Monday, October 03, 2011

Banks Lake Camping - by Brad

For the last excursion of the summer, Lindsey's side of the family all met up at Banks Lake by Grand Coulee. This lake is an irrigation reservoir and we were told that once every 20 years they drain the lake way down to for maintenance. Well, we were lucky enough to find the lake drained about 25 feet below its normal level.



Having the lake drained made it a little less desirable to swim in and the exposed muck revealed a weird stench when you wandered around it, but it brought all sorts of other fun for the kids (and grown ups). Over the past 20 years boaters have dropped MANY things into the water. They weren't found until a group of crazy folks (my in-law clan) decided to do a little "treasure" hunting. (I love you in-laws! Crazy isn't necessarily a bad thing.)

My brother-in-law found a wallet around the docks with over $200 of decomposed cash in it. I haven't heard if he was able to salvage it or what came of that.



The treasure hunts turned up camping chairs, buoys, anchors, an old camera, ropes, a jet ski hood, a kite board sail, fishing poles, an unopened Corona, and many other garbage treasurers.



Uncle Matt kept the kids entertained by taking them fishing. They didn't have any luck, but the kids sure had fun following him around and messing up his fishing gear.




The muck from the lake bed would easily turn into mud if you repeatedly stomped in one place. The kids had a great time creating a muck pit and wallowing in it.





Our motorcycle fanatic, Spencer, got to go on his first motorcycle ride around the park with Grandpa. He was so excited; he loved every second of it!



And a random shadow picture of Elliott and me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lincoln City - by Brad

For our last vacation before school started we met up with the Bunches to head to Lincoln City for a few days.




Our boys are always early risers, so we took them to do a little early morning beach combing...

 



There was a lot of playing in the sand and running around in the surf.




One of the evenings while strolling the beach, Mike spotted something rolling out in the surf. It was a SHARK! Of course we had to run out and get closer. It was only about 3 feet long, but it was still alive (although mortally wounded). The kids (and the adults) had a blast getting close to it and touching it. Apparently it was a Salmon Shark which is closely related to the Great White and Mako sharks. This was definitely the highlight of the trip!




We went on a neat hike that included a sweet suspension bridge...




And here are a few other pictures I thought were neat enough to slap up here...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pearrygin 2011 - by Brad

Time to catch up on some summer posts now that school has started. I have to back-date this post to August so if I try to look back at this post in the future I will pick the correct month in the archive. Anyway, I am feeling lazy (and this happened a month ago) so I'm not going to try very hard on the narrative with this post.

This year at Lake Pearrygin, we stayed six nights - our longest Pearrygin excursion yet. This annual vacation has quickly become the anchor highlight of our summer. We could have used it a few degrees warmer, but it didn't stop us from playing in the water most of the time.

Here are some of the highlights...

Entertaining the kids on the "relaxation station"...



Relaxing and snacking...



The cousins brought a little surf board that Spencer LOVED!




Giant jaw breakers...



Smores 



This year we found a rope swing on the opposite side of the lake that we hadn't found before. It wasnt' very high, but we had fun playing around on it...



And here are selected clips from the week at Pearrygin. Much of it is just me playing around with the GoPro camera...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Filling in Some Blanks & Quotes - by Brad

I went a full month without posting anything and I have been trying to catch up the past few days. I still have a big post about our week at Pearrygin Lake, but I have a little video splicing to do before that one makes it up. So for now I will just fill in with some random pictures and quotes that don't really have any theme, so don't expect any of this to tie together. I wrote down some of these quotes six months ago, so that shows how diligent I have been to blog...

Spencer (to Mom): Elliott and Wes aren't letting me play with them... can I go spit on them?


Hey look, Wesley graduated Kindergarten (a couple months ago)...

 
Wesley (to Mom): I am a horrible listener. Sometimes I just shut my ears off while you're talking... it's fun.

But she still loves him...

(wow, she's a cute one! ...and she's almost 30!)
 

While Wes is pretending to be Darth Vader and Spence is a Storm trooper...

Wes: Darth Vader has the force that can pick people up and choke them with thunder…and that’s who I’m being. I am the ultimate Darth Vader. I don’t even wear a cape.
Spence: I found a bible for when we go to church.
Wes: We don’t go to church. Ultimate Darth Vader NEVER goes to church.
Spence: (as he is putting on a cape) I’m going to be Darth Vader.
Wes: Ultimate Darth Vader doesn’t have a cape
Spence: Well, I am not being ULCHIMATE Darth Vader. I’m just the regular one.


At the beginning of July, we went camping with some friends in the in-law's trailer at Suncrest Resort in Moses Lake. I'd give the "resort" mixed reviews, but the company was good and the pool was great for kids.





I only put this picture in to show Spencer wearing a necklace that his grandma helped him make. He started wearing it toward the end of June and he hasn't taken it off since. It is tied on and since we would have to cut it off, he has decided he doesn't want it off...



A few days ago while standing in the kitchen...

Spencer: I wish there was a potty in here.
Brad: Um, why in here?
Spencer: So when I have to go potty at dinner I can just go right here. I'm gonna go unscrew the potty and bring it in here.

Thankfully, he wasn't able to "unscrew the potty." Well, I think that's that for now. Hopefully the next post will be Pearrygin 2011...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Minotaur & Theseus Lakes - by Brad

During high school I went backpacking a couple times up to Lake Minotaur with my youth group. The amazing scenery and lack of people made it quickly become my favorite hike. When Lindsey and I were dating 12 years ago, we hiked up there for a day hike, and the last time we were up there was when we went backpacking with Mike and Becky 8 years ago.

We were due to make the hike again, and my parents were willing to watch our boys since the hike isn't really kid-friendly. So yesterday, Lindsey and I woke up at 5:45, left our house at 6:20, stopped at the Leavenworth Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich and caffeine, then continued up Highway 2 toward our destination. We arrived at the trail head and started hiking at 8:05.


To give an idea of what the terrain looks like, I copied an image from Google Earth...


The hike in is less than 2 miles, but you gain almost 2,000 feet over that duration. The first mile is very steep and forested. After we broke out of the forest, there were still patches of snow that were covering the trail. I had never seen that in the other four times I had been up there! Shortly before we got to the lake we saw a patch of dead trees that was certainly worth a few photos... especially with such a perfect blue sky behind them...


When you get to Minotaur, you are greeted with an amazing view. Check out the 360 Panorama at http://360.io/VRacER...


We toured around taking pictures at Minotaur for a while... if you want to see some more Panoramic pictures we took at Minotaur, check out...




We headed toward the ridge that overlooks Lake Theseus...


Just so you can see how clear the water is in these lakes, here is a closer picture of the island in Lake Theseus...


From Minotaur, there seems to only be one way down to Theseus, which involves hiking down a steep chute and climbing over a rock slide field. The top center of the ridge in this picture shows where we came down...


For a couple Panoramic pictures at Theseus, check out...



Off to the left side of Theseus is a meadow with a pond in the middle. There are several little streams that wind around into this pond. There were several frogs there and the pond was full of tadpoles. It was a fun place to peruse and take pictures...


The large rocks slide has created some need caves under the gain boulders that have fallen. I crawled under one and got a neat photo of the Theseus island...


After we made it back up to Minotaur, we stopped to have lunch. After a couple minutes of holding still, we were swarmed with mosquitoes. We were wearing heavy mosquito repellent, but we still preferred to eat while we were hiking so they wouldn't annoy us so much. I think overall, we only got a few mosquito bites, so I think that was pretty successful. After our hiking lunch, we headed up toward the peak of the ridge, Labyrinth Mountain. We couldn't get all the way to the top because there was quite a bit of snow covering the trail and we didn't have enough time to try to blaze our own trail. So we wandered around for a while and headed back down...


Thanks to the mosquitoes who never let us sit for more than a couple minutes, we hiked from 8:00 to 4:30. The best part about these lakes is that so few people ever hike up to them. There was not another person up there all day long! Just Lindsey and I and some amazing views!