Friday, July 03, 2015

St. Mary's Glacier

I have my own Summer Bucket List. It doesn't have a lot of items on it, but one thing I really wanted to do was hike this summer. I thought maybe my hike at Mt. St. Helens would be all that I would do given the kids schedule this year. I was very happy that twins & I were able to join the boy scout hiking group this month. 
We visited St. Mary's Glacier near Idaho Springs. It took just under an hour and thirty minutes to arrive at the trailhead. The parking lot was a few miles past where Siri thought it was. You can't miss it along the main road. Be sure to bring $5 for parking. The entire hike is loose rocks so that was a challenge for me & my recovering foot.

We took our first water break about half way up. It was steep & the elevation is high, but even the four year old in our group made it. I was hoping the trail followed this nice somewhat flat path.

But, instead, you continue up!

It took us about 40 minutes to reach the lake - it's a great hike for beginners. Rocky was especially glad to see the water. He's never been a fan of swimming, but I think he would have tried today if he had been off leash.

The view at the lake is very beautiful. The lake is formed from the glacier run off. I tried to find information about this glacier. I always thought that a glacier accumulates snow & ice faster than it melts and that a glacier is always moving. But, wikipedia says this is a semi-permanent snow peak which sounds inconsistent with a "glacier". 

The kids had fun scrambling over the rocks & enjoying the area.

As we kept walking, the view kept improving.

As you can see, like everywhere I've been in Colorado, you are never alone. Greta & I stopped here for a while. 

Charlie's enthusiasm had faded.

Greta, Rocky & I wanted to touch the snow! Rocky really wanted to run & play with the other dogs.

The view was so amazing!

The rest of our group (less the 4 year old & his mom) kept going up the peak. But, I didn't trust my foot on the snow or loose rocks with Rocky. Next time!

Eventually, we coaxed Charlie into the snow.

The way down was not too bad. It took us about 30 minutes to get back to the parking lot. We left the trailhead about 9 & had no problem with parking. When we got back to our car at 10:30, the lot was totally full. Arrive early & enjoy.
May your holiday weekend be filled with great adventures!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrate Sunshine!

The past three weeks have been unusually rainy so we are welcoming every blue sky we see.

Reading: Code Name Verity - historical fiction, but young adult so it's a fun, fast read (me), Bedknobs & Broomsticks (Charlie), The Eighth Day (Ella after Charlie), Penelope Crumb (Greta). Hello summer reading challenge.

Eating: lots of watermelon and yogurt 

Dreaming: of beaches (adventure soon awaits!)

Packing: for overnight camp - it's coming up soon

Planning: Fourth of July celebrations and camping plans

Training: for the kids mini triathlon. swimming often & planning a long bike ride

Trapping: lots of flies. Rocky likes to stretch on our back screen & we haven't fixed all the big holes yet.

Remembering: all the adventures on our recent trip to Indiana 

Watching: Inside Out 

Celebrating: a weekend regained - Ella opted out of a gymnastics meet this weekend so we have two days to relax and regroup after Indiana.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mount Saint Helens

Summer travel is in full swing. My first noteworthy stop was Portland, Oregon for my annual work retreat. While downtown Portland was great, I was surprised how much I enjoyed our day trip to Mt. St. Helens.

We all packed plenty of reading material for our two hour journey, but we didn't need it. Our vans were driven by two very knowledgeable drivers who narrated our whole trip.

We learned that most of Portland has been retrofitted to withstand an earthquake over 6.8. Though, none of the many bridges in the city would survive. We learned that in Portland, like many cities, people built beautiful homes with a view on the foothills. But, the foothills are thick beds of silt which are vulnerable to slides. 
The beautiful beaches along the Oregon coast are covered in volcanic ash.  I learned that the mountain used to have a normal peak that blew off when the volcano erupted. When Mt. St. Helens erupted, the glaciers inside the volcano melted and sent 46 billion gallons of water rushing away from the mountain.

We had about 2 hours to explore the visitor's center and surrounding hiking trails. The area is a National Park - so don't forget your parks pass.

The view looked like a mix between walking on the moon and walking through beautiful mountain fields.

The purple flowers were the first to return after the the devastation. The flowers brought nitrogen to the soil and animals back into the valley.
It was fascinating to see all the tree stumps where trees were just knocked over.

The downed trees on private land were taken to California to special mills which were retrofitted to cut these trees with embedded rocks. The trees on BLM land were left as-is.

While the towns in the projected lava/mud flow were evacuated, no one predicted that the volcano would have a lateral blast too. Most of the fatalities were people caught by the lateral blast. 

After a picnic lunch and a lovely hike along a deceivingly hilly trail, it was time to head back to Oregon. We left a little dusty and tired, but with a new found appreciation for volcanoes and geologists.

Not a bad first hike of the summer season!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Sports

The kids have branched out this year with their summer sport selections and it has been fun.

Ella decided to try competitive gymnastics. She's doing great at her current level. Now, we are trying to see if we can rearrange our summer plans to get to the regional meet next month.

Down in front!
Vault was her highest score last weekend - very impressive form.
Charlie joined a flag football team and was very pleased to discover that he knew many of his teammates from school. And yes, this ball was dropped - but I liked the action shot.
I think he spends all recess playing football. Needless to say, I got a big hug when I {finally remembered to} registered him this spring. He loves to run & play quarterback (what boy doesn't)?

Greta is following in her mama & sister's footsteps and joined a softball team.

She's got a great arm, good swing & she runs like the wind. Here she is rounding third & heading home to score!

It has worked out great that lessons at the golf course is a 5 minute drive away & swim lessons are just steps away. It hasn't been easy to keep up with the kids this summer. But, we are having fun and keeping busy. 

Next up, a visit to Indiana. The kids are over the top excited to see what adventures they will have this year.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015

Summer 2015 has started.

The weather has been more cold & rainy than usual. My first planned camping outing with Greta was moved to a backyard when the forecast for the Girl Scout campground looked ominous. 
We've found pockets of sunshine in which to enjoy the neighborhood pool. Charlie & Greta have even enjoyed their first pizza at the pool evenings.

Ella has taken on the role of mowing the front yard - much to Nick's delight. With these crazy rain storms we've been having, the back yard is still too swampy for her to navigate.

The kids have brainstormed & created their summer hopes & goals:

Rockies Game
Ice Cream in Indiana
Earn a "9" at a gymnastics meet
Pizza at the pool
Ice Cream at Cold Stone
See the movie Home
Go to the Bay
Paddle Board
Water balloon fight
Photo session
Weekend in the mountains
Padre Game
Picnic at the Wildlife Refuge
Build a sandperson/castle
Have a lemonade stand for Uganda
Cherry pit spitting contest
food trucks
volunteer at the food bank
Finish reading 3rd Harry Potter out loud
Watch 3rd Harry Potter movie
Go to Rec Center
Driving Range 
Library Challenge
Outdoor movie
Family bike ride
Swim in Grandpa's pool
Battle Dartz

It's going to be a summer of grand adventures!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

As I was planning our summer break, I was super excited that we were going to spend Memorial Day weekend in Glenwood Springs. 

Even though we were in town for a soccer tournament, I was optimistic we would be able to do the famous Hanging Lake hike or visit the mountainside amusement park. I envisioned a summer paradise.

They claim it is sunny in Colorado over 300 days of the year. We only saw the sun about 5 days in May.  Though we passed through snow on our drive, I was very excited to arrive in Glenwood to clear skies. 

The weather was perfect for our first game.

But, then the storm clouds rolled in. The adventure park was closed and the team cancelled their group trip to the Hot Springs.

We spent far too long in our hotel that day. It got chilly, but our second game was fairly dry - though the fields were muddy.

Our first game on Sunday was lovely. We drove to Aspen for lunch and drove back to the hotel in torrential rains.

The last game was 40 degrees & rainy. Not fun for the players. REALLY not fun for the spectators. 
The victory made sitting in the cold and rain worthwhile.

Since it was too muddy to hike, we decided to relax in the hot springs before leaving town.

The cold air and warm water was invigorating.

Here's to a summer of adventures!

Friday, May 22, 2015

San Diego

Earlier this month, I had a work trip to San Diego. 

I came in a day early to visit with J, Uncle K & Tucker. 

We spent a morning in Coronado watching dolphins playing in the surf.

While we have our perennial favorite to-dos when we visit San Diego, I also like to try something new each visit. This time, we picked a foggy morning to go kayaking. 

It was hard getting photos.

Someone's oar was always butting into the frame.

Our tour was in La Jolla near the tide pools that the kids like exploring.

We were testing out the tour to see if it would be something we would enjoying doing with the kids on our next visit. I think we decided to wait until the twins were a little older & could actually help with the paddling! I think 10 years old would be a good age (unless the adult is strong enough to paddle on your own).

Uncle K has educated us very well. We knew all the facts and tidbits that our guides discussed about the cove and sea lions. It was a great mini-adventure for us!

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