Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Redwoods '14

The California Redwood forests are some of my favorite places in all the world. There is a tranquility I cannot describe. I love that the park includes both coast and forest so there is much to do and it is all awe inspiring.

No, I don't typically run around with my jeans rolled up all weird. We had been at the beach before zipping over to the sign. I'm still unsure how we succeeded in keeping the kids dry above mid-thigh.

Little dude liked the ocean. He loves water though so that isn't too surprising. We didn't make him get soaked in the cold water which probably helped.

The girls never tire of the ocean. Really, who does?

We visited the coast the night we arrived to catch it at high tide and then again the next morning where we caught low tide. It was really neat to point out the differences to the kids though I think all they cared about was frolicking free of parental hovering. The beach was rather clear of tidal detritus though, unfortunately.

The next morning we walked Stout Grove. It's one of our favorite areas in the park. This year we didn't do any real hikes, but seeing the massive trees in the grove is almost better than any hike we would do there. It never ceases to amaze me how massive they are.

This is such a common sight. The girls have to both be involved with everything regarding Tate. He handles it with greater patience than they do, or that I do for that matter.

And then he gets rescued by dad and he can continue being cute in peace.

The girls have so much fun taking pictures of each other. It is hilarious to watch the posing and shot set up that goes into it.

They were being silly and I just liked it.

Squished into "our" hollow tree. I love that we do this every year. It's really easy to see how the kids have grown and it's just a fun little tradition. Since we come every summer I feel like I don't ever have much to say about it other than "the trees were big and it was pretty!" I suppose that is accurate, and enough. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Crater Lake '14

Seriously, I have no idea why the kids pick to go here every year. I mean, Crater Lake is beautiful, but there isn't a whole lot to do. We've hiked down to the water, up to Plaikni Falls, bought ice cream at the camp store, and a smattering of other things. For some reason the kids really like it and want to go every year.

You'd never have guessed it this year based on all the whining. It's a good thing they are so cute.

It's our first National Park experience as a party of 5! I was definitely a little nervous about camping with a baby. I mean, it's not like you have a great deal of privacy or soundproofing at your disposal if something goes awry. Luckily this kid is still pretty chill and was incredibly easy to maneuver.

He had lots of quality daddy-time.

Several times I found myself looking around camp and thinking "so this is what camping with kids looks like." We've done it so many times I shouldn't be surprised, but this year it really impacted me for some reason. Tate loved being in the playpen outside while I loved that I didn't have to try and keep him on a blanket in the fine volcanic ash soil that turns everything it touches a miserable shade of dark gray. There was always something interesting to look at and he stayed clean. Win/win.

Until bedtime that is...

He went to sleep really easily and all was well, until somewhere around 12:00 when he woke up with a scream. After a little hug he calmed down and went immediately back to sleep, only to wake up crying at 1:00ish because he was freezing and couldn't sleep. I had planned really well for all his camp needs except for adequate pajamas. Evidently in the wilderness it cools off at night. Who knew? So he slept the rest of the night in my sleeping bag while I attempted to stay warm, not squish him, and stop counting the moments until the sun rose. At least 4/5 of us got some sleep.

Ellie will not be fitting this chair very much longer. Aeryn has graduated to an adult chair, so now it seems we must convince Tate sometime in the next year or two that he is ok with purple flowers. This little giraffe is named "Oreo" and was won by Ellie in a duckling grab at the state fair. The girls went with a friend for her birthday and she's pretty pleased to have been the only one to get a large prize.

Somewhere behind the girls there is a lake... it just happens to be clouded by smoke from a few different forest fires. It was disappointing to miss the vivid blue we've come to expect, and a bit more so to realize that out of the four times we've visited only one was not in August (and therefore had a visible lake). Evidently we tend to be there smack in the middle of fire season.

The girls kept complaining about, well, pretty much everything. Whenever they whined about having nothing to do Jim told them to bike around the campground loop a certain number of times. They always responded with protest and disappointment, just to laugh and have fun as they rode around. Kids. What goes on in those little minds??

We didn't have a campfire because it was blazing hot already and we didn't want to further cook ourselves through, but that was a huge disappointment to the kids. This will probably be our last summer coming here, for a while at least. We have enjoyed it but it's time to mix up our routine a little.