Waterfalls – OR

Our last weekend in Oregon we took a Sunday tour of waterfalls.  First up Wahclella Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.

A fairly easy 2 mile up and back trail took us to a beautiful waterfall.

A few minutes down the road was Elowah Falls, another 2 mile hike.

Then another 30 minutes down the road to the very popular Multnomah Falls.  We finally found parking about 0.5 mile down the road and the walk to the falls was probably even cooler than the insanely crowded falls themselves.

Rylan, Caiden, Toben, Brennen, Kellen

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Timber Festival – OR

For the 4th of July we found a timber festival in a small town outside of Portland and it was a fun, different activity that seemed fitting for the area and the size of the crowds was perfect.

They had chain saw and buck saw competitions, a couple obstacle courses, log rolling, axe throwing

And these guys racing to the top of the poles.

Toben, Rylan, Kellen

After the timber competition everyone moved up the hill to watch the horse pull.

These gigantic horses kept pulling more and more weight in the sled for a distance of 15 feet.

It gets dark so late this far north that fireworks weren’t scheduled to start until 10pm so we called it a day and headed home for dinner and some festive flag making (some were slightly more accurate than others).  All in all a good day.

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Around Mt Hood – OR

Our next campground was near the base of Mt Hood.  Our first day there we looked for the trailhead to Little Zig Zag Falls and didn’t find it at first.  But we did find this random ladder in the middle of the forest.

After going back to the campground for lunch, a nap and powering up with tattoos from Grandma and Grandpa we successfully found the trailhead this time.  (Brennen was still grumpy from his nap and not in the mood for a picture)

(After a mile of hiking Brennen was in a much better mood)

I had Monday off for the holiday and the skies were clear so we attempted the busy 8 mile hike up Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain.  They views of Mt Hood was amazing as promised.

The kids all did awesome, even Brennen walked the whole thing himself!

Eating lunch while looking at Mt Hood.

We couldn’t get a good picture but in addition to Hood, you can see Rainier, Saint Helens Adams and Jefferson from the summit.

Our feet were all feeling it by the end of the hike and we slept well that night but everyone had enjoyed it.

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Seaside TT – OR

Unfortunately our time in Sunriver was cut a bit short because we needed to get the Airstream back in the shop for a leak we discovered in one of our bays.  The good news was that we were able to get it into a shop in Portland that was part of the same company that fixed it in San Francisco and we got a cabin rental in Seaside for the week.

Checking out Lewis and Clark National Park in Astoria

This was the western destination of the Lewis and Clark expedition and where they spent 4 months before turning around and heading back to St Louis.

Checking out the city of Astoria and the end of the Columbia River

We were glad our change of plans meant we got to spend a little time on the Oregon coast

Some quiet reading time in the cabin – our lives pretty much never feel like this picture suggests so I had to document it!

Caiden, Toben and Rylan


Visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory

I had read that the free visitor center was pretty cool but unfortunately they are renovating and you can’t see the actual packaging process or factory right now.  It was crowded and okay but not worth the 2 hour round trip.

The coastal views on the drive there and back were pretty great though

While we were in Seaside for the week the kids were able to attend a VBS near the campground.  They loved it!

In the evenings we went to the beach several times – Seaside Beach

Cannon Beach (and The Goonies)

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Bend-Sunriver TT – OR

Sunriver, Oregon is a beautiful resort town just outside of Bend.  We had a number of gray, cool days there where it was really hard to get out of bed but thankfully we also had some gorgeous sunny days.  It’s amazing how much impact the weather can have on your mood and motivation!

The campground had a fun little “town” to walk around.

Lava Lands National Park was about 15 mins away and it was fascinating to see the landscape that’s still affected by a volcano that last erupted 1300 years ago.

The park had Lava River Cave which is a mile long lava tube you can walk through.

Paulina Falls

Hiking through the Big Obsidian Flow

Rylan and Toben

It’s hard to tell from the picture but many of these rocks contain shiny, black glass (obsidian) – Caiden was fascinated.

Caiden, Kellen and Brennen

Looking down on Paulina Lake

A tiny hot spring next to East Lake – the lake is cold and that small puddle Rylan and Caiden are in was pretty warm (and smelled like sulfur)

We spent some time in Bend as well.  Even though there were people all around, the whole area felt so quiet (and of course green!)

Sunriver has a small observatory where you can look at the sun through two different telescopes

And beautiful, paved bike paths

There was a PGA event going on at the golf course this path winds through so it was extra quiet!

A fun dinner spot for Father’s Day – amazing food!

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South Lake Tahoe – CA

There’s still snow in the high country of California.

Over the passes on our way to Lake Tahoe

After lots of hiking and biking in Yosemite we were more worn out then we knew and a short 1/4 mile hike up to Eagle Falls was plenty for the day.

Pretty view of Lake Tahoe, though

Instead of hiking much we drove the 72 miles around the lake.  On the north side we stopped near Donner Pass and visited a small state park dedicated to the pioneers that were stuck here for one desperate winter and resorted to eating those who had died in order to survive.

This is the best picture we got that captures what the water in Lake Tahoe actually looks like in real life, unfortunately it’s from the parking lot.

The water is definitely blue and so clear but also very cold!

A few brave kids enjoyed the waves but mostly they all played in the sand.

The campground playground had a large “hamster wheel” that the kids thought was hilarious.

After a week of taking it easy we were ready for a few short hikes around Taylor Creek on the south side of the lake.

Kellen – camo shorts, Toben – khaki

Tahoe was beautiful but after 3 months it’s finally time to leave California.

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Yosemite Valley Part 3 – CA

Of the 42 national parks and various state parks/national forests we’ve visited so far, Yosemite has definitely been our favorite (in case you couldn’t tell by the number of pictures and posts – this is the last one, I promise)

We were in Yosemite for 2 weeks (it seems like longer looking back on the pictures) but it was great to have that amount of time to do a hike or activity a day without trying to blast through all the sights in one insane day or one crowded holiday weekend.

Kellen lost his Jr Ranger badge so he re-did his booklet and got sworn in again.

Their new Camelbaks are not only great for carrying lunch and jackets but also for making a train.

Our last 3 days in the area we lucked out with a cancellation in one of the campgrounds in the valley.  That meant we were able to enjoy the evenings when the crowds left and more wildlife came out.

The river was still really high (and very cold)

We drove up to Glacier Point and looked down at the valley 3,000 feet below.  (This girl was well past the “do not cross” signs)

The Sierra Club – beautiful building

They found the old Indian caves

Logan and the kids went to a ranger talk where they were able to see climbers on El Capitan through telescopes.

Our last night we biked to what was supposed to be a great star-gazing spot and waited for the sun to go down.

Unfortunately the moon was so bright that we didn’t see that many stars but it was still a pretty cool, peaceful experience.

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