Saturday, June 25, 2011

Staircase at Olympic National Park

I think I may be in love with Washington...

We live just an hour and a half from Olympic National Park, about an hour from Rainier National Park, an hour to an hour and a half from Mt. St. Helens - the list goes on. Almost too many choices. Almost. So today we decided to make the quick trip to Staircase, at the southeastern edge of Olympic National Park.

We walked about a mile down the Skokomish Falls Loop Trail which followed the river. It was much like the walk in Idaho we did last weekend - just what the doctor ordered. Below is the trail we followed.

Unfortunately, the bridge at the far point over the river was washed out, so we turned around and enjoyed the walk back.

Ian and Leah had a good time. I think they were as entranced with the river as I was.

Finally, on the way out headed to a late lunch, we passed this small pullout of Lake Cushman, about 10 minutes outside of Hoodsport.

We had a nice day, hopefully everyone out there has too. Cheers!


Friday, June 24, 2011

On the way to Snow Creek Falls

Just another random photo from our recent trip to Idaho. This was on the way to the lower Snow Creek Falls. Which gets me to thinking, Snow Creek was a full blown RIVER. If that was a creek . . .

Anyways, Google has played with this photo a bit in a way that I'm not too fond of, but you get the idea. It was great to get out in the woods again and enjoy nature. The bonus of bringing the kids is that with Ian and Leah along, every animal in a 10-mile radius knew we were there! No need for bear cans/bells/whistles.

Have a wonderful day everybody!



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sandpoint, Idaho

Big things have been happening on the Skinner-homefront lately. We are thrilled to announce that we've moved in to our new home here in Washington!!! No more hotels!!! YEAH!!

Um, I'm kinda' excited about that. One month living out of our luggage was tough. The kids enjoyed getting out of the hotel too, as you can see here as they made "carpet angels" at the new place:

Never ones to stay still for too long, we made plans to visit some friends of ours this past weekend from our Cincinnati days - Leesa and Dan. Unfortunately, Dan couldn't make it as he was in Arizona helping to fight the wildfires there. It was NOT an unremarkable weekend, which I admit is pretty cryptic. Let's just say that I'm glad Maru (one of Leesa and Dan's cats) is recovering from his foray into wild mushrooms. Amazingly, Ian played a small role in Maru's receiving prompt treatment.

Anyways - in spite of her concern for one of her pets, Leesa was a gracious hostess and showed us around the thriving metrocity of Sandpoint. Population, 8,400. The town is much larger than I'd have guessed based solely on it's population, and it has a fair bit to offer in way of restaurants, cafes, and other entertainment opportunities. We made our way from the Farmer's Market to the beach, where the kids played for a bit on the playground. Catherine and Leesa let me wander around with my camera for a bit, which is how I found this gal:

Apparently this small Statue of Liberty isn't always wearing approved personal floatation devices and goggles - so I guess I got lucky on this one. Later that day, Leesa took us out for a short drive into the mountains so we could hike to a waterfall. This pretty valley was just one of the sights along the way.

We eventually walked our way to Snow Creek Falls - which due to the epic snowfall this winter was amazing!!! There were no easy vantage points to photograph the falls. Mostly because the churning/falling water was kicking up so much mist and spray that all available surfaces were slick; which would have soaked my camera and potentially ruined it. So I used the kids' camera for this one below (it's waterproof!).

Have a great day everybody!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Triple Volcano-kind of day!

Okay, the title of this post makes things sound way more exciting than they really are. However, we did see the three volcanos in the area on a HUGE drive through the countryside here in Washington.

First, we had to turn in our rental battleship Expedition in Seattle. We were originally going to explore Seattle, but decided to hit the road instead. We headed east along I-90, the Mountains to Sound Greenway, into the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range. Our first stop was a short 5-10 minute drive off the interstate to Snoqualmie Falls.

It is a neat little park that we'll have to come back to in 2013 after they have completed maintenance on the trail that allows one to walk from the rim to the bottom of the falls. Should be fun! Part of the park at the rim included old portions of the (still active) hydro-electric plant. Below are Ian and Leah in one of the old hydro-turbines.

We left the falls and headed into Snoqualmie for a nice lunch, and then explored the town a bit. Ian was in heaven as they had a working old time train with plenty of older engines and passenger cars to explore. After that we loaded up and made our way over the Snoqualmie Pass. There is a ski resort there, and it still had plenty of snow. While it wasn't open, it definitely still had more snow in early June than I ever saw the entire winter at Clearfork Ski Area in Ohio. The kids had a great time playing in the snow, which pretty much consisted of falling down and/or throwing snow at me.

Our drive, which was only supposed to be 3-4 hours turned into an all day affair. Part of the problem was that the shorter route home was still closed. The Chinook Pass was either still snowed in or had experienced some extensive road/bridge damage during the massive spring melt. It was a pretty drive - exactly the sort of thing I need to go back and explore some more in the next couple of years - but definitely long. There were several view points along the way - several for Mt. Rainier (one of the volcanos - Mt. Adams is one of the others, as is Mt. St. Helens). Below is a photo of Ian and Leah at one of the viewpoints for Mt. Rainier. The photo doesn't do justice for just how high Rainier stands above everything else around it.

This is a final photo, below, of Mt. Rainier from that same viewpoint, just a different place to stand and compose the photo.

We didn't get home until closer to 10 pm last night, so we all slept in a good bit this morning. We are still stuck at the Rainier Inn for another week. It feels good to be on the downslope to all of this hotel living. It has been almost a month that we've been without a house to call home.

I hope everyone has a nice day today. The weather here is phenomenal, so we'll do some local exploring today, but it should be a good one. Ciao!