Tag Archives: Hiking

Dad 100 WCGU #59

This week we received a picture prompt. It reminded me immediately of my Dad (though he would never sit at the edge of a precipice like that). He loved the mountains and spent numerous summers living in lookout towers. He love to hike and instilled that love in his family. This post is dedicated to him.

To read other pieces or to participate, click on the logo. 🙂


The wind runs it’s tendril fingers through my hair

and presses it’s chilled lips upon my cheeks.

I close my eyes and pretend it’s him,

squeezing me tight and whispering

it’s going to be all right,

that I can make it through another day.

A single tear traces a

cool track down my face

and lands with a soft splotch.

The mountains are synonymous with him.

There was never one without the other.

I stand, dusting grainy dirt from

my jeans.

“Give her a hug for me,” I whisper

and know the words are carried to heaven

on the breeze.


Filed under Child loss, Memory, Miscellaneous, Nature, Poetry, Writing

Our Summer in Pictures Part 1

Okay, well our summer plus a little extra. 🙂

Liz’s Birthday – She had a reverse, upside down, inside out party 🙂

Liz B-day

Dot’s Birthday

Dot Birthday

We worked on clearing a trail in the woods in our back yard. Here are the beginning stages.

Yard Fixing

Jacob joined Cub Scouts and got to attend Tiger Treks

Tiger Treks

We explored the Clifton Mill and went hiking in Clifton Gorge

Clifton Collage 1

Clifton Collage 2

Clifton Collage 3

Clifton Collage 4

We went hiking at Shawnee Lookout

Shawnee Lookout Collage 1

Shawnee Lookout Collage 2

And we explored the Gorman Family Farm

Gorman Farm 1

Gorman Farm 2

Gorman Farm 3

We hiked around Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana

Clifty Falls 1

Clifty Falls 2

Clifty Falls 3

Clifty Falls 4

Jacob got to go to Twilight Camp – cub scout day camp that meets in the evenings. 🙂

Twilight Cub Camp 1

Twilight Cub Camp 2

Emily had her 9th birthday

Emily B-day

and Paul and I got to go on a couple tours exploring Cincinnati

Cincinnati 1

Cincinnati 2

Cincinnati 3


Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

Miami Whitewater Forest

Our stake has this awesome thing where every second weekend of the month is Family Friendly Weekend – no meetings or activities except for church on Sunday can be scheduled on that weekend to encourage families to spend more time together. As a result, we decided that these Saturdays would be our outing days.

Right now we’re having lots of car trouble so we chose to go someplace close to home – an nice little county park about fifteen minutes away. They have a few nice nature trails, plenty of picnic areas, a park, and lake – when the weather warms a little more we’ll take our canoe out.

This time we decided to go on a hike – the longest one was 1.6 miles so we did that one. It ended up being perfect for James who was on his first “walk on your own” hike. For just turning three at the end of December I thought he did pretty good. We’re hoping to have him up to close to three miles by the end of the summer. Though it was a short hike, we had all the kids wear their backpacks (except James) and pack their own water and snacks, so as we get ready for longer hikes, they’ll be accustomed to it.


One of the favorite things about hiking is finding the perfect walking stick – All the kids quickly become obsessed with finding the perfect stick – in fact, James was often carrying two or three sticks. 🙂


We love bridges on our hikes! Especially because trolls can often be found lurking around them.


“Fee Fie Fo Fum!”


“Who’s that tromping over my bridge?”

And this bridge is infested with trolls!


Then there’s the ever so popular activity of racing ahead and hiding behind trees to spring out at the unsuspecting hikers still to come. My dad did this with me when I was little, and so the tradition continues. The kids pick up the activity quickly – unless this tree just happened to sprout arms, feet, and a backpack!


Another favorite hiking tradition is tree hugging. I suppose it all comes from being the kids of a botanist, but this started when I was little. As you can tell, I am teaching my kids well. 😀


I thought they had been attacked by the trolls, but they informed me they were napping while waiting for James to catch up.


Little legs give up.


And stubborness sets in.


Finally I tell him he can be the troll at the next bridge we find, and miraculously it gets him moving.


Wait for us Dad! The boys hiking together


Back at the parkinglot/picnic area




I looked over while eating my apple to see my five oldest kids lined up by age hanging out the little windows of our picnic shelter.


Robert and Dad couldn’t be left out!



Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Humor, Jacob, James, Nature

Part Three – Crater Lake

We were shaken out of our sleeping bags Thursday Morning by claps of thunder so loud they shook the tent. While the kids were a bit scared – especially Elizabeth – ever since she was a little girl she has been extremely sensitive to loud noises, and this thunder was LOUD – Paul and I found it rather exciting. I have always enjoyed thunder and lightning a great deal, so I looked at it as quite the treat. It was raining big fat drops as we raced to the bathroom and flung all the kids in the car. It would be another makeshift breakfast in the car on the road as we drove down to Crater Lake. Thunder accompanied a good part of our drive as lightning trees lit the sky around us. Of sourse we did start getting nervous when I began counting between the lightning and the thunder – “One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand-” CRACK!!!! The stuff was right on top of us.

It wasn’t too long though before we had driven out of the storm and by the time we got to Crater Lake (two hours away from our campground) it was a bright sunny, warm day. We drove into the park and got our first glimpse of Crater Lake at the first viewpoint we found.
Crater Lake

View from Crater Lake

The Fam

Tree clinging to life

Crater Lake

There was still a lot of snow, and the kids insisted we stop along the road.

Our first major e vent of the day was climbing Watchman Peak.
Watchman Peak

It was only 3/4 mile up the trail to the peak, but in that 3/4 mile you climbed 420 ft. Paul slung the baby on his back and we started hiking up the trail.
Starting off up Watchman Peak

Right off the bat we found more snow – Jacob had fun throwing snowballs at me 🙂
Playing in the Snow along Watchman Peak Trail

After we played a bit, the real work began.
A hiking we go - Watchman Peak

Climbing Watchman Peak

The the hiking was hard work the views we were awarded with along the way were amazing.
View along Watchman Peak trail

Jacob especially had a hard time towards the top, granted he is only three years old and managed to climb to the top – but more than that we realized as we enjoyed the spectacular views – he’s a three year old with a heart defect! We wondered if the high altitude and the strenuous climb made it more difficult for him. Anyway, I was impressed with all the kids, but especially my little brave heart. 🙂
Watchman Peak

Another neat thing was that at the top of the peak we met a 28 year old lady who had recently recovered from brain surgery, AND had had heart surgery as an infant to repair an ASD. It was cool to chat with her – she was very impressed with Jacob’s climb too – and to once again see what wonderful and full lives these little brave hearts can grow to enjoy.

The view of Wizard Island and the surrounding areas were amazing. There was also a visit from a little furry friend – he was about a foot away from me.

Wizard Island from Watchman Peak

View from Watchman peak

Chipmunk on Watchman Peak

After Watchman peak we stopped at the visitor center and learned more about the lake. I got some views all the way around the lake – and pieced them together best I could. We also stopped for a picnic in the most amazing picnic area EVER!
Crater Lake Panoramic


We made many stops as we made our way around the lake. A favorite was Vidae Falls.
Vidae Falls 3

Vidae Falls 2

Vidae Falls 1

We stopped then at the Phantom Ship overlook – the kids loved the fact that the little island looked so much like a pirate ship.
Phantom Ship 2

Phantom Ship 1

After viewing the phantom ship we drove out to the Pinacles – one of my favorite things around Crater Lake. I remembered them from years ago when I had come with my parents. The pinacles are a colorful collection of 100-foot-tall spires that are being eroded from the canyon wall. The spires are “Fossil Fumaroles,” each marking a spot where volcanic gas rose up through hot ash deposits, cementing the ash into solid rock.
Pinacles 3

Pinacles 1

Pinacles 5

Pinacles 6

Pinacles 2

Pinacles 4

The trail was short – but near a cliff, so we were grateful it was hard-packed dirt and we could keep Jacob in the stroller. Near the end of the trail we passed a sign declaring we were exiting the national park and heading into the Winema National Forest. So, of course we had to give the children the opportunity of being in two places at the same time!
In 2 places at the same time

After the pinacles we finished our drive around the lake stopping for occasional views. Storm clouds were beginning to roll in and shrouding the lake in a heavy mist. We headed back to camp at about 6:00 in the evening. The trek home was an exciting one, but that story will have to wait until tomorrow.


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Day 2 – the Lava Cast Forest, Lava Tube Cave, and Big Obsedian Flow

Wednesday Morning we arose to a slight drizzle and a cool morning. A nice change to the heat of the day before. We gathered sweatshirts and hopped in the car to get an early start – munching on cold cereal as we drove out to the Lava Cast Forest. Reading from the brochure, it says that the Lava cast forest was formed about 6,000 years when Newberry Volcano erupted along a series of fissures on its northwest flank. It sent smooth -textured pahoehoe lava noto the surgace through many vents located along the fissures. The Lava surged through the forest, engulfing everything it encountered. A mile long trail wound through the flow with views of miles and miles of lava presenting a barren and wild landscape.
Lava Cast Forest 11

In the Lava Cast Forest you can find everything from the twisted and dying, to young beauty struggling and thriving.
Lava Cast Forest 9

Lava Cast Forest 7

Lava Cast Forest 1

Lava Cast Forest 3

The reason for the name Lava Cast Forest is because of the casts the lava formed around trees. As the lava rushed up against a tree it would cool rapidly, but the tree would burn and disintigrate – leaving a hole where the tree once stood. Many of these holes are visible. The deepest one we found was tall than Paul’s six foot walking stick. Many of the holes that we can’t see along the path are deeper than 15 or more feet.
Lava Cast Forest 2

Lava Cast Forest 8

Here you can see where a log lay sideways when it was engulfed by lava.
Lava Cast Forest 5

After our exciting mile long hike around the Lava Cast Forest we drove a little further down the road to the Lava River Cave. It is a mile long lava tube that extends deep underground. Lava tubes are formed in flows of pahoehoe basalt. Lava tubes are crusted over channels which condust lava to the advancing frount of the flows. Crust formation starts near the vent where the lava spews fromt he earth, then gradually progresses downslope along the lava stream. It builds and builds until the molten reiver of lava stops, the tube drains leaving an empty cave. In most places the tube is close to 30 feet tall – with another 30 meet of ground above you. We went armed with flashlights, and decided to just see how far we would get – after all Jacob had to walk, and he had already walked a mile that morning.

Descending into the cave.
Lava River Cave 7

Lava River Cave 6

The cave was pitch black and very rough going – gratefully we had a lot of batteries – and there were a lot of people down there, so we had plenty of light just from passing people. I was mildly surprised that none of the kids were scared. It was cold – the caves are an even 42 degrees faranheit year round. We had sweatshirts, but by the end everybody’s hands were very cold.
Lava River Cave 3

In some areas the flow split – you can see here where a second tube is above Paul’s head.
Lava River Cave 2

One of the neatest things in the caves was the sand garden, which was too hard to get a decent picture of. Water would leak through cracks and crevices and little by little erode the sand in the tube forming neat patterns and rows. There were little hills and deep crevices. It was fascinating to see something so delicate that had been create over hundreds of years.

We walked all the way to the end – well the where we couldn’t go anyfurther with the baby backpack on anyway, and turned back. After two miles in darkness (one mile there, one mile back) we were very grateful to see the light. Jacob managed to walk the whole way – though he was having a really tough time by the end of the walk. We were doing anything we could think of (aside from carrying him) to keep him happy and focused. That little guy is such a trooper.
Lava River Cave 9

We were all greatful for the heat when we climed out of the cave. The sun had burned off the morning fog and mist and it was HOT. We ate a picnic lunch and made a new friend.
Lava River Cave 8

We were nearing on into late afternoon, and there was one final stop that I wanted to make that day. – the Big Obsedian Flow, located a little ways past our campsite. So we drove back up past Paulina Lake and turned into the parking lot. Some ominous gray clouds were aproaching in the distance, but we felt good about taking the short 3/4 mile walk through the flow. We took Jacob as far as we could in the stroller, and then he had to walk again. It was amazing walk through gigantic chunks of sleek black obsidian, mixed with other more pumice like varieties of obsidian. When the clouds passed away from the sun the entire flow would sparkle.
Big Obsedian Flow 5

We climbed a short set of stairs onto the flow – and were able to look down over Lost Lake. It amazes me first how abruptly the flow comes to a stop, and second how deep the flow was.
Big Obsedian Flow 7

The trail was an exciting one winding between huge rocks with astounding views of the flow around us.
Big Obsedian Flow 3

Big Obsedian Flow 4

Big Obsedian Flow 6

The clouds continued to move in and by the time Paul and the girls hit that tree we were feeling like we had best get off the flow. After all standing on a glass mountain when a storm comes isn’t too bright.
Big Obsedian Flow 1

Paul, the girls, and Jacob headed back down while I scoped out the view from the tree and took a few pictures. The more pictures I stopped to take the more urgent a feeling I had to get off the mountain NOW. Giant raindrops began to splat upon my face urging me onward. When I heard a distant clap of thunder I really began to move.
Big Obsedian Flow 2

Big Obsedian Flow

We made it down and to the car as a second clap of thunder sounded nearby. By the time we were back to camp large drops of rain were plopping all around. The kids and I hung out in the tent coloring while Paul sat outside. There was no thunder, so we wondered what the urgenct had been, but we were grateful we had listened. Soon the clouds passed and the sun came out. Things were nice and cool, rather than the heavy heat, and we could relax with a yummy dinner. Jacob was exhausted, after having walked over three miles that day, and fell asleep quickly while I read to the girls at the campfire long into the night. They were amazed at the stars and were awarded with two falling stars. We even found a big toad on our late evening trip to the bathroom. I caught it and took it back to camp to show dad – the girls were delighted when it peed on me.

We finally turned in and dreamt of our adventures to come on our trip to Crater Lake the next day.


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Tillamook State Forest Part 2 – the Hike

After our climb up the tower I strapped James back onto my backand we took off across the big suspension bridge across the river and hiked off on one of the many trails. Our destination was the Wilson Falls.

Here we are with Grandma on the bridge before taking off down the trail (Grandpa, our fearless leader, is taking the photo).

All of us and Grandma - grandpa took the photo

View from the bridge

Hike 11

The scenery was absolutely astounding – gorgeous flowers, moss draped trees, and grand trees surrounded us.

Hike 1

Fox Glove

Ocean Spray

Hike 7

Hike 10

Jacob was a good little trooper, hiking away like the other big kids.

Hike 6

Hike 8

Hike 9

He did get tired out from time to time though, and had to hitch a ride on the Daddy Express.

Hike 4

At one point on the hike we came to a narrow log bridge that we had to use to get across the river. Down below us the water was quite deep, and was wide enough to go single file down the log. I was especially nervous having James in the backpack strapped to my back.

Crossing the bridge

Hiking across the log bridge 1

Log Bridge

Hike 2

A ways after the log bridge we be gan the gradual climb up too Willson fall.

Hike 3

And Finally, Wilson falls – which was beautiful, but easily missed. You basically had to look straight up over your head to see anything. I was a bit nervous having James on my back,and feel a bit off ballance – so my photos of the waterfall were horrible – this one is my Dad’s.

Wilson Falls 1

After the falls, Dad, Jacob, James, Emily, and I headed back, while Grandpa, Elizabeth and Dorothy continued for a while. The younger set walked about 3.5 miles – me packing James the whole way! WOOT!, Emily easily walked all of it, and Jacob walked at least 2.5 miles of it. Elizabeth and Dorothy probably hiked closer to 4.5 miles. We had a ton of fun, but towards the end I was really pushing it – and extremely sore after.

Next to come: Part Thre: The Museum


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

Horse Pasture Mountain

My father loves the outdoors and is a hiker. He hikes hundreds of miles a year. Before he married my mother he worked on lookout towers in the Oregon mountains. He and my mom even worked on one the summer after they were married. They instilled in us a love for nature and hiking. I was seven years old when I went on my first 10 mile hike. It was up Horse Pasture Mt. to an old lookout site where my dad had been stationed. The lookout was no longer there, but we could see the foundation and dad showed us where the outhouse had been looking over the side of the mountain.

Ten years later he took me on the same hike, just longer. It is still my favorite hike and I remember it so clearly. We began the hike walking through the woods and a few meadows to the tower site. The trail was dotted with wildflowers, butterflies and bees. Birds were darting around from place to place, filling the air with nature’s sweet innocent music. As we neared the summit of the mountain we could see where the old tower had been; the foundation and rocks scattered across what used to be the living quarters. The only real sign that a building had once existed was a metal plaque embedded in the ground. My father guided me to his favorite place to sit and look out over the country side. I climbed upon the rock and settled my self down. He pointed to each mountain in the distance and told me its name. Most were great monstrous formations, with little caps of snow on the top of them, making you think that the mountains had stocking caps on to keep their heads warm. My father pointed out the Three Sisters, The Husband, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Bachelor, and Mt. Jefferson. All of these were relatively close, and stood out against the stark, clear, blue sky. Mt. Jefferson had clouds circling its peak like children in a game of “Ring Around the Rosies.” After we had eaten our lunch we head down the hill toward the potholes.

We went off the main trail onto a small deer path down to the meadow know as the potholes. As we neared it the trees gradually thinned and we could see spots of green beaming forth with brilliant colors splattered across it. Suddenly we stepped out of the forest and were greeted by a shout of green smothered with a myriad of color. Every wildflower imaginable painted the meadow. As I looked around I saw why it had been named the potholes. There were great puddles of water and mud scattered through the meadow, and if one were not careful where he stepped, he could end up knee deep in water and mud. I carefully skirted about the meadow picking flowers and sticking them into my father’s hat and behind his ears. This was a rather common occurrence on our hikes; and the only time we could tease dad about being a “blooming idiot.” (hee hee) After I had successfully turned him into a wild flower bouquet we continued on cross country into the forest and along the ridge of the mountain.

We walked through the dense forest; streaks of sunlight dancing their way through the thick foliage playing tag with the shadows. Every once in a while the trees would clear enough so we could get a glimpse out across the country side where you could see the mountains off in the distance and massive expanses of forest that went for miles over mountain and hill. We followed a decline in our makeshift path and soon realized we were walking along a massive rock wall that seemed to reach to the sun.

There was moss and lichen on every stone and in every corner of the rock wall. The sunlight coming through the trees glinted off the moss making it appear as if it was glowing. Soon we were walking up again, and then, almost right in front of us, appeared colossal stone towers. They came out of nowhere, scattered along the end of the ridge. Some were in groups; some standing alone. I stood still, holding my breath, taking in the tremendous sight. I didn’t want to make a single sound in fear that I might somehow disturb this awesome wonder before me and break that magic moment. Finally, my father and I moved and started to explore them. There was one group that had formed four pillars together with a small space in he middle of them, which I climbed into and looked up to the sky. They towered well above my head. I felt as though I was standing in the remains of an old castle that had withstood thousands of years of wars. I felt as though I had traveled to the land of Narnia, described in the beginning of the book, “Prince Caspian” by C. S. Lewis, where the children discovered the old remains of the castle that they had once ruled in.

As we explored more we realized that we were standing on the rock wall that we had been admiring. As we wandered around the immense rock formations, we soon came to the end of the ridge, It bottomed out into a vast emptiness, where far below you could catch glimpses of another valley and forests scattered across rolling hills and mountains. As we looked up we peered out into the clear blue sky, and realized that from here we could see forever. I asked my father why we hadn’t ever come out here before, and he grinned and said that this was the farthest out he had ever explored; even when he used to live back at the look out tower. He put his arm around my shoulders and we stood there enjoying the beautiful view that stretched out before us.

After quite some time, we headed back to the car. I was sad to have to leave that magnificent, magical, mystical place. The hike had been my favorite since I had hiked it at seven, but now it was even more incredible.


Filed under Family, Memory, Personal History, Writing, Youth