Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer 2014 - Hood River to Yosemite

While relaxing in Hood River with Jeremy and Kim we also took a relaxing approach to pictures and don't have too many....but we did however catch a few of the highlights.

Aaron took a quick trip to Boise to help his brother move - on the way they stopped at Stonehenge. 

Hood River is nestled in a gorge cut by the Columbia River and therefore is gorgeous!

We fed our love of fish hatcheries by visiting the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery.

Celebrated the 4th of July in style.

And saw so many beautiful waterfalls with these lovely ladies.

After Hood River we headed down the Oregon coast and stopped to do a little crabbing.  This was an activity that was recommended by Jeremy and Kim and I MUST recommend it to anyone that is ever near Newport OR.  We rented a boat, crab rings, and some bait from the Embarkadero Resort and without really anything in the way of formal training they let us take off into the bay.  I don't often get real smiles from Aaron in pictures so I love the first picture because you can see how much fun he was having.

We used mink as bait and, silly me, I thought it would be pieces of mink - nope, it was an entire mink frozen whole.  We tied it to the basket and let 'er rip!

I was a pretty great navigator if I do say so myself. 

When we pulled up the first basket we literally squealed with excitement! There were so many crabs - and jokes about catching crabs....

We were very excited about our catch but were a little unsure about whether or not we should keep them since we had NO IDEA how to prep and cook it.  Luck was on our side because as we walked up the dock a guy was cooking some crab that he had just caught.  I asked him if he could give me some pointers on prep and he spent the next hour showing Aaron how to clean them and showing me how to cook them. He definitely knew what he was doing because they tasted like heaven!  Hopefully the 6 crabs we gave him in the end made up for his generosity towards us!

Redwoods National Park has been on our list of must see places for a long time and I must say that it lived up to every expectation we had.  We tried our best to get pictures that accurately showed the grandeur of the trees but I think it is something you must see for yourself.  

We have loved every national park we've been to so far and continue to be impressed with the natural wonders.

Yosemite National Park was our next stop but was a bit more of a drive than we wanted to do in one go so we made a pit stop in Sacramento to see my cousin Laura and her adorable family.  I can't believe that we didn't take any pictures - probably because when Laura and I get together we can literally yap away for hours on end - but we had a great time and appreciated the food, discussions, entertaining children, showers, and air conditioning ;).

Yosemite National Park was another place that lives up to the hype.  It was dramatic but incredibly easy to enjoy.  We swam in the river, biked to the major landmarks, and relaxed to amazing views.

El Capitane! 

Lower Yosemite Falls

And Half Dome!

I have a weird love of cairns.  They are usually a way for hikers to mark a designated trail if signs aren't around to specify.  We came across this adorable cairn garden and loved it.

So of course we had to make our own.

This is how we relax after some mild biking - popsicles and feet in a river.  The best.

Aaron gets a gold star for the number of times he has taken down these bikes and put them back up. 

We camped at 9945 ft - definitely the highest I've ever camped - and took off very early the next day to head to St. George.  Aaron snapped these beautiful sunrise pictures because someone was still asleep in the van...

So now we're taking a few days to recover in St. George before heading out for some hiking, canyoneering, and general scary stuff that Aaron loves (and I love once we are doing them but have general anxiety until then).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer 2014 - Glacier to Olympic

Summer 2014 - Glacier to Olympic

When we made it to Glacier National Park we were a bit bummed that the road through the park was closed

We still, however, had a great experience.  We hiked to Avalanche Lake:

One of the perks of the closed road was that there was a section that was open to bikers and hikers.  It was beautiful, and hard, but mostly beautiful.

After Glacier we headed to Seattle to visit Alli and Garrett.  Garrett just got a sweet new job and so Alli got to play tour guide, which she rocked by the way!  We spent some time at the beach.

 Saw some sweet gardens.

 Went on an "Underground Seattle" Tour and learned how Seattle was built on-top of its burned first attempt at being a city.

We also took a ferry to an island and had possibly the best pizza I've ever eaten in my life.

It was definitely sad to leave Alli and Garret, between the hot tub and me cry laughing over Super Mario Bro. it was definitely a memorable visit.  We could literally sit and talk with them for hours and will definitely be back for another stay. We wish you both the very best in Seattle.

Next we put Stan on a ferry and headed to the Olympic Peninsula. 

It was so pretty but it rained....the ENTIRE time! 

We hiked to waterfalls.

 And played around at the beach.

 As you may have noticed I was a tad excited about the starfish but they were amazing!

On the way out of the park we stopped at a rain forest (forgot the name) and saw the Worlds Largest Spruce Tree!

The Olympic Peninsula took a while to win us over - hard to love something when it makes you feel like a wet rat - but in the end we will definitely go again.

For the next few days we will be relaxing in Hood River with Jeremy and Kim.  We are loving the family time and the air conditioning!