Hiking at Hoyt Arboretum

We had a fun Sunday morning hike at Hoyt Arboretum! We stopped for breakfast at Kormblatt’s Deli on NW 23rd (YUM), and then drove up to Washington Park to the arboretum. It was overcast, but the sun peeked through a few times. We more or less did a one-mile loop, and the kids only declared that they were tired and likely to die a few times. Maybe with increased exposure to hiking — by the end of summer maybe? — we can almost-die at the 2 mile mark. 😉 It was a beautiful hike fearuring lots of interesting trees, including various larches, which are deciduous conifers. Neat, huh?

in the beginning, everyone’s happy
we found a slug
“let’s sit on this stump!!'” – Baxter
goofing with trees
amelia hugs a redwood
then we found a banana slug
that light

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.

Just booked the last camping trip of the season

The Clackamas River flowing through Milo McIver state park
Photo credit: FlickreviewR

At the end of the month we’ll be spending a few days at Milo McIver State Park to close out our sporadic summer of camping.

We had to cancel most of the week we had planned to spend camping along the coast due to Tom’s changing employers over the summer to a company that doesn’t offer PTO for the first three months of employment. Instead, we just made it a long weekend at Fort Stevens with the support of my dad and stepmom. Despite the short stay, we had a super-fun time, especially the kids, and so we want to get out there one more time before the cold and rain set in.

One of the things that tickled the kids the most was the opportunity to ride their bikes (Baxter on a scoot bike) around the camping loop, all on their own. They’d ride for an hour at a time, finally flopping down at the campsite in a happy, sweaty heap. They made friends with kids at other camp sites and one night even threaded glow sticks through their bike tires at sunset. If you knew how much my kids love glow sticks, your eyes would be widening at the pure unadulturated awesomeness of this fact, for them. 🙂 Seriously, it was nearly their favorite thing about that camping trip, which prominently figured THE BEACH.

Anyway, so now we’ll be camping with our bikes every time, thank you very much! And looking forward to enjoying the fall foliage at the Clackamas River later this month. Yay!