Monday, July 31, 2017

Crater Lake - Day 5 and 6

One more exploration day at Crater Lake.  I just couldn't resist showing some more amazing shots of the lake.  And, well, my cute kids posing in the snow and at all the lookout spots.  The highest lookout spot is called Watchtower outlook, at 8100 feet.  It was enough to send my vertigo into a rage.  There was no way that a minivan should have ever been allowed on the road, or what they deemed a road made of gravel and a very steep drop off to never - never land.

Final destination before leaving Crater Lake - the gift shop of course.

Dad made all the kids a deal - he gave them $100 to shop with on the vacation.  The object was to control their spending.  He wasn't buying snacks or souvenirs - no begging allowed.  Here was the catch. . .  whoever came back with the most money won an additional $100. 

Everyone was very careful to only spend their money on those items they deemed absolutely essential and by the last day each of them had most of their money still remaining.  Abby quickly realized she had already spent more than the others had so she wouldn't be winning the additional $100, so what's a girl to do. . . well, she bought monster feet.  I think she got the best deal of all.  What 9 1/2 year old wouldn't want monster feet - and pink for that matter!

So, who won you might ask?  It happened to be a certain teenage girl - Hannah.  She was followed by a close second to Lindsay.

Our last day led us on an early morning hike on two different trails.  The Natural Bridge trail took us right along the Rogue River Gorge.  Beautiful, breath-taking boulders with thousands of gallons of water flowing over the top, snaking here and there, getting trapped in caves which were old lava tubes.  If I was a betting girl, Disneyland took their inspiration for their log rides from this gorge.

The Mill Creek Falls trail took us 2.5 miles round trip to two waterfalls jutting out of the mountainside; water flowing right underneath the tree tops.  Then back up to the top of the river where giant boulders created a series of falls and rapids for the river to twist it's way downward. 

Later that evening, the highlight of my day was taking these two littles up to the bridge near our cabin.  There was shallow water in which they could actually play in.  Mind you this water had to be 40 degrees.  George laid down, plugged his nose and dipped back into the water.  His face coming out of the water was contorted due to the extreme cold.  It was quite the sight.  Abby tried to imitate him, but she just couldn't muster up enough guts to dunk her whole head into the water.  It was pure joy!

Another glorious vacation.   We all can't wait to see where Dad takes us next year!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Crater Lake - Day 3 and 4

Diamond Lake was on our agenda for today.  When every last kid is whining to go swimming, what's a dad to do, but find a lake.  He found one, situated about 40 minutes from our campsite.  We could not swim in the river behind our campsite because the current was way too strong - I had visions of children being sucked into the twisting, turning, rushing Rogue River.

The sun was shining, glorious and warm without a cloud in the sky to be seen.  The water was blue, not as vibrant as Crater Lake, but none the less beautiful.  George was the first brave soul to jump in and wade out as far as he could stand on his tip toes.  The girls followed - skittishly, squealing as their bodies hit the 40 something-ish degree water.

We drove over to the other side of the lake, where we found Diamond Lake Resort.  After lunch Dad took the kids on a paddle boat ride around the lake for about 45 minutes and gave momma the last 15 minutes.  That was all that my legs could take.  Feel the burn baby!

When a morning of fishing with Dad led to no fish caught, but lots of mosquito bites, dinner was turned into beer can chicken instead of fried fish.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing.  Grandma and Poppa enjoyed an afternoon of watching downloaded movies from Netflix, while Dad taught the three littler kids to whittle. Several knives were crafted and I did see the makings of a gun at one point.  It was just like clock work every afternoon - like a bunch of baby ducklings following momma- Grandma, Poppa and five children exited the cabin and proceeded to the ice cream shop next to us.

Three of the kids participated in the Junior Ranger program through the National Parks .  This is an absolute must to do if you ever visit a National Park.  Each child gets a workbook to seek and find the answers to word searches, mazes, puzzles and short answers.  Once the workbooks are completed they get turned back in to a ranger.

This time the kids actually got questioned about their answers.  I overheard the ranger ask what their favorite spot at Crater Lake was and to describe the things they had learned while there.  After all the questions were answered, they each got a badge and the ranger officially introduced them as the newest Junior Rangers. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Crater Lake. . . Day 1 and 2

Psalm 19:14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

We left early on a Friday morning, headed for Union Creek Campgrounds in Prospect, Oregon for a six day vacation which was probably long overdue for several people in our family.  Our first stop was Taylor's Sausage in Cave Junction.    My friend Heather, has been telling me for years how good their sausage and meat were.  Even the General Manager prefers their curing style for bacon above all other local meat processing.  We may or may not have overloaded the slightly smallish cooler we brought.  There was sausage, organic free range chicken, bacon, more bacon and hamburger to feed us on our stay.  Windows down, sunshine streaming in the car and a warm breeze blowing had everyone enjoying the drive up to the cabin.  We pulled in five minutes before my in-laws, Bob and Peg arrived.

The cabin was a two-storied, brown shingled quaint cabin, complete with wood framed windows.  There was a porch with a BBQ grill sitting on it ready for our dinner plans.  Can you smell the sausage grilling?  Everyone was early to bed that night.

Up early the next morning, we headed to Crater Lake.  Our cabin was at 3000 feet, the entrance to the park was around 5200 feet and by the time we got to the top of the rim at 7100 feet, we quickly learned about altitude sickness.  Lindsay and Anne had begun feeling the effects of it the night before, but we quickly had them drink a ton of water, but Abby slipped through the cracks of water drinking.  By the time we drove up to the rim of the crater, Abby was vomiting and lethargic.  Dad had to stay in the car and trade off with momma while Abby slept the morning away. 

The lake was absolutely magnificent.  Genesis 7:11 (In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.) came to my mind the moment I saw the lake.  Around 7700 years ago the mountain/volcano erupted and the top of the mountain fell in on itself, causing the base of the lake to be created.  Over years the snow has melted and filled in the basin.  I would also venture to say that the remains of the great flood waters stayed trapped inside the basin, but scientists won't admit to that.  I couldn't believe that a lake could be so blue and so high up in altitude.  There are no rivers feeding the basin either, it's strictly filled each year with the snow falling and melting.

We didn't leave without George getting some snow playing time.  Believe it or not, there was actually up to 6 feet of snow still in some places.  Since Abby wasn't feeling good, we called it day and went back to the cabin so she could sleep.