National Parks

Kootenay National Park

We actually went to Kootenay National Park before my parents met us to visit Banff and Jasper, but we went back for a quick visit with Mom and Dad so I decided to write about it last in my series of posts about our time in the Canadian Rockies.

Prior to heading to Banff we stayed at Redstreak Campground in Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia. This campground is part of Kootenay National Park. The campsites were huge and Jesse was excited that we had trees where we could set up the slack line kit.

20190717_190537

The campground is set up high above the town of Radium Hot Springs and the views of the town below were beautiful.

20190718_164040_HDR~2

20190718_163943_HDR~2

There were also big horn sheep frequently hanging out at the campground.

20190721_111151_HDR~2

We hiked to Dog Lake one evening. It started pouring when we arrived at the trailhead, but quickly stopped so we were able to hike, but the hike was super muddy. There were a couple of suspension bridges over the Kootenay River, then the rest of the hike was through the woods until you get to Dog Lake. The total hike was 3.2 miles out and back.

20190718_173404~2

20190718_173515_HDR~2

Kootenay River

20190718_173900_HDR~2

The kids thought the bridge was pretty cool, but the muddy hike, not so much. Jesse complained most of the way. πŸ˜‰

20190718_181438_HDR~2

Dog Lake

20190718_181755_HDR~2

On the way back to the campground we stopped at this beautiful viewpoint!

20190718_191802_HDR~2

Kootenay Valley Viewpoint

Kootenay River is such a brilliant shade of turquoise blue, especially on a sunny day.

20190721_104346~2

Kootenay River

When we went back to visit Kootenay with my parents we first stopped at the Continental Divide. At this point the rivers on the east side flow towards the Atlantic and the rivers on the west side flow towards the Pacific. This point was also the province line between Alberta and British Columbia, and the line that separates the 2 nationals parks, Banff and Kootenay.

20190801_152054~2

Continental Divide

Then we did a short, easy 1.2 mile out and back hike to the Paint Pots which were basically mud pots that look like paint.

20190801_155246_HDR~2

20190801_155640_HDR~2

20190801_160954_HDR

Paint Pots

20190801_161027_HDR~2

Paint Pots

20190801_161443_HDR~2

More gorgeous views along the hike.

20190801_162804_HDR~2

20190801_162750~2

That wraps up my posts about our time in the Canadian Rockies. I was sad to see that come to an end. It’s hard to describe in words just how amazing that part of the world is. How can we ever top that adventure?

 

Categories: canada, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Icefields Parkway and Jasper National Park

We left the RV at the campground in Banff, and took a couple of days to drive up the Icefields Parkway and see Jasper National Park. This is yet another thing that you might want to add to your bucket list. The Icefields Parkway is 230 kilometers (or as Americans would say 140 miles), but there are so many amazing places to see along the way that you should really plan to spend an entire day making the drive between Banff and Jasper.

20190729_085914_HDR~2

Our first stop was a quick stop to see Herbert Lake

Then we made another quick stop to see Bow Lake.

20190729_094036_HDR~2

Bow Lake

20190729_094547~2

Bow Lake

The next stop needed more time and involved a fairly short hike to Peyto Lake. Definitely do this hike and spend some time admiring this breathtaking beauty.

20190729_103443~2

Peyto Lake

The hike to the main viewpoint is 1.7 miles out and back. It’s uphill the entire way there so be prepared for that. The viewpoint is ridiculously crowded, so based on a tip from some other hikers, we ventured up the trail to the left of the viewpoint. You don’t have to walk very far to find some spectacular views away from the crowds.

20190729_104228~2

(A side note for anyone who may be visiting this area for the rest of 2019, unfortunately you won’t be able to see Peyto Lake. The parking area and hiking trails are closed for the rest of the year, but will re-open next year).

After Peyto Lake we continued on up the Icefields Parkway and stopped for lunch at a picnic area at the Saskatchewan River Crossing.

20190729_115242_HDR~2

Saskatchewan River Crossing

Next we splurged on a really cool adventure. We went on the Columbia Icefields Adventure to tour and walk on the Athabasca Glacier and the Skywalk. This was definitely the highlight of our trip up the parkway.

20190729_130659_HDR~2

View of the glaciers from the Columbia Icefields Center — Athabasca Glacier is on the right

To get on the glacier, you ride in an Ice Explorer. We had an excellent tour guide named Bruce.

20190729_145048_HDR

Ice Explorer

More ice explorers on the glacier.

20190729_141830~2

20190729_143057~2

Once you get on the glacier, you get to spend about 25-30 minutes walking around, taking pictures and even trying a drink of the ice cold glacier water. They had country flags from several countries around the world for pictures.

20190729_140416~2

Americans representing on the Athabasca Glacier

20190729_141144_HDR~2

Dad is originally from Nova Scotia, proudly displaying the Canadian flag

20190729_141558

Chris filled a cup with glacier water for us to try

After the glacier tour, the Ice Explorer returns you to a shuttle bus which takes you to the second part of the tour, the Skywalk.

20190729_152557~2

Glacier Skywalk

Views from the Skywalk:

20190729_152726_HDR~2

20190729_153256

After the glacier tour we were all pretty worn out from all the excitement of the day, so we decided to leave some other explorations on the Icefields Parkway for the drive back to Banff. We drove to our hotel in Jasper National Park and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Jasper Brewing Company.

The next day it rained most of the day, so unfortunately we didn’t get to explore very much of Jasper. The only thing we did was the Valley of Five Lakes hike, and we did that in the rain. I know there is so much more to see in Jasper, so that just means we have to go back again someday.

20190730_114606~2

One of the 5 lakes at the Valley of Five Lakes

20190730_115035_HDR~2

Another one of the 5 lakes

The next day we headed back to Banff down the parkway again, visiting some other spots along the way. We stopped at the Athabasca Falls which was beautiful!

20190731_103932~2

Athabasca Falls

20190731_104045_HDR~2

Athabasca Falls

We did another challenging uphill hike to Parker Ridge, a 3.2 mile up and back hike. The climb was worth the beautiful views at the top! Are my parents amazing or what?! Both of them in their 70s and still joining us for hikes like this. πŸ™‚

20190731_134305_HDR~2

At the top of Parker Ridge

20190731_140129_HDR~2

Saskatchewan Glacier

20190731_132058_HDR~2

Beautiful views along the hike

One of the most exciting things we saw on the parkway was bears! We’re always on the lookout for bears, from a safe distance of course. But, it’s very rare that we see them. We saw several on the Icefields Parkway, and were able to get pictures of some of them on the side of the road.

20190729_164732

SavedImage_20190731_170449_02~2

Adorable cubs following Mama Bear off the road!

SavedImage_20190731_170449_30~2

Mama Bear making sure her cubs made it safely off the road.

The drive along the Icefields Parkway was quite the adventure, I’m only sorry we didn’t have enough time to explore more of Jasper. So it just goes on my never-ending list of places to return to someday.

I have one more post about our time in the Canadian Rockies about Kootenay National Park which I’ll write about next.

Categories: canada, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Banff National Park

Have you ever been to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies? If not, you may want to put it on your bucket list. It is literally the most beautiful place I have ever seen. So much so that I don’t know how we’ll ever top that trip!

20190723_203246_HDR~2

Lake Louise

Each summer my parents like to pick a place on our travel route to meet up with us, and this year they chose to fly to Calgary in Alberta to meet up with us to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks. I must say that was an excellent choice! This just may be the most amazing place we’ve ever been.

20190723_173539~2

We stayed at Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court right in the super cute town of Banff.

20190721_155634_HDR

Our campsite was very nice and spacious

One day we were treated to some special guests at our site.

20190724_083301~2

Elk relaxing at the campsite

20190722_124748~2

The scenic town of Banff is surrounded by mountains

Besides being the most amazing park we have ever been to, it’s also the most crowded. I guess we’re not the only ones who wanted to see this incredible gem on God’s beautiful Creation.

20190723_205255_HDR~3

The parking lots at Banff fill up so early, and just barely clear out in the evenings. Chris worked most days, so we ventured out for hikes and exploring in the evenings. But even then, it was challenging to find parking. The night we went to Lake Louise (which is very likely the most popular area at Banff), we took some pictures at the lake and then ventured out for a hike to Lake Agnes. The hike is 4.7 miles out and back. It’s a challenging hike uphill then back down after you reach the lake. Uphill hikes always challenge me with getting out of breath, but I sometimes think going back down is more difficult. It’s harder on the knees, and also you have to try not to slip and fall going down if the trail has loose gravel.

20190723_191630_HDR~2

Lake Agnes

20190723_192148_HDR~2

Lake Agnes Tea House

20190723_185941_HDR~2

My parents admiring the beautiful views along the hike

Another evening we went to Moraine Lake. I think this lake was even more incredible than Lake Louise. The parking there is even more limited though, and there are park rangers blocking the entrance to the road. They only let people through when others have left the parking lot. Since we got there around 6:30 in the evening we didn’t have to wait too long, and it’s worth it for this view!

20190725_185229_HDR~2

Moraine Lake

If you visit Moraine Lake, be sure to hike up the 1/2 mile Rockpile trail. It’s made of rock steps and other than the climb, it’s not too difficult. You can see Moraine Lake from down at the shoreline, but the best views are from the top of the trail.

20190725_185047_HDR~2

From there we hiked to Consolation Lakes. This hike was 3.6 miles out and back. It was not difficult, but mostly through the woods on a dirt trail. I had read that there are frequent bear sightings on this trail, and sometimes it’s required to hike in groups and carry bear spray. We had that covered, but we didn’t see any bears. Once you get to Consolation Lakes there is a lot of rock scrambling to actually get to the lake shore. Of course, our kids love that part.

20190725_201225_HDR~2

20190725_200222_HDR~2

Consolation Lakes

20190725_200528_HDR~2

Johnston Canyon was another fabulous place to visit. The hike to the Lower Falls is an easy 1.5 miles out and back. But, you can also hike further to see the Upper Falls making it 3.1 miles round trip. The trail is well maintained and paved. There is a 3rd option to hike to the Ink Pots making the total hike 7.3 miles, but we did not go that far.

20190726_200038~2

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls

20190726_193302_HDR~2

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls

20190726_195615~2

Hiking along Johnston Canyon

Lake Minnewanka is gorgeous! We had fun just walking along the shoreline, while Chris & Jesse played frisbee.

20190728_125953_HDR~2

Lake Minnewanka

20190728_130542_HDR~2

Chris & Jesse playing frisbee on Lake Minnewanka

More pictures of Lake Minnewanka:

20190728_131258_HDR~2

20190728_132343_HDR

20190728_132650_HDR~2

We also drove up Mount Norquay where you can see a beautiful view of the town of Banff down below.

20190728_141500_HDR~2

I love this adorable picture of Jake & Jesse at Mount Norquay. I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, and it seems rare to get a good picture of them together like this anymore. Sometimes they like each other! πŸ˜‰

20190728_141929_HDR

Lastly we went to Vermillion Lakes, yet another beautiful place to see at Banff.

20190728_144854_HDR-EFFECTS

Vermillion Lakes

We explored a few other areas as well, including a hike to the Hoodoos from the campground and another hike in the town of Canmore. The hiking opportunities in and around Banff are endless!

I cannot even describe how incredible it is to visit a place like Banff National Park, and my pictures really do not do it justice.

But there’s more! The trip up to Jasper National Park involves an incredibly scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway. Stay tuned for that next.

 

Categories: canada, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Craters of the Moon

20190621_192626_HDR

Craters of the Moon National Monument is in Idaho, but it literally looks like you have just landed on another planet. In fact, we learned by watching the park movie that NASA astronauts actually visited there to train for moon missions in 1969 and later spent time there researching missions to Mars. Is that cool or what?!

20190618_170912~2

Craters of the Moon

This park is very easy to visit as it’s not large and you could easily visit in a day. There is a 7 mile loop drive through the park with plenty of beautiful places to stop and admire the views. You also have the option to hike and explore some caves.

20190618_171014_HDR~2

Hiking up Inferno Cone

Our first stop was a short hike up the hill to see Inferno Cone.

20190618_171817_HDR~2

The next stop was Spatter Cones and Snow Cones.

20190618_172735_HDR~2

Spatter Cones

20190618_173241_HDR~2

Our favorite was exploring the caves. The first cave we explored was Indian Tunnel. That is an easy cave to explore if you didn’t bring flashlights. There is plenty of natural light in this cave.

20190618_175421

Staircase down into Indian Tunnel

20190618_175551_HDR

Indian Tunnel

20190618_175808_HDR~2

Lots of natural light coming into Indian Tunnel

20190618_180223_HDR

20190618_180508

20190618_180726_HDR

20190618_180958_HDR

We went back another evening to explore the dark caves and remembered to bring flashlights.

20190621_180715

Some of these caves had some tight spots to squeeze through!

20190621_183104

Inside one of the caves there was a lot of ice, and somehow we got a good picture of some of it by shining a flashlight on it.

20190621_184258

I’m not gonna lie, it was creepy in those dark caves. The kids loved it and kept wanting to go further into them. I went along with them because I didn’t want them to get lost, but I have to admit I was a little nervous. Sometimes Chris stayed out of the caves just in case someone needed to call for help to come and rescue us. At least that’s his story, and he’s sticking to it. πŸ˜‰

20190618_182101

Craters of the Moon is such a beautiful and unusual place to see and explore!

20190621_172828_HDR

We stayed at Craters of the Moon KOA in Arco, and I’m sorry to say it was one of the worst RV parks we’ve ever stayed at. I wouldn’t recommend it, however ironically we moved from there to one of the best parks we’ve ever stayed at. Stay tuned for that next.

 

Categories: Idaho, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Yellowstone National Park

In my last post about Grand Teton National Park, I mentioned that it snowed the last day we were there. As we drove to Yellowstone the next day we noticed a lot more snow on the drive and saw that Yellowstone got even more snow than we did the day before. It’s amazing that this was June!

20190609_113731_HDR~2

Driving to Yellowstone from Grand Teton

20190609_113850_HDR~2

Amazing snow in June!

20190609_114307_HDR~2

20190609_114317~2

Okay, so I guess I went overboard on taking pictures of the snow on our drive, but it was so beautiful, and after our winter in Breckenridge I just can’t get enough of snow.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about Yellowstone. This is another park that we are repeating this year because it’s just so awesome and definitely worth repeating.

20190611_174640~2

Old Faithful

This time of the year it’s so nice that it stays light so late at night because we can easily go for a hike in the evenings after work. The night we went to Old Faithful we hiked the trail from there to see several other geysers.

One of my favorites is Artemesia Geyser. We saw this one erupting last time we were there, which was good timing since it doesn’t erupt as regularly as Old Faithful. We didn’t see it erupting this time, but it was still beautiful.

20190611_184646~2

Artemesia Geyser

Another favorite is Morning Glory. Even though the colors in this one are beautiful, sadly the colors are the result of visitors throwing items into the geyser. That’s just not a good thing to do.

20190611_185654~2

Morning Glory

The river walk was beautiful with little spots of steam coming up everywhere.

20190611_182207_HDR~2

I forget what this one was called, but it started erupting just as we walked by. That was pretty cool!

20190611_192943~2

Another view of Old Faithful erupting again as we finished up our hike.

20190611_192250

I couldn’t believe how many bison we saw this time. It was weird when we were there 3 years ago with my parents, we hardly saw any bison. This time they were everywhere! Several times blocking traffic.

20190612_193905

20190612_193926_HDR (2)

Another night we went to Grand Prismatic Spring, another one of my favorites. On the hike to the overlook we saw this aggressive bison. We know he was aggressive because we saw him chase 2 ladies that had just walked by. We stood back and waited until he was well off the path before we continued on.

20190612_201349~2

Grumpy bison

20190612_202637~2

Grand Prismatic Spring from the overlook

20190612_211425~2

Grand Prismatic Spring up close

20190612_211336~2

Hiking along the boardwalk next to Grand Prismatic Spring

A few more pictures from the Grand Prismatic area.

20190612_205339~2

20190612_211218~2

20190612_200322_HDR~2

Another evening we went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This area is so beautiful and the hike along the canyon offers some amazing views.

20190614_175722_HDR~2

Artist Point

20190614_175822_HDR~2

I see that Jake is now taller than me πŸ˜‰

20190614_181358_HDR~2

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

20190614_182402~2

Lower Falls

20190614_184934~2

I was disappointed to find that Uncle Tom’s trail that takes you down over 300 steps to get a closer view of Lower Falls was closed. That turned out to be a blessing though because we went around to the other side and went down a trail to see it from the other side. This is something we didn’t do last time so it was cool to see it from a different perspective.

20190614_191502_HDR~2

Top of Lower Falls

20190614_193527_HDR~2

Another view of the canyon

Lastly we went to see the Artist’s Paint Pots. This is something we did not get a chance to see last time.

20190614_202140~2

20190614_202333_HDR~2

We stayed at the Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, MT again. We love that park and the little town of West Yellowstone is so much fun. We also got to spend some time with 2 other Fulltime Families that were there.

Now that we’ve been to Yellowstone twice, would I go there again? Most definitely! This is one of those places I could visit over and over again.

Categories: Montana, National Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Grand Teton National Park

After traveling for over 4 years, it was inevitable that we would eventually start repeating some favorites. Grand Teton National Park is one of those favorites we repeated this year, and it was just as awesome as the first time. If you’d like to read my post from our first time at Grand Teton you can see it here:Β Grand Teton National Park.

We tried a new hike this time to Taggart and Bradley Lakes. The views along the hike and the picturesque lakes were incredible.

20190604_170425_HDR~2

Starting our hike to Taggart Lake

20190604_164802_HDR (2)

Waterfall along the way to Taggart Lake

20190604_170815_HDR~2

20190604_173250_HDR~2

Gorgeous Taggart Lake

20190604_172339_HDR~2

Enjoying a snack break at Taggart Lake

Then we continued on to Bradley Lake which was a lot of uphill hiking making for a very good workout.

20190604_180845_HDR

Another snack break at Bradley Lake

20190604_181923~2

Bradley Lake

We also repeated some favorites like visiting the Chapel of the Transfiguration which is stunning!

20190605_155850

Chapel of the Transfiguration

20190605_155503_HDR

View from inside the Chapel of the Transfiguration

Another repeat was the hike halfway around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls, but it was a little different this time. Last time the hiking trail was down by the lake, but this time that part of the trail was being repaired so we ended up hiking a different trail that was up much higher over the lake.

20190606_165334~2

Jenny Lake

20190606_184332_HDR~2

Hiking to Hidden Falls

20190606_173544_HDR~2

Hiking along Jenny Lake

Seeing Hidden Falls was also new because the last time we were there the trail to the Falls was closed. I’m so glad we got to see it this time! It was a beautiful and powerful waterfall, we could hear it long before it came into view.

20190606_180913_HDR~2

Hidden Falls

20190606_181248~2

Hidden Falls

20190606_182329_HDR~2

It started to look like stormy skies on the way back

20190606_182622_HDR~2

20190606_190731_HDR~2

Another view of Jenny Lake

One evening we hiked along Jackson Lake from the campground and saw a beaver come out of the water, then he chewed down a little tree and started to swim away with the tree. It was so cool to watch this!

20190603_194901~2

Beaver getting back in the water with the little tree he just chewed down

20190603_194906

Beaver swimming away

20190603_202332~2

Hiking along Jackson Lake

20190603_204220~2

Jackson Lake

We stayed at Colter Bay RV Park which is inside of the national park. We stayed there last time and had Verizon access from our campsite so we could work, but this time Verizon didn’t work from our site at all except in the middle of the night. Yikes! How are we supposed to work like this? We had to get creative that week, that’s for sure. Sometimes we got up in the middle of the night to get some work done while Verizon worked, sometimes we worked at the campground laundry room or the Jackson Lake Lodge where the internet worked great, and other times we worked at the Colter Bay marina and enjoyed this view.

20190602_181702~2

Not a bad office view, right?

It’s not often we get to a place where we have no cell coverage at our site. Usually I know about it ahead of time and we plan our vacations around lack of cell coverage areas. This time we were surprised to have no coverage especially since it worked last time we stayed there. Another surprise was waking up to snow one day while we were there, in June!

20190608_110829_HDR

A snowy day at Grand Teton in June

Grand Teton National Park is such an incredibly beautiful place, and my pictures definitely do not do it justice. You just have to come and see it for yourself.

 

Categories: National Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Acadia National Park

If you missed my last post about how our travels came to an end after Acadia, you can view that here:Β The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless. That happened 2 months ago and we’re still going back and forth between Heartland and insurance, trying to get some resolution. Anyway, I thought it was about time I get my blog caught up on the travels we did in Maine prior to our disaster.

20180621_132257_HDR

Acadia National Park was incredible! It was so nice to get back to hiking in a national park. Our east coast travels have been fun, but we sure are missing the abundance of national parks out west. Acadia was a little like being back out west, but with a New England vibe if that makes any sense.

The Mount Desert Island/Bar Harbor side of Acadia is the busiest so we tried to plan our sightseeing on weekdays and early mornings. One day we drove the main park loop road and stopped off at several viewpoints.

20180621_131328

This would have been impossible on a weekend since there is very limited parking. On the weekend you can ride a free shuttle around the park, but those are also very crowded.

20180621_134605_HDR

Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole is supposed to be really cool during high tide. Unfortunately it was low tide when we were there, but still pretty.

20180621_135456_HDR

We loved walking and climbing on all the rocks and checking out the little tide pools.

20180621_135707

20180621_135846

20180621_140641_HDR

On the weekend we drove to one of the quieter sides of Acadia to see the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and do a couple of hikes.

20180623_104240_HDR

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

After visiting the lighthouse we parked at the Ship Harbor Trail Head and began a short hike to the ocean where we walked on the rocky coast for most of the day. We hiked back on the Wonderland Trail that ends back at the road just about a quarter mile from where we parked making it a loop.

20180623_112117_HDR

Jake put together a pile of seaweed on a rock and then made a home for some snails. He carried that around for a good part of the afternoon and named it “Fly, Poop and Eat”. He came up with that because he flew the “snail home” around with his hands, watched them eat seaweed, and later noticed their poop on the seaweed. πŸ™‚

20180623_134042

I loved these colorful rocks!

20180623_130124

The next day we rode the shuttle from the campground to Bar Harbor. From there we took the shuttle to Sand Beach and hiked one of our favorite hikes ever, the Beehive Trail. This trail is a challenging uphill hike, with lots of climbing up ladders and steps. It is not recommended for small children or anyone afraid of heights as it can be very steep and some narrow pathways with steep drop-offs. If you like that sort of thing though, you will love this hike!

20180624_114500_HDR

Climbing the side of a cliff

20180624_114239_HDR

I was a little nervous about crossing this thing!

20180624_115138_HDR

How about a family picture on the side of a cliff?

20180624_115854

More climbing

20180624_115957_HDR

The climb was worth this view!

After that hike we took the shuttle over to Jordan Pond for a hike around the pond.

20180624_135554_HDR

20180624_140025

A long stretch of this hike had a wooden walkway that the kids thought was fun to walk on.

20180624_144610_HDR

Lots of people told us that we must have popovers at Jordan Pond House while we were there. I know it must be popular because you have to have a reservation to have tea and popovers. We didn’t have a reservation so we didn’t get to try the famous popovers — maybe next time!

In Maine there are lobster pounds everywhere and if you buy them live they are pretty cheap. Chris got a couple of lobsters for Jake and me (Chris and Jesse don’t like them). He brought home these 2 live lobsters and set them on the floor to see what Fat Cat would do. She walked in the room and walked right by them, not even noticing them at first. Suddenly she looked down and then jumped in the air as she realized they were alive. It was so funny to see her reaction, I wish I had a video.

20180625_183729

So, the hard part about buying live lobster is you have to cook them. I know, that seems pretty obvious, right? Well I’m not a fan of killing animals. I’m not a vegetarian or anything, but if I’m going to eat meat, I guess I prefer not having to see the animal alive first. I felt so bad having to put these things in the boiling pot of water. I did what my aunt said she does, I pet each one on the nose and thanked them for sacrificing their lives so Jake and I could eat. I know, I’m weird, but I think from now on I’ll let someone else do the cooking. That was a little traumatic for me, not to mention what it was like for the poor lobsters. At least they tasted good!

20180625_194204

After a couple of weeks in the Bar Harbor area, we moved to another quieter side of Acadia, Schoodic Peninsula and stayed at the Schoodic Woods Campground (the campground that will be forever etched in my memory as the last place we stayed in our beautiful home on wheels before it fell apart on us).

20180630_134057_Burst20

Schoodic Peninsula is so beautiful and it definitely is quieter. I rode my bike along the bike trails and the park loop road. I don’t usually like riding on main roads, but this road was not busy at all. I think only about 5 cars passed me the whole time.

Hanging out at Schoodic Point in the evenings was lots of fun.

20180704_184835_HDR

I loved watching the waves crash against the rocks!

20180704_191152

20180704_185736_HDR

20180707_180139_HDR

20180707_181426

We loved our time in Acadia, and had planned to return after Canada. There were a few other things we wanted to do there including watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain (the first to see the sunrise in the U.S.), and hiking the Bar Island Trail at Bar Harbor at low tide. Unfortunately the rest of our northeast plans had to be canceled so we will just have to put all of those things on the itinerary for another time.

Next I will write about all the things we did in Canada after we left the RV in storage.

Categories: Maine, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

North Cascades National Park

After we left Port Angeles we headed over to the little town of Concrete, Washington to visit North Cascades National Park.

0911171010_HDR

This park is known for mountains, glaciers and lakes. The glaciers are a beautiful turquoise green color like in this iconic view of Diablo Lake.

0911171405b_HDR

Diablo Lake

0911171408b_HDR

A park ranger explained to us that the glaciers moving against the rocks over time result in the stunning green color in the water. I was curious why the glacial melt in Glacier National Park results in blue water while this park’s glacial melt results in green. The ranger showed us how rubbing 2 rocks together from this area creates a fine green dust, while the rocks in Glacier must be somewhat different in the color resulting in a blue dust.

0911171405a_HDR

0911171409_HDR

We started the day at the Gorge Powerhouse, walking across the suspension bridge and then a short hike up to Ladder Creek Falls.

0911171110d_HDR

0911171111_HDR

0911171115_HDR

0911171118a_HDR

Ladder Creek Falls

0911171126b_HDR

Then we hiked the Thunder Knob Trail to see Diablo Lake. This hike was 3.6 miles round trip and to be honest it wasn’t really that interesting except for the end. There was not much to look at for the hike up, but once we got to the top we were rewarded with this view. This was an out and back hike so the hike back down was just as uninteresting, but easier of course as it was all downhill.

0911171300b_HDR

0911171300_HDR

0911171305a_HDR

If you’re short on time I wouldn’t bother with this hike. You can get a much better view of Diablo Lake from the Diablo Lake Overlook (the pictures from the beginning of this post were taken at the overlook). I don’t mean to sound negative about this hike, but my personal preference is to hike trails where you have amazing views throughout the hike, not just at the end.

Next we drove further down the scenic North Cascades Highway to hike the Rainy Lake Trail. This was a short 2 mile out and back hike to a beautiful lake. Again, the hike wasn’t all that interesting, but it was short and paved, and ended at this awesome view.

0911171525a_HDR

Rainy Lake

0911171531b_HDR

0911171532_HDR

A few more miles down the road we stopped at the Washington Pass Overlook for some spectacular mountain views.

0911171614a_HDR

0911171615a_HDR

0911171617a_HDR

0911171621b_HDR

Lastly, on the way out of the park we stopped at Cascadian Farms for some organic ice cream. I thought the blueberry ice cream was delicious!

0911171811a_HDR

We stayed at the Grandy Creek Thousand Trails while we were in this area, and also celebrated Jesse’s 11th birthday that week. We had been so busy sightseeing and exploring while Gramma and Grampa visited, and I think everyone felt the need for a break. Jesse requested that we stay home for his birthday and not go anywhere. So that’s what we did. We spent the day at the campground, playing games and mini golf. I made his favorite ice cream cake and one of his favorite dinners — lasagna, meatballs and homemade bread. I bet you didn’t think we could bake all that in an RV, did you? πŸ˜‰ Last Christmas my dad and Chris switched out our microwave oven with a combination convection/microwave and I love it! The standard oven that comes with an RV is pretty useless since hardly any pans even fit in it. The convection oven fits my lasagna pan and bread pan perfectly. And I cook meatballs in our Instant Pot, one of the best kitchen appliances for an RV.

0914171903b_HDR

SavedImage_0914171903_08

I wasn’t sure how we could possibly top his 10th birthday that was celebrated at Mall of America, but he said this birthday was just as fun. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life I guess. πŸ™‚

Categories: National Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Olympic National Park

After 10 wonderful weeks in Oregon we moved on to Washington where my parents would be joining us for a couple of weeks. Our first stop in WA was Port Angeles in the Olympic Peninsula. My parents flew into Seattle which was about 3 hours away but the closest airport for them to fly into. We had a fun day of planes, trains & automobiles (and ferries too!) when we went to pick them up. I will write a separate post about Seattle later.

While we were in Port Angeles we visited Olympic National Park. This park is huge and takes up most of the northwestern part of the state. It includes mountains, lakes, the ocean and even a rain forest!

0902171057d_HDR

Port Angeles is near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center so our first adventure at Olympic was hiking up to Hurricane Ridge. The views were spectacular! We were blessed with a beautiful, clear day and could see Victoria, British Columbia across the water where we went the next day. Stay tuned for a post about that amazing city.

0902171251a_HDR

0902171200_HDR

0902171306d_HDR

0902171311_HDR

0902171347_HDR

0902171424a_HDR

After the strenuous climb it was time for a snack break!

0902171404_HDR

Later that week we went to visit some other areas of Olympic that were close to Port Angeles including Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent.

0906171412a_HDR

Marymere Falls

0906171508a_HDR

Lake Crescent

It was quite smoky in the area that day due to wildfires in the northwest so it’s hard to get a good idea of just how clear this lake is. Standing over the edge of the dock the water was so clear you could see straight down to the bottom which was probably over 8 feet deep at that point, but it was really hard to tell.

We took an overnight trip over to the town of Forks, WA where the Twilight novels were based. This is the western side of Olympic but quite a drive from Port Angeles which is why we decided to spend the night instead of driving back and forth 2 days in a row.

Our first stop on this side of the park was the amazing Hoh Rain Forest. Near constant fog and mist in addition to 12 to 14 feet of rain each year result in this lush rain forest which has been designated one of the 7 wonders of Washington state.

0908171213b_HDR

0908171225a_HDR

Hall of Mosses

0908171224a_HDR

The boys earned their Junior Ranger badges at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.

0908171208_HDR

Next we headed over to Ruby Beach which was beautiful and so much fun!

0908171454_HDR

0908171455b_HDR

0908171459c_HDR

0908171515_HDR

0908171524_Burst11

I love looking for colorful sea creatures in the tide pools, but I didn’t find any here, probably because the tide was coming back in.

0908171519i_HDR

Jake decided to build a raft out of driftwood and float down the waterways. Jesse decided to join him. I nicknamed them Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. πŸ™‚

0908171541a_HDR

0908171540b_HDR

Grampa liked skipping rocks.

0908171544_Burst10

The next morning we woke up to a rainy day. I know that is not uncommon for the Pacific Northwest, but we had been very blessed with mostly beautiful days for the entire summer. Anyway, we weren’t going to let a little rain keep us from searching the early morning low tide pools at Rialto Beach.

At first it was just a little drizzle and fog, not too bad as we hiked to Hole-in-the-Wall and Split Rock.

0909170933a_HDR0909170956_HDR

0909170946_HDR

Split Rock

The rain picked up and we all got soaked, not to mention we were freezing! I don’t know about the rest of my people, but for me it was worth it. I saw the most beautiful and colorful starfish there. These were the best tide pools I saw in all of our time in the PNW!

0909170954_HDR

0909170938_HDR

I had been searching for a purple sea urchin for weeks and never did find one, but I did see this beautiful purple starfish which was good enough for me.

0909170940f_HDR

0909170942_HDR

We saw lots of these green sea anemones everywhere!

0909171005_HDR

Chris and Jesse hung in there with me for a while longer after Gramma, Grampa and Jake decided they had enough of the cold and rain and headed back to the truck.

Jesse collected lots of rocks.

0909170947_HDR

We made it to Hole-in-the-Wall, looking just a little bit like drowned rats and feeling just a little bit cold!

0909171000a_HDR

Hole-in-the-Wall

It was worth it to me at least. Look at this wonderland of tide pools just waiting to be explored! I could have stayed here all day if we weren’t wet and freezing.

0909171004b_HDR

After this we walked/ran as quickly as we could back to some dry clothes and a warm truck. We had planned to go up to Cape Flattery next, the northwestern most point in the lower 48 states, but since the weather wasn’t cooperating we headed back to our cozy little home back in Port Angeles.

Up next… 2 beautiful days in Victoria, Canada.

Categories: National Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Two Forts in Astoria, Oregon

We spent a total of 10 amazing weeks in my new favorite state of Oregon this summer, and we saved the best state park for last. Fort Stevens State Park is in the northwest corner of Oregon near the beautiful city of Astoria. This was my favorite state park we stayed at in Oregon. It was huge and so many of the sites have some trees and privacy. But the best part of the park was the miles of paved bike trails and historical places to visit.

0823171818_HDR

Awesome paved bike trails!

0824171338b_HDR

Roadschooling one day consisted of touring the fort and a shipwreck on the beach. Fort Stevens was in service from the Civil War to World War II and guarded the mouth of the Columbia River.

0824171348b_HDR

0824171415b_HDR

0824171358b_HDR

0824171401b_HDR

0824171431_HDR

0824171523_HDR

The Peter Iredale ship ran ashore in 1906 and the wreckage is now a tourist attraction on the beach at Fort Stevens. The boys loved climbing on this shipwreck.

0823171832_HDR

0824171827e_HDR

Peter Iredale shipwreck

The northern tip of the state park has beautiful views of the Pacific and the mouth of the Columbia River. You can also see the state of Washington across the river as well as the city of Astoria.

0824171730b_HDR

One of the lookout points at Fort Stevens

Early in our Oregon travels we met a family back in Chiloquin that we have met up with at a couple of different places since then, one of them was Fort Stevens. We had a great time with them touring another fort (Fort Clatsop) and Astoria.

0826171300b_HDR~2

The Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at Fort Clatsop during the winter of 1805-1806.

0826171155_HDR

0826171157_HDR

The boys earned new Junior Ranger badges with their friends.

0826171252a_HDR

After touring Fort Clatsop we explored the beautiful city of Astoria and had lunch at Mo’s. How is it we did not eat at Mo’s until the day before we left Oregon? There are several of them along the Oregon coast and they have the best clam chowder. Next time we’re in Oregon we’ll have to go there again.

0826171427_Burst01

0826171424a_HDR

0826171430_Burst01

0826171430_HDR

0826171432_HDR

We climbed the 164 steps to the top of the Astoria Column where we were rewarded with gorgeous view of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge that goes to Washington.

0826171450b_HDR

Astoria Column

0826171454b_HDR

0826171456c_HDR

0826171457a_HDR

The kids enjoyed running and rolling down the hill outside of the column.

0826171503_Burst02

It was a bittersweet day knowing it was our last day on the Oregon Coast. I thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring that part of this amazing country. I really hope to return again someday.

Categories: National Parks, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.