Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

We eventually made our way back to our campsite from Third Beach. The kids were tired, it was the second day in a row that involved some hiking (about three-four miles round trip), so they were ready for bed.

Sunday morning we awoke to no rain. I got up early and made myself some coffee while the kids were sleeping. After I'd finished my two cups I waited around a bit longer, but by 7:30 I was bored and it was apparent that Ian was awake but Leah was not. So I packed up my hammock and waited around a bit longer. Then I took the kids' rainfly off, and they looked so cute I had to get my camera out.

The magic of the hammock is that level ground is not necessary, just two trees the correct distance apart. So while it looks like the kids were laying on that downed tree, they were not.

Leah didn't want to wake up, but she was still a good sport about it. Here I'd peeled back the mosquito netting to get a clearer photo of the kids.

I knew we were headed home after this, so we drove the two miles back to Rialto Beach to go for a little walk, and enjoy the non-raining weather (it had rained quite a bit the day before). I was getting a photo of the kids in this giant tree when a stranger came up and asked if I'd like to get in the photo, too.

Finally, the kids think they've discovered the shortest river in the world. We'd crossed the so-called shortest river in the world in Oregon last year, but I'm sure this one beats it by a long shot; it doesn't even exist at high tide.

We're obviously home and dry - hoping everybody has a wonderful Memorial Day. Cheers!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kicking off summer with beach camping!

Based on the title of the blog post, you might reasonably think warm sun and soft sand. Here in Washington you are just wrong! Rainy weather notwithstanding, the kids and I had a great time, and slept warm and dry in the rainy outdoors.

We started off with the long drive to Mora, just a bit west of Forks, Washington. We lucked out and had dry weather set up camp, which as you'll see below was a couple of hammock tents to sleep and our canopy for meals. That bit of luck with the weather meant we had a dry place to cook and eat our meals (a true blessing).

After we set up camp we made our way down to Rialto Beach. Our goal was to make it past Ellen Creek (if you remember, that is the river that turned us around last time we were here). The change in topography is startling, even after just a few hours. There was a tree right next to Ellen Creek (river on one side, sand on the other) when we first went past, and it was in the middle of the river on the way back to the car.

This time we came prepared, with sandals for me and Crocs for the kids, though I carried them across so they didn't get their feet wet. We made our way out to Hole in the Wall, and since we timed it for low tide, actually got to walk through. It is a bit dicey since the "trail" leading up to Hole in the Wall is slippery rock that is submerged at high tide, with a cliff on one side and 1-2 foot tidal pools on the other, but the kids made it through, no sweat.  We paused for some photos, and then made our way back through. The beach on the car-side of Hole in the Wall was a bit nicer, and both kids wanted to run around and play which was just fine with me.

On the way back to the car it started to rain and it really didn't let up for the rest of the night. Since we had already set up our hammock-tents, all we had to do was cook dinner, do the dishes, and then pop into our sleeping bags. All in all it was a great day, and both kids loved, loved, loved Hole in the Wall (and that I carried them across Ellen Creek, they'd gladly have rode piggy back all night if I'd let them).

The next morning we got up and drove to Third Beach, about 15-20 minutes down the road, further south from where we stayed. There are some large sea stacks there that I wanted to see. Only problem was that since we had lunch at a local restaurant, we got to Third Beach just in time for high tide. There was a landslide that had knocked some trees into the high tide surf, so we (and a couple of large groups of campers/backpackers) ended up waiting around. Eventually the tide went out far enough that we could run around the tips of the trees, and then back higher ashore to escape the waves. We had to jump on the trees a couple of times to avoid getting wet, but as far out as the tide had gone, I don't think our shoes would have been submerged; still, drier is nicer.

Third Beach has a nice waterfall the tumbles directly into the Pacific Ocean. To get further south where all the sea stacks are involves a bit of a climb over that headland to the beach on the other side. We started up, but the climb involved ropes to help scramble up the steep and incredibly muddy slopes. At times there were ladders and ropes to help navigate up the headland, but it was still muddy going. Strange to think that in a rainforest where it has been raining more on than off since October that it would be a muddy mess in there ;-) The kids actually enjoyed getting muddy, but the return trip was sketchy in places. I'll have to go in August or September after it hasn't rained in a couple of months and the mud has subsided to go check out those sea stacks.

I hope everyone is having a great day out there!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Leah's pre-recital ballerina photos

Leah had her photos for her recital today, so before she left and got the official photos we played around here at home and I took some. She made sure to tell me that she has two tutus, but you only get to see this one.

If you look closely, you'll see that she lost another tooth.

Other than that, nothing much new here. I would have posted some photos of Ian, but he didn't want to get his photo taken - however we are going to a Viking Festival today, so maybe I'll catch some photos of him on the sly!

Have a wonderful day everybody. Cheers,


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Promotion Day

It feels like it took forever to get here, but my promotion finally arrived. I am now a Major.

Catherine cooked up pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, mac & cheese, biscuits, tortellini salad, potato salad, three kinds of cookies with watermelon too. She did a ton of work to make the party afterwards turn out great, and it did!

Promotions don't happen too often, so we had both Ian and Leah come and see what my Army life was all about. I am so blessed to be surrounded by my family, and I couldn't have been happier that they all came.