Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Fun: Washington, Oregon!

Dana and I got a chance to go home to Vancouver, WA at the end of June. We never had a dull moment! It seemed like there was always something to do and people to see.

It started before we even made it to Dana's house. On the way home, we stopped at the Hagerman fossil beds. The beds themselves weren't that impressive, but the visitor's center was fun nonetheless. We also passed the Oregon Trail. So, naturally, we took a picture.

Our first day home was Father's Day. We had a good time hanging out with Dana's Dad and meeting our new niece, Natalie.

Our next outing was to the Ridgefield wildlife refuge with Steen, Katie, and the kids. We saw a train and got eaten alive by mosquitoes. After that we visited with Steen and Katie at their house.

We really wanted to go to the beach, so we went out to Fort Stevens to visit the Peter Iredale. Elina came with us. This is me being gollum, and Elina being afriad. Do you blame her? We also went to the barracks and found a pretty tree frog. Then we went to Fort Clatsop where Elina and Dana felt the need to exit the boardwalk and impersonate Lewis and Clark. Don't they look epic? We also had just enough time to stop at the Astoria collunm before heading home.

Dana has been telling me about the Portland Zoo for a while, so we went this trip home. I loved the petting zoo. But the bald eagle enclosure was also impressive. We saw so many cool animals, we could do a post just on that. But we're not going to.

We also happened to be in town for Grant Cowie's wedding reception. I took a picture of Dana with the happy couple.

Dana told his lab that he would look for some bugs that live in some caves up here in Washington. So we took a camping trip! Anton and Elina came with us. We hiked in the ice caves that first afternoon and then set up camp, complete with smores. The next day we went back to the ice cave, checked out a collapsed lava tube that made some cool arches, a pretty lake, and made a final stop at Panther Creek Falls. We actually climbed down to the base of the falls, something I had never done before. It was really hard! But totally worth it.
The handsome troupe:

We made it home in time to have dinner at Steen and Katie's. We always have fun together.

The next thing Dana wanted to do was go to the Ape caves up near Mt. Saint Helens. Hiking the caves took longer than we expected, but they were cool and fun. The hardest part was an 8 foot cliff we had to scale. Here is Elina standing in front of it. And Dana coming up... The cave had some other weird formations, like this poop formation. Weird. And, because I seem to have to squeeze into tight spots... After we got out of the cave, we drove out to the mud flows and got some great views of the mountain.

It was a busy trip and we were glad to see everyone :-)

Summer Fun: Utah, Nevada, Idaho!

So here is a post about all the awesome trips Dana and I have taken in Utah.

First is our trip to Great Basin. We went in the beginning of June, but it still snowed on us. We went up to the spot where Dana proposed to eat our picnic lunch and it started snowing. We ate in the car. But not before taking these pictures:

We drove up Mt. Wheeler, which we couldn't do before because the road was closed. But the top of the mountain was cold and beautiful. I took a lot of pictures of the melting snow and Dana looked for bugs.

After that, we went on the cave tour. It's fun to go through again with another tour guide and see how the cave has changed. Dana got a good picture this time of the cave's famous formation: a shield. We also took a picture in front of the same formation that we stood in front of the day we got engaged. Only one person got in the picture.

The weekend after Great Basin, Dana and I went camping at City of Rocks in Idaho. The rocks were beautiful. It rained on us on Saturday, but we packed the tent up before that, so no worries. Dana wanted to go because there was a rock there said to be 2.5 billion years old. Dana climbed up to its base and touched it. The old rock is one of the "sisters:" in this picture, the one on the left.
The park is swiss-cheese'd with privately owned land, so here are some of the formations with a cow in front of them, and a cool old structure.

Most recently, on Pioneer Day, Dana and I went to Capitol Reef National Park and then to Fish Lake and Koosharem, UT. We visited Pioneer Registry and Orion Rust. We also hiked up to these things called "the tanks." They are pools up a small canyon that stay full of water for much of the summer.

After that we drove up to Fish Lake and enjoyed the cool lakeside weather. Dana found bugs, a snake, a bat and a marmot. The lake was beautiful and cool. On our way down to Koosharem, we saw this pretty rainbow. Koosharem is very small but they had really cool signs.

We've been busy. Coming Soon! Summer fun: Washington!