Open Road

Open Road

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Will it stop raining? Or, do we have to play Uno again??

Our former Pastor, Bob, has lovingly and (kind of) jokingly claimed that certain members of our family will come apart thread by thread on this trip.. Well, we’ve had a week that has tested some of those threads.  So far they are still holding strong, just a little stretched.

We had two challenges that we had to deal with this past week.  First, we had to cut out our trips to Glacier, Seattle and Portland due to spending a little extra time at Yellowstone, and needing to fix our bike rack issue.  It is still early in the year for Glacier, and when we checked only 15% of the “Road to the Sun” was open, so that was relatively easy to pass by.  But, I know April and the kids were looking forward to having some civilization and were disappointed by missing out shopping, hot showers, and wifi.

The second (bigger) challenge we’ve had is that the only sunshine we have seen for the past two weeks has been while we are driving.  Everywhere we have stopped we have been hit with terrible weather.  Given the initial experience we had at Yellowstone with limited warm clothes, snow, and no heat…rainy and cold is getting on everyone’s nerves.

What is even more disappointing is that we have missed out on seeing some of the main attractions that we focused on hitting.  We spent two days at Crater Lake based on a recommendation from a friend.  When we first drove up to the rim, we could see the lake and it took our breath away.  It is amazingly beautiful!  Then the clouds closed in, the rain began and the fog set in.  We never saw the lake again.  We have good friends from Michigan that were doing a ski clinic at Mt. Hood, and took the time to drive down.  They texted pictures of a cloudless sky and bright blue lake.  They were only three days behind us!  Insult to injury, Mother Nature!
Panorama of our initial view of Crater Lake
Snow banks at the end of June
With the exception of Katie, nobody else had much of an interest in hiking Crater in the rain.  So, while April and Jack sat in Harvey playing endless games of Uno, Katie and I went out and explored a couple of the hikes around Crater.  The most notable things we got to see were lots of deer, including two that were sleeping along the rim of the crater that we almost stepped on before one of them stood up in front of us.  I’m not sure which of the two of us was more surprised.

Crater Lake gets forty-four feet of snow every year, on average.  Even at the end of June there are still snow banks that are 6+ feet tall, and we took the time to climb on one of them and kick snow at each other.

Lava vents below Crater Lake
The last hike we went on took us down one of the canyons and along a beautiful mountain stream.  We ran across a couple more deer, wild flowers and beautiful terrain.  The other thing we came across were a couple of stone spires that we learned are former lava vents from when Mt. Mazama was still erupting.  Over time, the earth around the vents has eroded and left the cooled magma that was pushing up through the vents.

Following Crater Lake, we took a one day trip to Coos Bay on the Oregon coast where we stayed overnight.  Oregon has a beautiful rock bound coast that reminded me of Maine, including the lighthouse.  The state park that we stayed in boasted the best viewing of seals and sea lions.  They were inhabiting an island off the coast, and were loud.  Arguably, louder than Jack.

From the coast, we headed south to Redwoods National Forest.  We did not spend too much time in Redwoods, but enough time to see “Big Tree” and some pretty impressive elk that were hanging out beside the picnic area.

A couple of things to reflect on this past week.  First, I missed my latest high school reunion (we’ll skip what number it was..).  Second, April and I celebrated our 19th anniversary.  I can’t say I was disappointed to miss my reunion.  High school was not “my time” as I was an incredibly shy and quiet teenager (I’m sure those of you that I went to high school with can attest).  A big part of what helped me to become the person I’ve since become - able to take risks and stretch myself - is because of the love and support I’ve received from the wonderful person I married.  I’ve been to a couple of past reunions, and, frankly, I haven’t enjoyed them.  I went to school with wonderful people, who have built beautiful families, have become pillars in their communities, and chalked up their own accomplishments.  But, I find at our reunions I revert back to who I was back then, when that is a person I would rather leave in the past.  I hope everyone had a great time!  I did - I spent it with the ones that I love, taking more risks and stretching myself yet again.

Now, what shall April and I start planning for our 20th anniversary…

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