Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Camping Trip - Day 4

Another ELEVEN hours of sleep.
And ham and eggs for breakfast :D

And this is what happens when you pull your fleece blanket over your head.

I love Leavenworth :D

We drove through town and up the Icicle Canyon to the end of the paved road,
and went for a little hike - soaking in the fall colors :D

Yep, another bridge.

You might have noticed in the photos from Lake Chelan yesterday
that up high in the mountains sometimes the water
does more than just reflect the blue sky.

Sometimes it really has some color of its own,
usually kind of turquoise.

All this beauty.
I feel like I'm feeding my soul,
storing it up for the long, dark, gray winter that's coming.

Yes.  The water is really that color.

Had some time to hit the playground before lunch :D

Yah, it's too bad she's not having any fun ;D

We thought of heading up to Lake Wenatchee,
in case it was warm enough to swim or wade,
but decided to take the back way up the Chumstick Valley
and drop in at Stonewater Ranch.
I used to work with these folks twenty-some years ago,
back when they were Reachout Expeditions.

Didn't plan it, hadn't told anyone we might be around,
and we hit the jackpot :D

My friend Greg Johnson (now the director)
just happened to be onsite,
and generously gave us most of his afternoon
to hike around the 150+ acres and get caught up.

Naomi got to try out the indoor climbing wall,
with Gunnar spotting.

I think her favorite thing was feeding the horses.

It's a little piece of heaven,
up in the Chiwawa Valley.

See the structure that looks like a tree-house?
In the winter they run a hose with a mister up there
and create their own private ice-climbing wall.

Gunnar remembered me taking the boys up to the ranch to play in their snow
one winter when we hadn't had any of our own.

We hiked up the tubing hill.

If you look back at the first picture of the ranch, you'll see this slope from across the meadow.
In the winter they put up tiki torches along the sides and
use retired river rafts to "tube" down the hill.
Sounds fun to me!

They have a campfire ring at the top,
to warm everybody up.

No need for that when we were there!
I think it was almost 80F.

Looking down at the horse barn.

Oh gosh, it was so good to be there.
Greg and his staff have done amazing things with the property,
all to bring people to Jesus while having a great time.
What could be better?

Well, two-plus hours of hiking around gave us all a good appetite.
And you know where to go in Leavenworth?
Gustav's :D

We could see a few clouds coming in,
but it was still warm enough to eat outside on the roof-top balcony and enjoy the view.

Somebody waited patiently for her macaroni and cheese :D

Took a walk through Leavenworth,
a faux-Bavarian village in an Alp-like setting,
and Naomi found a friend.

It was hard to tear her away, because she thought the bear looked lonely.
He needed some hugs and kisses.

But we enticed her back to camp with the promise of her last Fairy Hunt.
Previously, the fairies had left her jars of Pixie Dust,
but knowing it was her last night of camping they gifted her (and Gunnar!)
with magic wands.

She had to hunt around the campground to find them after dinner, just before bed.
Easier to find them in the twilight,
since they glow in the dark.

This may have been her favorite thing about the whole trip,
except maybe the pool.

The first night she found a jar of pixie dust,
she was so excited she could barely speak.

The second night the whole campground probably heard her yelling.
"This is soooooooo exciting!
The fairies must really like meeeeeeeee!"

And I have to confess,
we shamelessly used the fairies just like parents use Santa's elves.

"Oh, Naomi, talk nicely to Grandpa.
The fairies only leave pixie dust for good little girls."
And so on ;D

But you've never done anything like that, right?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 Camping Trip - Day 3

Did I mention how busy and active we kept Naomi?


Could be why she slept eleven straight hours every night.


Of course, we still had plenty of "down time".
Grandpa was happy to read stories :D

As we were finishing our breakfast we heard the strangest sound,
sort of a whooshing.
Gunnar stuck his head outside and discovered the source right away...

this colorful hot air balloon, right over the campground!

Literally, right over.

I wonder if she's ever seen one before?
Up close like this?

It was all very interesting, but then she saw her stick...
I mean, her bow.

I think someone has watched Brave a few times, yah?

We packed up and headed out to drive from Winthrop to Leavenworth,
with a few stops along the way.

Grandpa remembered a neat little park in Manson, on the shores of Lake Chelan.
You can see evidence of recent wildfires across the lake.
The park had a fabulous sheltered swimming area...
for warmer days.

We loved the sunshine, but the temp was just inching up to about 60F,
so we satisfied ourselves with walking on the docks and looking down
through the oh-so-very-clear water at the fish.

And running around, stretching our legs :D

Gunnar took some pics of a great blue heron on one of the docks,

as it flew away when we approached.

Next, we pulled off at Rocky Reach Dam for a picnic lunch.

Naomi quickly chose a blue and green "Seahawks table!"
So much better than all those other colors ;D

While we had our lunch she got to see a train go by.
We had passed it further up the river right next to the highway,
and it caught up with us at the dam.

Naomi happily ate her pbj every day,
as long as we called it a "jelly sandwich",
because she claims not to like peanut butter.
But she does.

Kind of reminds me of her dad,
who wouldn't eat a hot dog,
but loved frankfurters.

All righty, then ;D

Now, we may have blown off homeschool for the week,
but rest assured,
this was a very educational trip.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it ;D

Actually, we did learn a lot of things.
Like, of all the young fish that go downstream,
right through the dam's enormous turbines,
95% survive.
Well, 95% survive the trip through the dam, anyway.
Predators are another story.

In spite of that,
they've built a juvenile fish bypass system
(some sort of collectors and a giant pipe)
to make it up to the other 5%.

Naomi is standing in a model of it.

Probably not many of you are going to be in Washington any time soon,
but if you find yourself near Wenatchee,
I highly recommend stopping at the Rocky Reach Dam Visitors Center.

Lovely and clean picnic area,
beautiful grounds (flower flag and all),
visitors center,
hands-on things to do...

and it's all FREE!

Okay, not the cafe.
You have to pay to buy food ;D

But hey, bring a picnic lunch like we did!
Everything else was FREE.

You can take a self-guided tour right down inside the dam,
which is huge.

There are a few hands-on electricity related exhibits,
like turning this crank to power a light bulb.
Too hard for really little hands,
but she helped Gunnar.

This demonstrates how electricity arcs.

I love this viewpoint over the dam and river, looking downstream toward Wenatchee,
and I really love these handsome guys :D

Part of the inside of the dam is the Museum of the Columbia,
a fascinating historical look at the Nez Perce Indians who inhabited the area
and the settlers along the river -
along with steamboats, railroads, and lumber yards.

Naomi really liked the four-part diorama of Indian life in the four seasons.

And she really wanted to climb right into this display of a dugout canoe,
because stuffed raccoons!

I'm always impressed by some of the fine beading.
Look at the shoes...

Hugs and kisses from someone who appreciate a piggy-back ride :D

We could see part of the fish-ladder from outside...

but the best view was from inside.

We had no problem seeing lots of salmon heading upstream.

Somebody was tuckered out and took a little catnap.

She had plenty of energy when we got to the campground
to enjoy the great play area.

Gunnar needed just a little break ;D

Time for hide-and-seek.
She's counting.

Gunnar was able to "hide" by wedging himself into one of the slides,
but Naomi couldn't do that,
so she took a creative approach to "hiding.

Gunnar knew just how to play along :D

Oh my.
Naomi is at an age where she's not very cooperative with smiling for the camera.
We got a lot of making faces...

... and when she did cooperate,
she looks rather pained.

But Gunnar could often make her laugh :D

And the candid shots are more fun anyway,
even if they're not quite in focus!

I put together a small tub of books, toys, color book, crayons, and stickers
and she happily played and colored while I made dinner
(veggie soup, crackers, carrots, grapes, and cookies)
until it got dark enough for the nightly fairy hunt.

This time she was seeking the elusive BLUE fairy,
which apparently can't be found in Winthrop,
only Leavenworth ;D