Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Birthday Vacation: The End


We had a full day planned with Will and family out and about Umatilla. We got out early and headed for Hat Rock SP. It is named for this unusual basalt pillar that rises above the landscape. It was noted in the journals of Lewis and Clark when they passed by in 1805. Clark said that it resembled a hat. (We are not sure what kind of hat he meant).



We took the short hike up to the rock. Magnus shows where a hat goes.


Down by the river there were lots of geese that loved bread. The kids also really liked throwing things in the faster currant.


Magnus really got along with his cousins.


Wearing Hat Rock:  IMG_5147IMG_5156

In the afternoon we headed up to Walla Walla, WA to the Whitman Mission NHS, where the earliest Christian missionaries settled in the Oregon Territory. They helped to establish the Oregon Trail and teach the natives. Due to fear and misunderstandings, the settlers were massacred and a memorial was latter built. It is an interesting little park that has a portion of the actual Oregon Trail, the area with the settlement, and the memorial tower on the hill. We told Magnus that the tower was built to remember the people that died. He took that to heart and still talks about how, “people died…built a tower.”



Heading back, we stopped by the Twin Sisters, another cool formation along the river gorge cliffs. The legend associated with them is on the sign, it is a little weird.


We played with some big bubbles at Will’s house. The kids loved it…


And the mommies loved the momentary rest.


We left Sunday, but got some nice family pictures:


We stopped briefly in The Dalles to see a Lewis and Clark campsite they stayed at coming and going called Rock Fort. I had recently learned about it and we had some trouble finding it. Even though it is the actual spot they camped, there is very little information on how to find it. I got Magnus to pretend he was one of the famous explorers (like on the sign).


We made it home fine that evening and we had a great time on our trip. Thank you, Will and Courtney, for letting us stay with you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birthday Vacation Day 2: More Fossils! And Childrens!

Magnus helped take down the tent in the morning and liked to help sweeping things. When we needed him to help a little less, we pulled out some cars for him to play with. He was excited to see his toys.


We went to the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. Dana hiked up closer to the view and Ruth and Magnus stayed down in the shade: it was hot!


The Visitors Center had some really nice fossil displays. They had lots of mammal fossils and plant debris (Rosanne, the horsetail fossil is for you). Magnus thought we took too long looking at all the displays. He wanted us to “look around”.


These are spheres of poop rolled by dung beetles that were fossilized.


We went on another hike today called Blue Basin. You walk along next to a wash and you can see the green sediment that runs off the cliffs. A lot of fossils have been found in these rocks. Apparently there are many you can see on the trail, if you know how to spot them.


This is cathedral rock. It is technically park of the park, but it is entirely surrounded by private land, so all you can do is photograph it. But it’s very photogenic.


Our final hike was on a trail called “Flood of Fire.” It’s a short hike to a spot with some visible lava formations. Magnus fell down on the way and got a big booboo. But he was still excited to make it to the end to see the “Star Wars City.” (Dana called it that to himself, and Magnus latched on to the phrase.)


Eventually we made it up north to Umatilla, OR to visit with Will, Courtney, Whitney, and Rachel. Magnus wasn’t sure about them at first, but warmed right up.



We had a picnic dinner in the park; Will cooked us burgers like a pro!


Before heading back to “Uncle house,” we stopped at the fish ladder to see some fish. Magnus and Whitney had fun jumping up and down and laughing. And they thought seeing the fish was fun too.


Birthday Vacation Day 1: Journey to the Fossil Beds

We took a little road trip out to eastern Oregon. First, we stopped by a place called Little Crater Lake, south of Mt. Hood. We parked next to this very peaceful meadow. The sun was still rising, so the dew was still on the plants.


We walked the short trail to the lake. The lake was very still. 


We waited till the sun lit the lake; then it became very colorful.


The lake is not very big, but it is very deep. The stillness makes it very clear. This all adds up to a beautiful sight. We told Magnus there were frogs in the lake, and then Dana found one! He was a very well-behaved frog and let Magnus hold him.


Further into Oregon we saw some pretty views, lots of mountain peaks and rustic dilapidated barns.


John Day Fossil Beds NM was our goal. The monument has three distinct units. The first one we saw was the Clarno Unit. This cliff is called The Palisades. We hiked up to this arch and there were fossils along the trail.


Some petrified wood and sycamore leaves:


After a picnic we moved on. The country side was quiet and amazing.


Our next stop was Fossil, OR. Behind the high school there is a hillside littered with fossils that you can find and keep. We had fun digging around and we found some cool fossils. IMG_4823

Later in the afternoon we went to the Painted Hills Unit. Made of volcanic ash, these hills earned their name. They were very pretty.


Us and the Painted Hills:


Magnus liked hiking as long as he got to carry his Avengers cup.



That night we headed to the Ochoco Divide and camped for the night…