Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clearwater National Park

After Lewiston we headed down the Lewis and Clark Highway (12). What a beautiful area! We drove along the Clearwater River and Lochsa River. Every turn of the river seemed to hold a fly fisherman. It was an amazing sight to see them casting in the sun light in such a pristine natural area.

We stopped several times to go check out the water. It was so clear, it was remarkable. As we entered the Clearwater National Forest, we began seeing trailheads everywhere and these really cool wooden walking bridges across the river into the woods. We ended up stopping at the Visitors Center at Lolo Pass to get directions to the hot springs and decided we had to camp in this area. It was too beautiful to just drive through. We found a camp site along the Lochsa River. In Clearwater you can actually camp wherever you can fit.

We got up early the next morning and hiked up to the Jerry Johnson warm springs. There are three natural pools and we stopped at the first one. I’m glad we went early because there was only one other guy there. The hot spring was actually right on the river. The only thing keeping the hot springs water and the cold river water from each other was a couple of large rocks. We sat up there for probably an hour and half before we started to see a lot of hikers. We did have a really nice older couple come sit in a small pool by us. They enjoyed the pools naked, which was fine with us, except the old guy kept standing in front of us trying to talk with his hands on his hips and his back arched, I couldn’t stop laughing but I did maintain eye contact.
After the hot springs we jumped around in Lochsa River. We did see a huge trout, but it was dead. Other than that we only caught glimpses of small fish. There were also tons of caterpillers, they were black with yellow spots and really fuzzy. They were actually even swimming across the river. They were either a Yellow Spotted Tiger Moth or the Spotted Tussock Moth. Either way, they were fun to watch.
I definitely would love to come back to this area again and recommend it to anyone.

The Road Trip Begins!

On September 22, 2011 we headed out to see the great USA. Darby, unfortunately, could not come, even though he really wanted to. We left early and headed east. What a beautiful drive along the 84! We followed the Columbia River up through the gorge. As we got closer to The Dalles we were surrounded by solar windmills! Hundreds and hundreds for miles and miles. I was in awe while Josh drove.

We stopped in Walla Walla, Washington for lunch. If you are a fan a wine, and have time to stay in Walla Walla, I would highly recommend it! So many wine tasting rooms and vineyards. Unfortunately, we still had some driving to do so we had to pass, but we will be back.

Our next and final stop for the day was Lewiston, Idaho. We stayed at Hells Gate state park next to the Snake River. It was a nice park but right across the river was the highway and the city lights were so bright. It didn’t really feel like camping.

So the next morning we stopped by the museum and headed back out on the road. Josh has taken up whittling and this is me comparing his canoe to a real carved canoe. They seem kind of similar...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Begining

Scenic view at Crater Lake.

Our camera takes pretty good pictures but it doesn't do the blues at this mountain top lake any justice.  From the midnight blue of the shadows in the water to the pale baby blue in light cloud cover and everything in between; this picture may as well be in black and white.

This is where we made the fundamental error.  We encouraged the boys to hop behind the rock wall so they could make a funny chase panaramic with uncle Josh. Little did we realize around the rest of the lake there is no ledge beyond the rock wall. It falls so sharply and far that 40ft cedars look like legos about twenty feet out. Of course once they had jumped the wall once and ran, laughed and played they wanted to climb and walk the wall the whole time. By the time we got to the visitors center i was so stressed i could actually hear my pulse in my right ear. When Ivy finally spanked Gabe a bunch of people looked at us like we were bad parents for disciplining a child that was doing something that could kill him. I guess we should have spared the rod and let him plummet to his death. Other than trying to jump the ledges, the boys had so much fun and so did we.

 A couple little angels! Really though we had a really great time and a lot of poop breaks. This is also  along a monstrous cliff from which no mortal man could survive the fall. Ahhh responsibility...

Tree house!

This was my project around Ivy's parents place while we were staying with them. It took a few weeks and a lot of work but i had some eager helpers. I had the opportunity to teach Taylor and Gabe about some man skills which felt really good. It also got me out of cleaning everyones house for the yard sale which was also a plus. I did it in the strangest possible way keeping with my general way of doing things. We built it from the top down using ropes and pulleys to hoist the lumber. I'm really proud of the finished product though, the tree will come down before it does!


What to do when its burnin up outside? Go underground in the Lava Bed caves obviously! Before you even get all the way into the cave where light doesnt reach, it is already noticably cooler. Once you start walking in deeper you can see your breath, so it was a great solution to our dilema. These are lava tubes in the Lava Beds national park in northern California. I had never been caving before but luckily Ivy is an old pro. We went with her friends Esteban and Lasheena who were a hoot. Esteban is taller than me so I wasn't the only one smackin' my noggin' on the low hanging sections. It would be so peaceful with just the slight murmur of shuffling over rocks, the aroma of burnt matches and earth then "THUNK!!" One person mutering obscenities while the other three cackle like hyenas. We spent about six hours doing the inner loop of caves and there is a whole plethra of others scattered throughout these Modoc Indian territories. Plus Captian Jacks stronghold where they made their last stand against the white man. Hopefully we'll be able to come back in the winter leg of our journey to warm up in the caves :-)