Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mt. Hood Aventure Park

I've got to say, I slept great both nights we were camping.  And, for the record - the headache lingered a bit through Monday, but was quite manageable - and went away after that.  Thank you all for your prayers!

Normally, I wouldn't bother including pictures of birds.  However, these were our main campsite companions (no siting of deer in this campground).  It's gonna bug me until I research it to conclude exactly what birds they are (at one time I had to memorize a bunch for a wildlife class...the names are on the tip of my tongue) - Figured it out - "Gray Jay" and "Steller's Jay".  They were quite interested in the food I set out for them, but quickly the experience turned a little frightening when one of the many that horded around landed on my head and then quickly flew off!  Wahhh!  That'll wake a person up in the morning!!

The weather was slightly uncooperative after we had breakfast, so the boys hopped in the car to continue watching the "Back to the Future" trilogy that I had recently purchased while it rained.

Fortunately, our weather just a few miles down the highway was significantly better - as evidenced by this image of Mt. Hood.  It's Oregon's most impressive ski mountain and our campsite was within ten miles of the base.

At the base is a town called Government Camp.  It's grown quite a bit since I've been there last.  You can tell it's trying to establish itself with a bit of a ski village feel....but, there's just no getting around the edginess/grittiness of the predominant snowboard industry.

We killed a little time in the museum (shown in above pic) before the Adventure Park opened.  That's quite the snowmobile, huh?

Finally, we made it to the reason for our camping destination choice.  The Mt. Hood Adventure Park.  Wisely, Mt. Hood Ski Bowl has determined it can keep a decent revenue coming in by creating a place to go to in the summer as well.  And, "adventure" is wisely included in the title - as it's quite the place for thrills.

There was the Quad Bungee Trampoline:

And, the ever-so-amusing "Hamster Balls":

The Bungee Jump (We were SO IMPRESSED that our boys did this.....even if I'd bought a ticket to participate, I would not have done it....)  Yes, that's our boys, way up there!

And, this thing is the "Rapid Riser" - a reverse version of the bungee where you start out a base level then get hurled into the air.  I think I would have done this as it requires no death defying jump to begin with...

Then, there was the "500 foot Zipline:

Of less thrills was the summer tube run, with a conveyor belt to get the tubes back up.

And, what sort of Adventure Park would be complete without an "Indy Car Run"?

By far, though, the biggest attraction was about a mile away - the "Alpine Slide".  It trails the ski lift of the Ski Bowl (so I imagine it is safely under snow for most of the year).  Michele and I both purchased a ticket to participate in one ride each of the slide so we could ride up on the lift with our boys and trail behind them on the sleds.

The boys proceeded to ride three more times.

The boys LOVED the "Adventure Park", but as seemed to be the theme of our experience, they were done with it a lot sooner than we anticipated.  After checking out numerous locations in Government Camp to have everyone's favorite lunch entree, we opted to drive back west to the larger town of Sandy for lunch.  While we were there, Michele was able to make up for the fact that she left her beloved Kindle at my house by picking up some used books at a thrift store.  Brayden was able to secure some New York style pizza (his craving), while Traig was very happy with his McDonald's milkshake and double cheeseburger.  We also, very wisely, opted to download another kid-friendly movie onto my phone while we were in WiFi vicinity.  The forecast for the evening suggested more rain and we were not going to go into the tent with our boys all night unprepared to keeping them entertained.

As if the day would never end, we also threw in a pretty good hike.  We returned to the location we'd tried the day before, but this time, knew to keep going.

After an almost entirely uphill climb (great news for the way back!), we came to Lower Twin Lake.  Gorgeous!

It featured a rope swing, which we'd been alerted to by other campers.  Knowing it is good to let our boys be boys, after carefully determining the depth of the lake and giving all sorts of precautions, we gave them our (with feint heart!) blessing to jump in if they wanted to.  We were proud and relieved when they both opted not to - but, it was definitely a decision they took their time making. 

I've had experiences swinging from a rope in which I lost my grip and felt very foolish (over the ocean on a little party boat) - so I was pretty scared to try this, worried I wouldn't keep my grip.  Hence the dorky pose here....(and, yes, I did hold on!)

Given we are twins - we felt the need to take the picture with the Twin Lakes sign.

We ended up running almost the whole route back (downhill) trying to beat both the sun setting and the storm clouds on the horizon.  Fortunately, we stayed dry for the rest of the evening and even managed to roast some hot dogs and s'mores. By 9pm, we were definitely thankful the we'd downloaded the movie on to the cell phone as Michele and I were wiped out - while our boys were still ready for more fun.  It worked like a charm!

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