Sunday, November 14, 2010

Look who made her debut

When I woke up last Thursday morning, I had a bunch of things planned for Veteran's Day, none of which sadly had to do with veterans. But all my plans quickly went out the window as Garth told me that Dave had called and said that he and Raquel were at the hospital having the baby!

At 8:04 little Millie Kate made her debut weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and was 19 inches long. Unfortunately my camera wasn't working either of the days that Raquel was in the hospital, so there pictures were taken shortly after they got home.

Don't you love those fat little cheeks and all the dark hair? She is taking after her mom in those areas, although Raquel had even more hair on top that stuck straight up.
She has already won a spot in Garth's heart.
Millie had lost 7 ounces by the time she came home yesterday and you can tell here just how tiny she is. She is pretty strong though and does pretty well at holding up her head.
Look at that little angel.
Preston held her like she was made of glass. He's not too comfortable with newborns yet.
We are SO glad that we have this new addition to our family and that both mommy and baby are healthy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

the Oregon Trail

WARNING: Lots of scenery photos ahead.

This year for our anniversary, Garth and I headed to Portland, Oregon. We decided to go there, one, because it was the only western state we hadn't been to. Two, we had heard that it was beautiful and three, it was the only place we could still use our free airplane tickets by the time we decided to go over October Break.

We picked up our rental car and headed up the Columbia River Gorge and decided as we looked for some place to eat that we wouldn't eat at any chain restaurants on our trip. So we choose Tippy Canoe because one, it looked interesting and two, it was the only place we could find once we got out of Portland and three, we were starving.

We chose well. Not only was the food and service great but it was all decked out for Halloween. The waitress told us that we should come back at Christmas if we really wanted to see it decorated.
I had emailed Janice, an old Texan friend, who had grown up in Oregon and she had given me great suggestions for our trip. Our next stop was at Vista House where we were blown to death. Both Garth and I were raised in pretty windy places but I had never experienced anything like this place. I couldn't even stand still to take a picture. It did have beautiful views of the gorge. though.
We headed up the river gorge and stopped at all the waterfalls along the way. Most had short hikes to the base or top of the falls. Of course I wanted to go and see every vantage point but the day was getting late and we still had so much to see that I had to make choices - darn.
This is Bridal Veil Falls.
And this is Multnomah Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the US. It was the most developed and had the most people as well. There was a story that in 1995 a bridal party was standing on the bridge you can see in the background and a rock the size of a bus fell off the side of the cliff. It sent a 70 foot wall of water out of the pool and over the bridge drenching the whole bridal party. I'm sure that made their wedding memorable and it gave me a good laugh.

More pictures of Multnomah Falls.

We finally made it to the town of Hood River where we would spend the night and decided to take a drive around the fruit loop as they call it. We headed towards Mt. Hood (the large snow covered mountain in the background) and drove through apple orchards. It was beautiful and reminded us of Amish country in Ohio last year.
Here is a picture of our hotel, The Columbia Gorge Hotel, which is almost 100 years old. It had beautiful gardens that we wandered around in and even had its own waterfall.
This is a picture of the Columbia River from our hotel as the sun was setting.
The next morning we headed back down the river gorge with a small stop at Beacon's Rock. It is the 3rd tallest monolith in the world at 848 feet high. It was just about a mile to the top but one of the steepest miles I've ever done - straight switch backs. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so no aerial views from the top. Once again the wind was blowing like crazy and we were glad that most of the trail was on the lee side of the rock.
One last photo of the river.
We headed to the Oregon coast and Cannon Beach. We weren't disappointed by what we found!
Our first stop was at Ecola State Park and we did a couple of hikes to different look out spots and were thrilled by each new view.
This is Tillamook lighthouse. Said to be in one of the most exposed lighthouses in the country.
More views from Ecola State Park.
We then headed through town and found our hotel. It just had 5 rooms and they had these chairs we could sit in and watch the sun go down.
I sat for about 5 minutes until I realized that we needed to walk up the beach to get the best pictures of Haystack Rock (very famous). Reluctantly Garth followed me along. He was glad he did though when we were treated to beautiful views of the rocks, sunset, ocean spray and sand reflections. Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures we took.

Thursday was our only rainy day while we were in Oregon. I think we were very lucky. After breakfast at Pig in a Pancake, we still stuck to our plan and headed south along the coast stopping at all the lookout spots and hiking to the beach.
When our family went to Alaska, we hiked in a very similar forest and I have a picture of Preston posing in a hole in a tree. I found one similar and posed the the same way.
We did some shopping the town and then headed back to see if there would be another beautiful sunset. Since it had been cloudy all day, we didn't expect much and we could tell no one else did either because there were very few photographers out. But we were amply rewarded and thought the sunset was even prettier that night because of the clouds. So here are some more pictures of Haystack Rock.

Before we headed out Friday morning, I had to take one picture of Haystack Rock in full sun.
We stopped at Wanda's for lunch. To say the decor was unique would be an understatement! That is an old TV with a fake fire going in it at the end of our table and a genie lamp on it with the skeleton faced native guy in the sombrero. Unique decor and great food!
We then stopped by the Tillamook cheese factory and watched them process their cheese that Garth eats every night. Garth's dad loved this cheese as well and we both wished we could call him and tell him where we were.
We headed back to the coast and stopped by a lighthouse and the Octopus Tree that has 8 trunks.
It is in Ripley's Believe it or Not.
We sat on the coast as long as we could just watching the waves crash on the rocks and then headed back to Portland. We found the Portland temple and were so impressed by it. Garth decided to tell Jason to look for a girl from Oregon to marry, because it was such a beautiful temple.
We hit horrible traffic in Portland and it look us much longer than we had anticipated, but we eventually made it to the Rose Garden in Washington Park. It wasn't the season for roses but we were still treated to some beautiful roses.

The next morning we headed to the Saturday Market and had a good time realizing where all the hippies from the 60's moved to and what they are doing now - selling stuff at the market!
I cracked up at the headbands with pencils, hatchets, screwdrivers, hammers, etc. on them. They looked really good but didn't stay on your head very well or we would have bought a couple.
One last photo of a beautiful city and state before we had to head back to the desert. Oregon is definitely a place we want to return to.
One last look at Mt. Hood from the air.
We loved the lush green vegetation, all the waterfalls and especially the coast. We had had wonderful food and were glad of our decision not to eat at any chain restaurants, it paid off.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Raquel and Dave took off for the week to visit someplace cool - (such a novel idea, it was 111 degrees last Sunday!). So we get to watch their dog Ellie.
She too is a dachshund but long hair and she is Dieter's best friend. They can hardly leave each other alone. Just chase and play with each other all day and then crash every night.
She is great to have except when she just decides to bark in the middle of the night and you can't get her to stop! That better not happen again tonight or she is in big trouble!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Havasupi trip

Jip had only been here a couple of weeks and I figured I needed to get these two out of the bedroom and away from the computer, so what better way to do that ... than have them hike to Havasupi at 5:00am? Look they even have smiles on their faces!
After about a 3 1/2 hour hike, there is never anything better than soaking your feet in the cold water of Havasupi creek. We sat here a while debating on a campsite and finally decided to move down the creek a little ways.
There had been another large flash flood only about 4 weeks prior to our hike and you can see the sand bags that have been placed to try and save some of the camping areas. I was amazed at how much things had changed since June - especially the campground. Most of it was gone. The river had changed course and now flows over the best camping areas. The area left to camp in is where the river used to be and it is rocky and uneven. We settled on this spot but moved the next day when our neighbors left.
After setting up camp, we headed back up to Havasu Falls. There were drastic changes here as well. Once again the river had changed course and now misses most of the travertine pools that these falls are so famous for. The boys had a good time going behind the falls and coming out on the other side of the falls. They enjoyed it so much that they did it both days a dozen times or so.
Could there be a better place on earth to eat lunch?
After exploring Havasu Falls we headed down to Mooney Falls. This has to be the safest part of the hike - not!
Again, more changes here. The pool under Mooney is very shallow (just like under Havasu) and you can walk right up under the falls. The problem is that the water is coming with such force that you feel as though rocks are being thrown at you.
We hiked down to what used to be the best rope swing in the world. The rope has been replaced and the rock to jump off of is still there but the river is shallow now. There was one spot that was deep enough to jump into but it was difficult to get the right angle to hit it. We had a good time trying though.
We then decided to walk back up the river instead of using the trail. We had a great time climbing up water falls and wearing our legs out (as if they weren't tired enough from hiking down) going against the current.
Check out the buff men I'm hiking with!
The next morning we finally found some food that Jip didn't like - instant oatmeal!
If you are familiar with Havasupi you may recognize this area where you go to get water. You can see the dead trees, that happened with the 2008 flood, but notice that one of the bridges is missing. We had found it down below Mooney Falls the day before along with a bunch of picinic tables. This area was completely different from when I was here in June. Notice how milky the water is as well. It was just like this below Havasup Falls, above the falls, it was clear and blue like you expect it to be. Not sure why that was the case.
We headed up to Rock Falls (not the official name yet) the first ones in the series and the closest ones to the village. They are difficult to get to (check out the boulders you have to climb over in some of the pictures) but so fun! Preston is behind a small part of the falls.
Here I am about half way up the falls.
And here are the boys up on the top. We were almost able to get to the top going straight up the falls but we to one spot where the current was too strong, so we found a little trail off to the side.
Next we went back down to the 'new' Navajo Falls for come waterfall jumping. About half the campground had left that morning, so we had the falls to ourselves. It was great! Here is Jip jumping
and here is Preston
and here am I. At the end of the blog is a video of one of Preston's jumps and he does a little dance too.
We then decided to look for the cave that I'd been told about and we succeed in finding it. At one time someone had been mining in it and there were still rails for the cars. We only had one flashlight and didn't go too far. As we were coming out we met some people who know all about the cave and they asked if we had gone to the drop off. We realized that we had turned around right before the 50 foot drop off and were very glad we had, because our lighting was so poor we all probably would have fallen off.
Both evenings we sat on one of the many picnic tables that are now in the water and soaked our feet and played cards. Nothing could be better!
Our alarm didn't go off Monday morning and so we got off about 1/2 hour later than we had planned but we beat the sun and that was our goal. Here is Jip after his first backpacking trip where he saw his first waterfall, ate his first dehydrated meal, jumped off his first waterfall and saw his first Indian village. He did great - better than me that is for sure!
I decided that September is a great time to go to Havasupi. The weather wasn't too hot and the water was perfect. I could get in it and stay in it easier than any other time I had gone, because usually the water is just too cold for a cold blooded person like me. Plus, there were no scouts!