Sunday, November 30, 2014

Backpacking 2014

With much-needed winter rains finally arriving, I remembered that I had not shared details about my family's 2014 backpacking trip. We went back to the same spot this year - this time hiking into the valley just as a thunderstorm met us there. We were cautious, ditched our packs and crouched apart from each other a few times under a forest canopy while distant lightning crashed about. Eventually we made it to our campsite, pitched the tent, and got our gear out of the rain. After an hour or two of UNO and settling in, the clouds gave way to blue sky for the rest of our three-day trip.

The rest is told in pictures - you might compare some of these images to those of last year's outing.

To parents of our kids' friends - you should seriously think about joining us next year!

Frigid water - up to chest-deep

No-bake cheesecake, yum!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Wilderness Backpack Trip

As a finale for summer break, the kids agreed to a longer trail distance for a backpacking trip - but with a day of relaxing and exploring between the hike in and back out.

Jeffrey Pine bark really does smell like butterscotch!

Half-way through the hike - a view of the valley we would camp in.

Even with the very dry winter, water still flows through the creek and its chain of waterfalls...

...and the pools of water were extremely cold! Perfect for basking on hot rocks.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Summer fun in the hills

We've been settling into our new home in the foothills and made some time for a few adventures in the area.

First off, we've added a new member to our family. We recently adopted Heidi, a 6-year-old Austrailian shepherd and lab mix. Her owner just passed away, and we were selected by the owner's children to bring her home. She has been very pleasant as we are adjusting to each other. Here are the kids relaxing with Heidi after going for a splash in the kiddie pool.

The boys and I went on the traditional father and son campout with men and boys from our new branch (church congregation). I tried to capture L, our youngest - who is very light, hanging from the handle of the manual water pump. We were initiated into plinking with bb guns and the locals' fascination with riding quads. We left early and I had to forego an anticipated hike because L woke up Saturday feeling ill and unable to keep food down. He is feeling much better.

We stopped at the local grocery store for their Tuesday night special on ice cream. This is the view just outside. H was on his way home from Cub Scouts and getting ice cream, so we didn't feel too bad going without him this time.

We fulfilled one of our ambitions of our family's move by participating in our community's 4th of July parade and festivities. It was advantageous to spectate near the beginning of the procession as paraders' bags of candy were full and generous downpours of candy came regularly to our pack of kids and their friends.

On Saturday we went to one of the nearby lakes - really a dammed portion of the river - to swim. With temperatures in the 90s, the water was perfect. The older kids and some others with PFDs swam across the river to a rocky outcropping where the water was deep. We're looking forward to lots more exploring in our new neighborhood.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Coast Backpack (#5)

The last weekend of February, we went on our first whole-family backpacking trip. We had been waiting for our youngest child to be able to walk far enough and carry his own small backpack. He was a trooper and made little complaint about our 4-mile round trip hike.

One of the secrets to a happy crew is snacks to look forward to.

We made it to the beach!

Anna's first backpacking trip in a long while. At dark it became a bit chilly with strong wind gusts throughout the night.

Happy Birthday, L! Tidepools were about a half-mile walk down the beach.

Another secret to happy campers is bringing friends along. They taught us about some of the sea creatures they found and made the hike out seem much shorter.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Kids need wonders only seen outdoors

A brief article about a child and a dad that I can relate to:
Kids need wonders only seen outdoors

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Backpack #4

This past Friday and Saturday, I went on my 4th backpacking trip with the kids - again taking the three oldest. I have been inviting other dads and kids along, but I ended up being the only adult along to fend off the mountain lions, black bears, and other wild imaginations.

The 2.2 mile trail traversed a canyon wall amid oak and pine trees above a scenic river. I had never seen acorns quite this color before!

We camped on a large bar (sandbar) where L found these two heart-shaped rocks. She thought her teacher would like them, so we captured a photo of her with the rocks. This way we were able to "leave what you find" (Leave No Trace principle), and we avoided her filling her pack with every beautiful rock she found.

The photo above is special as it marks the place where I lost our digital camera on the hike in. Night was falling, so we took off our packs to get out our headlamps for the last half-mile or so. I forgot that I had taken off the camera case and must have kicked the camera case (with camera) off the path when putting my backpack back on. In camp the next day we realized the camera was missing. This spot was the only place I could think of having removed the camera case from my neck, but the case was not there when we hiked out. I prayed for help, and A remembered asking me what I had kicked after putting on my backpack the previous night. We wondered if instead of a rock, as I had presumed, it was the camera case and started looking down the steep bank along the trail. Thankfully, the strap of the camera case had attached to a small plant only about 6 feet down the hill where I could safely get to it. We offered thanks and cheerfully hiked homeward.

There really were big kitties and bears nearby! We didn't meet any though.

Friday, August 19, 2011

August Campout with Friends

With summer break drawing to a close, we enjoyed one last hurrah with the company of friends we hadn't seen for a few years. Camping season was in full-swing, but we were able to find two available campsites located in a cool area between our two families' cities.

We like going to hike-in campsites,

Dutch oven cooking,

going on more hikes (the photos from our twilight hike did not turn out well),

wading when it's hot,

and being with good friends.

Looking forward to the next adventure!

Summer with Family

We spent a good portion of our July visiting family and having a great time together. Below are snapshots of just a few of the things we did. Enjoy - we sure did.