Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not a Nice Nature Post

Usually my blog is devoted to upbeat posts about our adventures in nature. This is not such a post. The pictures may seem cheery, but it is merely our feeble attempt to put a positive spin on the situation. Please do not let young children read it as it may contain language too strong for their delicate constitutions.

The Sunday night of Labor Day weekend we decided to take a scenic drive between Redmond and Northbend that promised views of two different waterfalls and some mountains and marshlands. That weekend had already been pretty rainy, but it wasn't too bad when we set off. The drive was nice, the marshlands and mountains were all that was promised. We saw where Snoqualmie Falls was on the drive (we didn't stop because we have already seen it a couple of times) and continued on to Twin Falls. We finally found Twin Falls state park. There were no signs indicating where the falls were at the entrance we were at but we found a trail that followed the river an assumed the falls were not far off. WRONG.

We started to hike, it was after six o'clock and we were in the trees on an overcast day, so the visibility wasn't great. The scenery was pretty, but there were a couple of major puddles to ford on our elusive trek to the falls. After about 30 minutes of hiking we finally made it to the top of a large hill, and I naively thought we had made it, when we saw two other hikers. They assured us that we were close (keep in mind we have two small children, which apparently did not factor into their time estimation). I expressed my opinion to Joe that it might be getting too dark for hiking and that perhaps we should turn back, but the hikers had somewhat convinced us that if we just went a little bit further our efforts would pay off. We started hiking back down the other side of the hill. The rain was starting to increase at this time, fortunately I had brought every one's coats. We made it to the bottom...and then the top of another hill until we finally found some slippery and steep stairs that led to a view point. Finally we made it to the falls, and decided that we could spend about 3 minutes looking at them because we obviously had a long walk back to the car. As soon was started to hike back it began to POUR RAIN. Thinking that we were merely going on a drive I had worn clogs with wooden soles, and was finding it seriously hard to walk because I could not feel the trail at all and was tripping on almost everything as I stumbled along in the dark. We marched back at a brisk pace unable to see even a couple of feet in front of us. I finally twisted my ankle, falling into a mud puddle and screaming obscenities (at least my interpretation of them, I did say "Judas!" Steph, a term I don't think that I have used in years). So we kept on going (limping in my case), walking cavalierly through puddles because we were already soaked now. We finally made it back to the car and had to strip the kids down and just wrap them in blankets because we were all soaked to the bone. Twin Falls State Park, I implore you to put up a sign actually informing unsuspecting hikers how far it really is to the falls. Joe says that sometime we should go back in better conditions and try it again. I say, "No." I never need to repeat the Hike from Hell again.

Western Washington State Fair

Saturday night we went to the State Fair in Puyallup. We enjoyed every minute of it. We started out by looking at the animals. Madison and Hayes practiced milking a fake cow. After that we hit up the fair food (Joe is a major fan). Madison and Hayes rode a couple rides. We did put Hayes on a little roller coaster (we had to sneak him on because he wasn't quite tall enough) and it was definitely a little mature for him. Held onto the bar for dear life and looked pretty pail, but he did it! We also went to a 3-D movie about the brain, which I think was a first for all of us. It was pretty fun. Going to the fair always seems like the event that signals the end of summer and the start of school, so I guess we are ready for fall (just hopefully not the rain!).

First Day of School

Madison had her first day of real school yesterday. She started a Lutheran preschool 3 times a week, and I think that she is going to LOVE it. Hayes and I went with her for an orientation yesterday. The teachers seemed fun, and Madison has plenty of new potential friends. I met a lot of the moms who were wearing professional wear and holding their Starbucks, and felt kind of funny because I still felt way less grown-up than them, but they were really nice. It is a religious preschool and they do sing a prayer before snack time, which I can honestly say I have never seen done before. I don't think Madison and Hayes realized they were praying, but thought it was fun anyway. After the orientation we went to chapel, and Madison and Hayes kept loudly asking what chapel was. I had to explain to them that it was kind of like church. Fortunately they enjoyed the new church, and Pastor Peterson's story about the creation. I think Madison is going to love it, and I was really impressed with the school!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Camping Extravaganza

Last week we went on our long-anticipated camping trip for the summer. This year we went to Ohanapecosh near Mt. Rainier. We stayed three nights and had great weather, almost too warm for a campfire! The kids loved it. Joe and the kids went swimming in the Blue Hole at La Wis Wis (those are really their names), it was way too cold for me. Madison and Hayes became Junior Rangers after completing their training at the visitor's center. We drove up to Mt. Rainier's visitor's centers at Paradise and Sunrise, and saw some pretty spectacular views of the Cascades and Mt. Rainier. We took a hike to the Grove of the Patriarchs, some 1000 year old trees in the area. We even ventured into the world of dutch oven cooking for the first time, and were pretty good at it, even if we do say so ourselves.

It was a fun trip, a great place to go. I did learn a lot about the volcanic capabilities of Mt. Rainier and I am torn between fearing a blast which would surely take-out our Seattle home, and secretly just wanting one anyway because it is so fascinating. I do love volcanoes.