Saturday, June 30, 2012

The LONG Route Home: Girls Only Camping Trip Day Four

This was the THEME OF THE DAY: 

If there was a way we could have been slowed down, it happened.  By the end of the day, we were actually laughing at what could have been the master plan behind all of the delays.  We were imagining angels working behind the scenes:  at the construction road delays, at the register line in Walmart, at the half hour wait at A&W, at every wrong turn and long route home - to, for some divine reason, keep us from coming home any earlier than we had planned to be.  There had to be something, because it was just plain comical.

Starting with this scene.  We had just completed packing up the site - binding the tent tightly in it's miniature duffel - and about five minutes from leaving.  I return back from the outhouse with the girls and Michele has this look of shame on her face.  She had left her phone in the tent pocket and packed it in with the tent.  Unbelievable.

Mikayla helped to save the day.

After stop-offs at Weed, California (we saw the "Girls Gone Wild" bus...oh joy!!!) and Klamath Falls, we finally made it to Crater Lake National Park. 

The historic lodge.

And the views - complete with lots of snow still left around (preventing us from doing any hiking, the girls were so bummed....-insert sarcasm-)

Wizard Island.

The Phantom Ship - a feature of the lake.

Nati was not in the mood to smile.  It led to quite the discussion between Michele and her on the way out of the park.    ;)

Mikayla did a report on Crater Lake this year, too bad this visit didn't happen before her speech.

We finally rolled in at about 7:30 Thursday night - this is the weather we came home to.  UGH!!! 

Fortunately, this is the weather forecast for the next seven days.  Today is still raining - but change is a coming....proving again that summer in Oregon officially starts on the Fourth of July!

Waterfalls and Wildlife: Girls Only Camping Trip Day Three

Day three.  It was the coldest night we experienced.  One of those situations where you actually create a hood with your mummy bag sleeping bag and pull it tight so that you have a little hole to breathe from and that's it.  Brrr!  

But, that's where this amazing unit comes in - my early birthday present from John.  I had drooled over it when I saw it at Costco and even sent John a picture text of it.  We decided to wait as we had a good stove and oven (separate units) that worked just fine.  However, John surprised me with it Sunday night and I'm so delighted!  Cobblers, baked beans, cinnamon rolls, cookies - oh, the possibilities are endless!

The girls, checking out one of our campground neighbors, and then a whole slew of pictures of these very friendly visitors, including a couple of young bucks.

The plan was to stick close to home today.  We'd done enough driving the day prior, and knew it would be a long trek home, so we aimed to keep the kids out of the car.  (Though, they ended up going in there to play by the end of the day).

Our campground was in the midst of a series of waterfalls that were along the McCloud River.  We had heard that it was a three mile loop to see them all - but, Michele and I found ourselves directionally-challenged and went downstream instead of upstream.  As a result, we WORE the kids out, and eventually opted to bypass the Upper Falls.

This is the Lower Falls, adjacent to our campground.  Stunning, huh?

The McCloud River (If we were at Lower Falls - and wanted to go to Middle and Upper Falls, one would safely conclude that we were to head upstream vs. only took us about a mile of hiking to figure that out!  Yes, Michele and I were co-valedictorians of our high school....not seeing much proof of that now, huh?!)


Mt. Shasta and that brilliant (non-photoshopped) blue sky just had me entranced.

Finally, we arrived at Middle Falls - and had a picnic.  Mikayla had mentioned she doesn't remember ever having had a picnic (are you serious?) - so we brought a checkered tablecloth to make the experience complete.

When we returned, look who was house-sitting our campsite for us?

Because we only originally planned to camp for three days (but, upon seeing all the glory of the area, canceled an upcoming eye appt. to be able to stay an additional day) we chose to head into McCloud for dinner.  Unfortunately, this place doesn't have much of a nightlife, so we were unsuccessful in finding a cute cafe.  We did mess around for a while on the historic main street - checked out the logging company history and the railway.

Michele was showing the girls where we'd traveled so far.

We finally gave up and ended up at a small grocery store to bring dinner back to camp and fix it there.  However, at the check-out, the cashier recommended this place across the highway.  

While the prices were a little steep, we shared some "Mt. Shasta Sliders" and mozzarella cheese sticks and actually had real sit-down meal.  However, as evidenced by the next pic, the girls didn't stay seated for long.

Another great day.  We realized that the girls aren't nearly the hikers we were hoping they'd be in terms of passion (seriously?  It's like exercise you don't even notice because you're so enchanted by the scenery!)   We did find that if we incorporated special questions to the girls, they were much happier, so we spent a big chunk of the time asking things like, "What's your favorite breakfast cereal?"  "Your favorite baked food?"  "Your favorite holiday -excluding Christmas as that's a given?" Michele and I were having to use some serious creativity to keep satiating their appetite of answering fun questions!  It made us feel better bonding with them then as we ignored them later while reading our Kindles... =)