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NorthWesty Trip :: Part 3

August 13, 2012

Day 15: After running errands, packing up the Westy, and saying good bye to our friends, we headed up to the North Cascades. We stopped at a U Pick blueberry farm, had some yummy ice cream, and picked 6.5 lbs of blueberries.

We snacked on them as we made our way to the Colonial Creek Campground.

Lesson learned: You can pick a lot of blueberries in a short time.

Day 16: We woke up to rain and after quickly packing up (no caffeine) we drove up to Ross Lake and checked out the Ross Lake Dam.

Boy was I scared looking over the side of the dam. The boys were hopping up to look over and I almost couldn’t be on the dam wall at all. Scary! But the lake was beautiful and the walk was refreshing. After that we kept driving east over Washington Pass. On a whim we stayed at Alta Lake campground and were rewarded with warm weather and a cute little lake to swim in.

Lesson learned: You can eat a lot of blueberries in a short time.

Day 17:  Hung out at the Lake Alta beach all morning. It had been a while since we had nice weather and it felt great hanging out in the sun and swimming. We even had to use sun screen!

After lunch we drove through central Washington down the Colombia River and by many orchards. Camped at the Wish Poosh campground near Cle Elem lake. Another great little find.

Lesson learned: When buying wood for your campfire, always buy from the guy with the ‘Got Wood?’ sign.

Day 18: We woke up and made our way to a cute little rocky beach on Cle Elum Lake. Another relaxing morning swimming, sitting in the sun, and jumping off a fallen log into the lake.

Then we drove the impressive drive to Mount Rainier. We camped at La Wis Wis Campground right outside the park and with a sweet little river flowing past our camp site.

Lesson learned: Changing the kids into their swim trunks before they go down to check out the water does wonders for your dry clothes.

Day 19: Mount Rainier is impressive! Big and covered in snow with picturesque trees and wildflowers. It looks just like the postcards!

We took a hike up to Myrtle Falls and to see the glaciers.

We had thought about going to see Mount St. Helens but the timing was off so we drove straight to Portland, stayed in a hotel, had pizza delivered, and watched the cartoon network.

Lesson learned: Hiking in the snow with flip flops is not easy.

Day 20: Breakfast at the hotel was a nice change from cereal and milk, then the boys were super excited to swim in the hotel pool. We drove into downtown Portland and checked out Powell’s book store. It really is the most impressive book store I have ever seen. The boys were really cute running around looking at all their favorite books and got to pick out some new books for the rest of our trip. And no trip to Portland is complete without a trip to a food cart. We got some yummy chicken with rice and ate it at the waterside park. After lunch we drove East along the Columbia River and momentarily got stuck in the worst traffic of the trip. Finally we got to my friend’s house back on the Washington side. It was great reconnecting with her and sharing a yummy dinner together.

Lesson learned: Be careful what you wish for, when trying to kill time you might get stuck in bad traffic.

Day 21: What a relaxing day! My friend took us to a riverside swim spot and the boys had a great time swimming, slashing around, and eating cherries.

Then we headed back to the house. Henry had a nap and Oliver eroded the hillside for a couple of hours.

Lesson learned: If you spend days telling your kids not to erode the sea cliffs and dunes, you can get hours of entertainment when you find a cliff they can dig.

Day 22: We headed up to Mount Hood where we took a quick hike up the mountain. The boys had a ton of fun running down the snowy slope.

After a yummy buffet lunch at the historic Timberline Lodge we said good bye to my friend and got back on the road heading for Bend. After stoping for dinner and checking out Bend, it was too late to stay at the campground that we were planning on so drove out past Mount Bachlor and stayed at the Elk Lake Campground.

Lesson learned: It is possible to eat super rich and cheesy Mac and Cheese after a huge lunch buffet.

Day 23: We hadn’t had a chance to check out Elk Lake the previous night but when we woke up the views were beautiful. The boys went swimming in the crystal clear lake with picturesque views of Mount Bachelor rising above them.

We stopped for lunch at the Crane Prairie Reservoir and had another dip in the lake.

From the Cascade Lakes the drive to Crater Lake was beautiful and the lake itself is amazing. Shear cliffs down to crystal blue water.

We camped at Mazama Campground.

Lesson learned: The boys will not actually fall of the cliffs even though it looks like they will at any minute.

Day 24: We drove a bit around the Crater Lake Rim and walked up Watchman Tower to get amazing 360 views of the lake as well as Mount Thielsen to the North and Mount Shasta to the South. The boys are becoming intrepid little hikers and Oliver hiked all the way up with out complaining (much). Henry still needs to be carried.

For our last night camping we drove down to Mount Shasta and camped at the Riverside Campground at Castle Crags State Park.

Lesson Learned: Camping across from the train tracks can be entertaining as well as loud.

Day 25: Driving home from Castle Crags… McDonald’s… More Driving… Rest stop… Traffic… Home!

Lesson Learned: Camping in a Westy for 25 days with two small boys was the most fun, adventuresome, sweet, wonderful, and sometimes exasperating trip that we have done as a family. I feel so fortunate that we were able to take the time to go on this amazing adventure. We had very good luck in terms of weather and car problems. Every one stayed healthy and safe. Not too many bangs and scrapes, we didn’t even have to go to the hospital! The boys were really well behaved considering all that we asked of them and the daily changes and upheaval. They became very close on this trip, playing everyday, and I knew this trip was worth every minute the moment I overheard the following conversation: “Oliver, I love you.” “I love you too, Henry.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2012 11:34 AM

    awww. i have to admit it. i teared up. you inspire me to want to have a second kid and be an awesome adventuring family.

    • ducklingsinarow permalink*
      August 14, 2012 8:40 PM

      Aww. Thanks Heath!

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