What do you get when you take an overloaded car, five kids, and two parents on a five day, four night camping trip? A TON of fun, a little stress, and lots to write about!
Monday we packed up the car and cartop carrier, loaded up the kiddos, and headed off to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in the Deschutes National Forest (near Bend) for a week long camping trip. We arrived at Paulina Lake and found a nice secluded little spot away from all the other campers. We set up our tent and spent the afternoon and evening scavengering for wood for our campfire, roasting hotdogs and s’mores, singing songs, and telling stories around the campfire. It was the roughest night of the trip as Jacob was full of energy and excited about his first night in a tent – in a sleeping bag. We had gone camping last year and other times, but he was always in the port-a-crib, but now the baby has taken that spot.
We awoke early Tuesday morning and probably made more noise telling our kids to be quiet because other campers were still sleeping than they (the kids) were making in the first place. heh 🙂 We cooked up a yummy breakfast, complete with hot cocoa and headed off. Our first stop was back to bend to get more mosquito repellent and batteries – the mosquitos were eating us alive, and we quickly had used up what we had taken with us. While I was grabbing the stuff at Wal-Mart, Paul’s glasses busted. So I ended up sitting in a car with five restless children while Paul tried to figure out what to do about his glasses. He finally found a solution – but by the time we left Wal-Mart we had been sitting there for over an hour, and every one was frazzled. I was about ready to go back to camp pack up, and just go home. Thankfully we didn’t, because we ended up having the funnest week ever.
After the Wal-mart and glasses fiasco we headed to the Lava Lands Visitor Center just outside of Bend. We took the loop trail of Molton Lava from the Lava Lands Visitor Center out across the lava flow to its source at the base of Lava Butte. It was really exciting to walk through corridors of lava rock and see trees and brush struggling to survive and grow. The views of the Cascade Mountain range were astounding – especially visible were Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and Broken Top. The lava flow from Lava Butte is 30 to 100 feet thick and covers over 9 square miles. We also had the opportunity to drive up lava butte and see an amazing view in which we could even spot Mt Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, and many other mountains. We passed on the crater rim walk, as the trail looked narrow – we decided to wait ubntil the kids are a bit older to do that one. 🙂 And now, I shall swamp you with some pictures of Lava Lands…
Some of the lava rocks were huge and impressive. And it was fascinating to see dead and twisted trees, as well as young thriving trees managing to grow from the little nutrients they could seek out around the flow.
This one was a lava ball. Lava balls grow when a small fragment of solidified lava rolls along the surface of an active flow and lava sticks or accretes to its surface. The growth of a lava ball is similar to the way a giant snowball grows when soft, sticky snow adheres to its surface as it rolls downslope.
After our walk we drove up the butte – and walked up the steep trail to the lookout tower from which you had a panoramic view of the surrounding area – it was simply amazing.
When we descended from the butte it was way past lunchtime, so we had a picnic and then began our drive back to our camp at Paulina Lake. On the way though we stopped at Paulina Falls – and took the short walk to a gorgeous view.
Then we decided to drive up to Paulina Peak – it was a very narrow, very steep dirt road, that had all of us holding our breath as we drove to the top. Along the way we saw this guy standing right at the edge of the road – I took the photo out Paul’s window – without zooming at all – I was afraid he would run away if I took the time. 🙂
We drove back to camp around 5:30 and everyone was hot, grouchy and tired. We decided that a swim before dinner would do us all good, so we donned our suits and drove five miles down to East Lake for some water fun.
We ended our second day with a dinner of vegies and ramen, and a games of uno inside the tent.