Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. - John Muir

Bend is a very neat town! It's cool to be in a town where nature is still all around and people enjoy, protect and cherish it, instead of graffiti and litter it.

There is so much to do outdoors in all seasons. There is no way we could do everything in Bend so we tried to pick a variety. We went to the Old Mill District that is right along the river. There are all kids of shops and it was one of the oldest working mills in the nation. When it was a mill, they had a ton of shops back then also. Apparently not much has changed. 

The river runs right along the Old Mill District so we enjoyed a river float. You get in, float for about an hour and a half, then take the shuttle back up to your car.

We took a bike ride and Craig was amazed at the clean bathrooms. They even smelled good!

Near Bend are the Lava Lands. The kids got an extra badge and stamp in their National Parks Passports. We drove to the top of the big lava caldron and walked around the top. We could see so far, All the mountains in the distance still have snow! It is so pretty. Mt. Batchlor is also a volcano and you can ski 365 degrees of it.

This is a lava cave. I thought it wouldn't be too cold because I've been in caves before and been fine with just a sweatshirt, so I was totally unprepared for the 42 degrees in this cave!

It was freezing! Can you see our breath?

L got so cold, I had to hold her for most of the too miles.

After the cave, we went to the Lava Cast Forest.

Years ago, the lava flowed through around all the trees. It killed the trees, but they stayed standing for a while. Eventually the decomposed and it made casts of the trees.

"The lava sucked them up." - C

On our last day, we got to enjoy a nice rainy day. It was very relaxing to listen to the pouring rain, hail and thunder! It's been a long time at home since we had any real weather.

Next stop, Crater Lake.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Going Southwest to Central Oregon

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

We left beautiful Montana, took a 3 hour scenic route on over to Athol, Idaho as a stop over before heading 10 hours to Bend, OR. Our friends, the Gribbs are on a similar trip but just in reverse order and it worked out that they are staying at the home of some family in Athol. They invited us to stay for the night. 

The house was awesome! It sits on 2 acres with 10 acres of conservancy behind them. They basically own the mountain behind and the kids stayed up till about 10 hiking on their own through the trees. This was a dream home for little C! 

Before we left in the morning, C took me on a little hike, showed me the look out way up in the tree, where the wild turkeys are and where they shoot. He was in heaven! He was sad to leave and watch his friends head off back into the woods.

Good by Idaho...

Hello Washington...

And Oregon. Crossing the Columbia. It was NOT at all what I expected! We drove up to the Columbia about 6 years ago when we were in Sea Side, Oregon. The East side looks like a desert.

After a LONG 9 hours of driving, we stopped for dinner at a rest stop. It was a nice and quiet stop, we got out to take a little walk through the desert and watch the sunset.

The fires make the air awful, but they sure make for an awesome sunset.

After a stop over night an hour away from our camp ground, the truck stalling on the road and a good breakfast at IHOP, we made it to our campground.

It's actually what we call glamping. They had a hot dog and hamburger pot luck with live music, we just bring a side to share. The kids loved all the choices of desert!

You can see our campground back there behind the tennis court.

We were actually playing pickle ball, I think little C's new favorite game.

Lacey prefers to take pictures. You can always tell when she takes the pictures, her fingers are in the background.

From all this go, go, go, the kids have been pooped out! This picture was taken with the flash so bright and they didn't budge.

Before we set off on our vacation, I had all these ideals for what the month would be like. I thought we were all going to be able to read so many books, I thought I would be so patient with the kids I could nip the problems in the butt, like back talk and asking the same question over and over again after I give my answer. I'd actually not yell and talk lovingly all the time. I had so many activities for the car including their road trip journal (that got filled out almost one full time.) Yep, my kids were going to come home with great behavior, extra smart and I'd come home a very patient mom. Haha!

Now for reality. When you go away for 5 weeks, it's just living on the road with a lot of cool places to see. Nothing really stops and all the same problems happen at home and where you are, kids still misbehave. So far, I am a little more patient. When the kids ask for something in the store, I just say, "Ask daddy, he has the money." That helps with my patience. But I still snap, I still get tired and burnt out even with Craig's help. (Not as much though.) We have been so busy with so much to see that we haven't done any of the journals or writing I wanted the kids to do and little C has barley read his books. We've listened to a lot of audio books, but not reading ourselves. At home, the pool filter broke and the pool isn't staying clean, (thanks to Kaci for running to our rescue with the pool and saving our plants!), the spa drained of all it's water, the car stalled on the road (luckily we got it running again and got the oil and fuel filter changed), our friend at the cabin spent 1/2 the day in the ER and then had to go back and my kids are over tired most the time and the list actually goes on. My ideals were good intentions and now that our trip is almost over, I'm a little sad that we are going so fast. Today was a beautiful rainy day in Oregon and we did a lot of relaxing.

I had to share some of the normal stuff because I hate when I read blogs or look at fb and everybody seems to have perfect lives. We are so blessed to be on this trip and we will remember it forever! We are so blessed to have people at home that can help, Craig's parents at the office and my good friend Kaci at our house.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Glacier National Park

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

So long ago, John Muir saw the affects humans had on the wilderness. How much harm we could do. Glacier National Park had about 150 glaciers in 1850 and most were still there in 1910. By 2010, there were only about 25 glaciers larger then 25 acres left. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be no more remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park!

Glaciers are another amazing part of the wilderness. The lakes that come from them are such a unique color of milky blue. It was really important to me that the kids got to see this before the glaciers are all gone. So, we got up super early to be on the road by 6 am! That was hard considering we have been walking up at 9 am.

Being out that early was so totally worth it! I can't even describe how the fog and the clouds all looked, it was just so peaceful.

The forest in the lower part of Glacier was so thick! We drove to catch the shuttle to take the "Going to the Sun Road." It is said to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

On the start of our drive, the fog started to lift into the sky...

and they revealed amazing peaks in the distance.

One of my favorite parts of the drive is how many waterfalls there were. They were around every turn! I couldn't believe it. There were so many I lost count.

This waterfall was awesome, going under the road.

My least favorite part of the drive was how close we were to the edge of a straight cliff most of the way. There was even still a bit of ice on the road. Even though it freaked me out, riding in the back of the bus with a driver that I didn't know, I was still able to appreciate the beauty. Can you imagine building that road? I sure am glad many others have driven over it before me. It looks like it can just crumble.


The only hike that was open at Logan Pass (the highest part of the drive) was to Hidden Lake Lookout. Everybody that was in the park decided to do that hike.

Can you see that line of people going along the trail? It was like we were all being herded or it was Moses leading the exodus Egypt.

It got a bit cold in spots.

The ranger said we could go anywhere on the snow as long as there was snow. We were not aloud to walk on any vegetation. Of course, Craig had the idea to walk straight up the hill in the snow. It was a little more work, but the kids had fun.

More wild life! There were a ton of mountain goats. So far on this trip, we have seen about 3 black bears, 3 grizzly bears, elk, tons of bison, deer, marmots and mountain goats!

There were tons of goats and babies. They were everywhere and didn't seem to notice all the people staring at them. 

Hidden Lake! We made it to the look out. The actual lake is closed because of grizzly activity. I wish we could have seen another one. The grizzly's we saw were so far away, we couldn't really see the massiveness of them.

On the way back, little C tried to slide on his feet. Every time, he'd end up on his butt.

Another waterfall on the road!

Back in the bus for the ride down. This time the friendly bus driver let me ride in the front with the window down. (I didn't feel so well on the way up!) Much better on the way down.

See the color of the river? It is so pretty. It is even more blue in a lake that is the direct melt from a glacier. We only did one hike because it took so long and the kids were exhausted. I really wanted to do a lake, the lake we were going to do had about 8 waterfalls going into it. We are definitely going to have to make another trip to Glacier National Park and spend more then a day there!

Before heading back to the cabin, Craig wanted to stop at the lake and take a nap. Only after skipping a few rocks.

Finally, we couldn't leave without getting sworn in as Junior Rangers. This Ranger works at Joshua Tree National Park in the winter! Someone from one of our home parks. What a huge contrast, Glacier NP to Joshua Tree NP!

I'll see you next time from Bend, Oregon.