened next? Yup, I went down, with Oliver on my back. My instinct was to protect him though so my right knee and then left side of my body took a nasty hit. I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning because I know it's going to hurt. Despite my fall, we all had a great time! I plan to go back sometime though, without kids, to take a ton of pictures. Speaking of pictures...
Entrance to the trail.
So many beautiful spots along the way...
Oliver, Ty and Noah on the trail.
Neat suspension bridge that wobbled as you crossed it.
Couldn't stop taking pictures.
The trail follows the creek up to the lower falls.
Quick pit stop on the way up.
I just liked the trees all down and across the creek.
Upper part of the Lower Falls, it's a three tier waterfall that, from where I was, could not get all of it in my picture.
Lower part of the falls and the punch bowl. Oliver LOVED the rainbow and yelled at me to look at it many times. He had to yell because the roar from the falls was awesome. Can you see Noah and Ty?
Ty relaxing in the shade against the rock.
My sweet boy.
Hey look, it's a mountain goat!
I know you can't see her face but I love this picture of Tori.
There was another little footbridge that we had to cross and this is what it went over.
We went to the Wildwood Recreation Site in Welches OR yesterday. I can't believe that I've lived here all my life and never been here. It is a GREAT place to spend the day with your family. Lots of walking trails, biking trails, picnic areas, play areas, etc. My main focus for the day was the Cascade Streamwatch trail that runs alongside the Salmon River. Lots of educational stuff along the way and a nice easy hike/walk for the kids.
Jackson, Noah and Oliver standing at trail head.
The path zigzagged through the beautiful forest. This forest was logged long ago and you can see LARGE cedar tree stumps all over the forest floor.
Lots of little paths jut off of the main path and lead to little places like this. Did I mention that it was a beautiful day to be up in the mountain exploring?
This old stump intrigued me with the roots of the other tree wrapped up and around it.
They built this fish viewing area right into a smaller stream that jutted off to the side of the Salmon River. It was great! Lots for the kids to see and lots of information for them to read. They saw all sorts of little fish, snails, debris, etc. Of course, their favorite part was the squeegee that the park provides for them to clean the foggy dew off of the windows.
View from another area that we spent a lot of time at. There was a pretty big beach area for the boys to explore, throw rocks and, despite my pleas, get a little bit wet.
Noah "not" getting wet.
Oliver "not" getting wet.
and Jackson "not" getting wet.
The three amigos.
After the walk we went over to the large picnic area and had lunch. I am sure that the park is much busier on the weekends but we were just one of three families in this area. It was very peaceful.
Wow! Last day of school, beginning of summer, garden growing and needing attention, me forgetting my camera...but don't worry, we seem to be settling into a summer routine so I'll be back to posting on a regular basis.
I made a decision before summer started to really focus on more local things to do. We have a ton of local parks and trails, not to mention things like the zoo, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Gardens, Hoyt Arboretum to visit. Besides discovering what is near to us, Noah will be taking a Marimba class, both boys are signed up for swim lessons and we will be camping in July.
Today we decided to visit two parks, an oldie but goodie, the train park a.k.a. Columbia Springs Educational Center was the first one that visited. The second was a park down in the Camas/Washougal Port area.
"See, here we are right here! And this is the place we fed the fish."
We decided to walk the longer trail that goes back into the woods and out to the meadow above. There is another part of the holding pond/stream up there too.
This is Noah's favorite tree on the trail. It fell over long ago, you can see the rocks that the roots grew around and still haven't let go of and you can see the new trees that have grown from the rotting tree trunk.
This is the second park we visited today. If you are allergic or sensitive to cottonwood trees, I would stay away for another week or two. Clouds of cottony tree pollen/seeds everywhere!
Cool entrance into the park. If you don't go into the park, you can go left and/or right and walk or ride on the dike trail.
Hey, at least take your shirts off so you have one article of dry clothing to wear home.
My serious boy.
They have these really cool canoes/boats, that are replicas of the ones used by those on the Lewis and Clark expedition. These are actually made out of concrete, the artists did a great job of making them look realistic. Each boat has something inside to help tell the story, boxes, small barrels, fish, oars, shell fish of some kind, etc.
Ollie checking out one of the boats.
The Columbia is a huge and very cold river. These boys are crazy!!
Noah earned his solid green belt tonight. It's been incredible to see him move up through the class and earn his darker belts. If you have time this weekend, the all school demo will be on Saturday night. Click the link to the left for more information.
His last warm up and quick class as a junior green belt.
Waiting for his green belt.
Seriously proud of our boy.
Mr. K had a lot of great things to say about Noah tonight. Of course, this was the night that I decided to take pictures instead of video! "Thank you, sir."