Monday, June 9, 2014

Go Find That Trailhead!

We took a long drive up Santiam Pass to the Marion Lake Trailhead.  We knew we were up for a 6+ mile challenge as we started up to this mountain lake.  Celebrity joined our adventure.

21 month Analise walked very slowly, enjoying the breaks sitting on rocks.  She found a single puddle from the melting snow and insisted on splashing.

6 year old Amy enjoyed the old trees and shared stories of Field Day.  The snow had recently melted and the mosquitoes were not yet swarming.

After awhile we made it to the first lake- Lake Ann.  We met a fisherwoman who had packed her raft and fly fishing gear.  We enjoyed our lunch watching her launch and explain fly fishing to us.  Amy decided we had made a new friend who should teach us to fly fish and bring us out in her raft, but we continued up to Marion Lake after she set out.

On our way to Marion Lake, we took a side trail to Marion Falls which was a dramatic and sudden cliff edge.

On our way back to the main trail, we got to watch a deer.

Marion Lake was dramatic, huge, and surrounded by pretty rocks.  The mouth of Marion Lake was clear and beautiful.

We spent quite a bit of time at the cold lake shore.  The girls stripped off their clothes and took a dabble so that they would not hike in wet clothes.  Celebrity had a gift for spotting crawdads.

As we came around the huge lake, 3 Fingered Jack loomed above us.

We got a little lost finding the loop trail back to Lake Ann and added about another mile onto our day.  By the end of the seven miles of beautiful mountain lakes and forest we were that wonderful happy hiker exhausted.

We drove down the Marion Creek Road and found a BEAUTIFUL unmarked campsite near a raging creek.  The was an amazing spot with a fire pit, a raging stream, moss covered branches, and a tucked away tent spot the perfect size for our large tent.

We set up camp and I perched on a flat cooking surface with equal views of fire and stream to try out my new toy, the "Safari Chef" camping stove.  My tiny one burner backpacking stove is great for boiling water but we were able to grill delicious salmon for dinner along with a yummy noodle dish with my traditional boiled water and snap peas from our farm share.

Analise was excited to sleep in the tent and announced who was sleeping in the tent with her along with pink monkey.

Once Analise was asleep, we enjoyed making Smores by the fire.  Celebrity even graced us with a fire dance!

I knew I was in trouble when I was awoken at 5:50am with "Go find that trailhead" and a very happy energetic Analise!

Analise and I enjoyed camp chores and spending a few hours together before the rest of the crew woke up.

After everyone woke up, we had breakfast and broke camp before driving a short distance to the Independence Rock Trailhead.

We took a short hike up Independence Rock for a lovely view of the valley below.

We had a great time together and felt so grateful to enjoy the mountain lakes in the cool of early summer without many bugs.  We can't wait for our next adventure!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Happier Snowshoe at Willamette Pass

In February 2013, Amy got to spend the weekend with Happi the owl from her preschool.  We spent Friday night with Nana in Salem so that we could get an early start for our long drive to Willamette Pass.  Analise was five months old.

We picked up a new friend of ours/ old friend of Sarah's along the way in Eugene.

It was a beautiful day and Analise was too little to know that she hated snow.

We had a really fun snowshoe to a three sided shelter.

We took plenty of breaks and enjoyed the snow and the company together.

Happi the owl tried skiing and posed in trees from time to time.

Analise stayed cozy in her snowsuit and did not seem to mind being out and about with us too much.

The snow at the shelter was quite deep.

We let Happi the owl try a snowshoe so she would not get buried in the snow.

It was a fun time together.  When we got back to the parking lot the sun was setting.  It turned into a pretty long snowshoe route, but everyone was doing well.

We endured the very long drive back to Salem and then to Portland without too much protest from Analise.

This drive was a very far for a day trip but we decided we would like to come back  in the summer to utilize the trail network and shelters on a backpacking adventure.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A wild drive and a beautiful hike off the beaten path

We wanted an "off the beaten path adventure, so we headed up toward Whatum Lake south of Hood River in the gorge. 

It was a beautiful sunny spring day.  As we headed up the 3 mile forest service road past the crowd, we started to notice snow patches.

The car we were driving was a Ford Mercury Sedan, not exactly the vehicle for adventures.  We had just gotten a tire fixed and I was hoping we would make it through the large rocks and potholes.

 Unfortunately, just before the trailhead, the snow became deeper and we had to very carefully, turn the car around on the forest service road.  When we were safely turned around, we hiked the last bit of road to the trailhead.

The beginning of the trail opened up our view of the area.  We were hiking over large rocks and snow patches.  We enjoyed the short climb to the top of Indian Mountain.

At the top, the view was incredible and we enjoyed gazing at Mt. Hood and playing on the rocks.

It was a great feeling to be in a beautiful high place and know that no one had been here yet this year.

We took our time breathing the fresh mountain air and feeling on top of the world.

Analise, my now almost two year old, did a lot of hiking and "rock hopping" on the way down.  She insisted on finding the biggest rocks to carry along the way.

When we got back to the car both girls were very tired and even too tired to stop for dinner or a treat.

It was a good, wildernessish type of tired.  Sarah even got out of the car to remove small boulders from the forest service road to help preserve our undercarriage since it took a bit of a beating on the way up.

I can't think of anywhere I would rather be than soaking in a mountain view on top of another mountain with my two girls and their "Aunt" Sarah.

It was worth driving and hiking through some snow to beat the mosquitos and be the first ones to such a beautiful place.