Rivers, salmon, and marshmallows

On our second day of camping at Milo McIver State Park, we visited the Clackamas River Fish Hatchery, did some light hiking, and generally had fun exploring the forest and river bank.

The hatchery at Milo McIver releases nearly a million fish a year into the Clackamas River, to help boost the salmon and trout populations in Oregon for sport fishing as well as general population support for imperiled salmon population. There’s a dam at Milo McIver, so I imagine the hatchery was constructed to offset the damage that dams do to the salmon population. It’s totally open to the public, and we had fun looking at the baby, “teen-aged,” and adult salmon.

Then we went down to play on the bank of the Clackamas River a bit before lunchtime. Amelia and Baxter took off their shoes and clambered on the rocks. Neither got into the river after dipping a finger in, though. 🙂 We saw some crawdad shells and spotted an eagles’ nest (but no eagle).

While Baxter and Tom took a nap, Amelia and I whittled a bit and then did a little biking and hiking together, which was super-fun. Then the whole family played at the river for a little while longer; we saw a sign that the Second Tallest Yew Tree in the Nation was to be found, but there was no plaque/sign anywhere so we never were sure if we found it.

Finally, we went back to camp for a tasty dinner of grilled chicken and baked potatoes (in the crockpot!). Oh, and we spotted a salamander on our way back from a trip to the bathroom.  Then it was s’mores/marshmallows and bedtime.

This morning, it was COLD!!! The kids were bummed that we (unwisely) burned all the firewood on the previous night. But a tasty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes helped us all warm up.

Despite the cold (and Tom’s accidentally breaking his new iPhone screen), we had a really great time! Can’t wait to come back to Milo McIver next summer.

Snippets from Amelia


  1. Baxter, whether you have a Darth Vader costume or not, you can still be pretty awesome.
  2. Sleep is like a time machine that sends you forward in time!
  3. Like when you run for chariot! (She meant “charity.”)
  4. Did you know that Stella has powers? And I have powers too. My powers are kindness and sewing. Oh, and building fairy houses.

Banana Split

IMG_6744After hitting the Columbia Employees’ Store yesterday, we made good on a promise I had made to the children ages ago, which was to buy them a banana split at Cloud City Ice Cream. Three scoops of ice cream: vanilla, circus friends, and (since they were out of normal chocolate) salted caramel chocolate; also, hot fudge, peanuts, whipped cream, a banana of course, and two cherries.

Amelia was disappointed in her first banana split. She did not enjoy the salted caramel chocolate ice cream and also didn’t love the peanuts. Baxter enjoyed it more (and ate more of the banana), but ate himself sick. I’m trying to eat healthier so I didn’t help as much as I normally would have. 🙂 That said, I think every childhood should include a certain number of banana splits, and I’m sure we’ll find a style that Amelia likes eventually.