Exploring Again

It’s summer, and we are doing some exploring again around Ellensburg.

A week or so ago we went to the Teanaway River.  It’s only about a 35-40 minute drive from our house.  It’s a beautiful 35-40 minute drive too.   We went to the Teanaway Community Forest.  There are several campgrounds there and more river exploring to be done in the future.  As we started to look around, we crossed a bridge and down below there was a really pretty rocky beach.  There was parking right there too, so we decided to stop, have our picnic, and play.

The river is beautiful.  There’s this smooth rock and where it meets the river, it makes for a really interesting green looking water.teanaway-green


We had a great view of the mountains too.  I like that mountain.  It’s so craggy.



teanaway-mountainWe had our lunch and then Davey found some new friends to play with.  There were a couple of other families there for awhile, and the kids immediately began playing hide and seek.

I love Davey hiding in the flowers.



David decided that he was going to try out the fishing.



While David was fishing (and not catching anything, but having fun anyway), Davey and I explored and played in the water (the kids left not too long after we got there).  Davey happened on a big limb.  He named him “Stickie”.  We had to take care of Stickie (proof that Davey can imagine with absolutely anything).

We released him to the river, but then we had to go “rescue” him about 50 yards down the river.

teanaway-stickieDavey wanted to bring Stickie home, but I told him that he’d probably still be on that beach waiting for us when we returned.  He was a little unwieldy to carry around much.  (the stick not Davey although Davey is getting unwieldy too these days).

Davey spent a week where he was pretty much a puppy human.  He’s coming out of it now for the most part, but he was full on puppy for awhile when we were at the river.



I am looking forward to returning to the Teanaway.  It was a great spot for Davey to play. Great rocks for throwing, sticks to gather and pretend with, oh and we did see a snake.  I was very proud of my calm reaction.  The snake freaked out Davey a little, but I tried to explain how the snake just wanted to get away from us (inside, I wanted to run screaming the opposite way myself!).

I think I convinced him to return to the river with us (Davey not the snake!).


Umtanum Falls…almost: Icey Rode A Hed!

We decided to try a new hike today.  There is a waterfall called Umtanum Falls about 10 miles out of town.  Such a pretty drive into the Yakima canyon.  There was also quite abit more snow out there then in town so Davey of course loved this.

The hike to the falls is about a mile walk.  It’s pretty flat and wasn’t too difficult except for being a little slick in areas.  There seemed to be a thick layer of ice covering the trail.  Fortunately enough snow had fallen to give us some traction.



We encountered a few obstacles along the way.  Davey liked to name each obstacle.  This was the Animal Bridge.  Davey wanted to go under it, and apparently Buster wanted to go over it.  I went up and around it as I was not too interested in crawling through.



We challenged David to go under.  He assumed some kind of push-up position and scrambled through.



He came through in what I think is called upward facing dog.



We went through a very pretty arbor (while it was so snowy and pretty,  I can’t wait to see the arbor and the rest of the trail in the late spring and again in the fall).



I think it was as we walked through the “arbor” that I noticed just these little clusters of green moss in the trees.  I was kind of fascinated by these little bits of color, plus they were also in one of my favorite shades of green.



We also passed by “The Field of Brown Sticks”.



Unfortunately, about a quarter of a mile from the falls (we think), we had to turn around.  The trail went into the woods and it just got too slick and icy.  So close!  But no fun to slip and slide either.  Here we were at our turnaround point.



On the way back, Davey found what he called his “writing utensil”.  He kept writing warning messages in the snow along the trail.  “Icey Rode A Hed”!  (I think that’s pretty close to his spelling.  It was hard to tell for sure in the snow.)  I am so amazed by his emerging literacy.  All of a sudden, he can read.  He’s writing words completely out of his head!  I love watching this happen.




So the plan is to return and try this again after the ice melts and the mud dries.




There Once Was a Boy Who Loved the Beach

There once was a boy who loved the beach.



I think he might have inherited this love for the ocean from his Oma.




He embraced the sand.  Literally.



He made sand angels.



They turned out great.



He wrote his name in the sand.



And sprinkled the result with more sand.



He paused for a moment here (it could be my dad standing here – Davey has his stance).



There once was a boy who loved the beach!



A Little Hike with the Davids

We took Davey up Manastash Ridge a little ways today.  We were looking for some snow (he is so ready for snow).  


There’s not much up there, and he didn’t want to hike quite high enough to see a little more, but he did get to crunch through just a little bit on the trail.  This made him pretty happy.  



We are having a heat wave here today.  It’s in the 40s, and after 20 degree days for a couple of weeks, 40 feels really good.  It was really nice to be outside. The view was quite nice too.



Davey’s favorite part of the walk though centered around this:



There was an icy trench along the very beginning of our walk.

Davey worked hard throwing rocks to try to break the ice, but the water in the trench was frozen solid.



David tried several times to break the ice with bigger rocks.  He was being very silly in his attempts, and Davey was about to fall over he was laughing so hard. 

I was able to walk to the top yesterday with Buster.  Some nice college girls got a good picture of Buster and me at the top.



Can’t wait to go back!


Checkin’ out the Wind Farm

Last Saturday we drove over to the Wild Horse Wind Farm.  It’s not far outside of Ellensburg.

This is the information center and where our tour began.  I love the “old-fashioned” windmill there amid all the giant modern ones.



They give these great free tours.  We arrived just a few minutes late but were able to jump right in.

It was really interesting.  We had always had lots of questions about these wind turbines. There are 149 of them out here, and they supply energy to about 70,000 homes.



Davey loved it too. They showed us every part of the turbine and explained how it all worked.  We want to go back there in the spring when we have lots of wind here so we can really see them going.  It was a pretty calm day when we went (they only need 9mph winds though to spin!).



Later in the tour, we went inside a wind turbine, but first we had to put on our safety gear.  Davey liked this part a lot too.



The wind farm is up on a big hill outside of town.  Hill doesn’t quite describe it, but it is not a mountain either.  We had to climb up out of the valley a little ways.  The result was an incredible view.



I never get tired of catching glimpses of Mt. Rainier.  We could see Mt. Adams to the south as well.  It’s incredible to me.

I’m adding this to the list of places we take visitors!


Columbia River, Friends and Water Fun!

We continued our exploration of our new home yesterday.  Friends invited us to hang out with them at Wanapum State Park.  It’s about a half hour from our house, and it’s on the Columbia River.  I am amazed by the beautiful places we are getting the chance to explore here.


Davey had so much fun playing in the sand and then in the water.


He had several friends to play with, and they had a big time.  It was the first time that Davey had ever had a lifejacket, and he did great with it.  He didn’t want to take it off.


There were water battles.   I think David is having the most fun in this one and the kids are taking cover under a raft!


David tried kayaking for the first time.  He took off down the river, and we didn’t see him for awhile.  Apparently around the bend there were a bunch of small caves where swallows have their nests.  I want to kayak there next time to see that.


When he got back, he took Davey for a kayak ride.



I tried it out too and loved it.  Little Davey was very concerned that I was not wearing a life vest though.  I didn’t go out very far, but I promised that I would wear one next time.

I can’t wait to go back!


First excursion: Leavenworth and the Wenatchee River

Yesterday we decided to check out Leavenworth.  It’s a Bavarian themed town up in the Cascades .



Friends of ours recommended that we have lunch at Andreas Keller.  A great recommendation as this place was so good.   Great German food.  We had bratwurst, German potato salad and weinkraut (a really mild really delicious sauerkraut).  It’s making me hungry for it again just writing that sentence.  Davey’s heritage is at least 1/2 German, and his picky nature can not overcome that background.  He really likes sausage of just about all types.  So he had wieners – fancy hot dogs basically.

After that lunch we needed to do some serious walking around.  There are many great shops to explore.  We didn’t go into many, but one we liked was a Christmas store called Kris Kringl.  It was 2 – maybe 3 floors of Christmas decorations of all types.  Davey and I really enjoyed looking at the decorations.

Apparently there is a neat Nutcracker museum there too.  We didn’t check it out this time.  We should though sometime because Davey loved the ones we looked at in the Christmas store.

While Leavenworth is really fun, and I want to go back at Christmas when they just go all out with lights and decorations, I think our favorite part of the trip was walking down to the Wenatchee River.  The river runs along the town, and we were able to easily walk down to it from the downtown area.  My pictures don’t do any kind of justice to how pretty it is.



Davey could have played all day down here.  Next time we will bring swimsuits and make a day of it.   There was a great little swimming area that Davey played in for awhile.



The water was cold! but we got used to it fairly quickly.  I’m not sure I’d want to immerse myself completely though.



Davey had great fun looking for unusual river rocks.  He’d find a handful and then bring them to me for inspection.  We’d look at them carefully and toss the ones that were not unusual enough.  He thought this was a great game.



David is ready to explore the Wenatchee more to do some fishing.  Davey and I ready to go back to Leavensworth to do some “tubin'”!

Leavensworth was very busy and “touristy”, but it was still a really enjoyable trip.  Our drive from Ellensburg was really pretty too.

First excursion – great success!

A few pictures of a long drive.

We are in Ellensburg getting settled in.  I am not crazy about unpacking boxes.  We will get it all done though.

We had a fun drive.  I love the West, and we saw some beautiful scenery.  I didn’t take very many good pictures, but I got a few that I liked.

One of the highlights of the drive was the Wyoming Information Center.  It is pretty new and was just across the border as we left Colorado.

It was really a nice small museum.

Davey enjoyed looking at and climbing around a sculpture that was outside.  He’s “reading” about it in this picture.



David and Davey checked out the mammoth.



We played in a tipi.



Davey spent a little time in the clink.



There was a short trail outside on which we walked Buster.  There was also a fenced in area where he could run free.

Wyoming has such pretty and varied terrain.  We drove through a vast open area, and Davey and I pretended that we were back in time when the area was an  inland sea.  We had to be careful of the pterodactyls flying over us.

We spent the first night in Rock Springs WY. The second night we were in Mountain Home, Idaho, and I took this picture in the evening.  It’s one of my favorites of the trip.

mountain home



Davey and I stopped at a scenic overlook on our way down into Pendleton, OR.  It was beautiful, but there was a lot of haze from nearby wildfires.



The day we drove into Pendleton, we had  lunch in Baker City Oregon at the Oregon Trail restaurant.  This is a really nice little town.  After lunch, we stopped by the park, and Davey played for awhile.




Davey is happy to be in his new home.  He immediately wanted to plan a “moving in” party.  We walked to the Dollar Tree this morning, and he got decorations.  I had great intentions of making a cake, but I ran out of time and energy and we picked one up at Fred Meyer.  Davey had 4 friends over tonight, and he had so much fun playing with them.  It’s awesome that he already has 4 friends (kids of David’s new art faculty colleagues).   He didn’t want them to leave.

Davey was more about playing with his new friends then eating the cake, but he was a bit of an icing fiend as usual!



Isn’t that begonia beautiful?  A housewarming gift.  They grew it from a cutting of another plant. I hope I can keep it looking as nice as it does now!

So here we are!

A final Colorado day trip: RMNP!

Today we decided to go on one last day trip.  There are about a trillion places that we’ve still not been to in Colorado, and one of them is Rocky Mountain National Park.  We’ve been to Estes Park several times, but we had not ventured beyond it into Rocky Mountain National Park.

So today we did.  It’s beautiful.  It’s a huge park!  There are seemingly a lifetime worth of trails to hike.  There were also lots and lots of people there (but not in a bad way.  It was just surprising to see so many people!)

We wanted to find just a short hike for Davey and Buster.  We found a great one, but we quickly learned:  “No dogs allowed.”  Dogs are not allowed on the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s understandable I guess.  There are a lot of people.  Dogs would add a lot of chaos to the mix.  But poor Buster.  We left him with fresh air, and we parked in the shade.

It is a very short walk to the Alluvial Fan.  There is a slight climb, but not more than a little bit of a hill.  It’s just that you feel it more at 8,000 feet.

There were people climbing and crawling all over the rocks along this waterfall.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the limp Davey pose.  Silly kid.



There were lots of great photo opportunities here.



Davey had so much fun climbing on the rocks.



He is pretty fearless and would climb to the top of the biggest boulders.  It looks like he is getting ready to tumble here.  He didn’t fall though; he was just a kid in motion.




Davey’s not much for taking in the view, but even he had to take a second to enjoy the sights.



I love these pictures of him taking it all in for a moment.



David had fun climbing on the rocks too – and striking a pose!



It was beautiful here.  I can’t recommend it enough.




After we were finished in RMNP, we drove back to Estes and had lunch.  Then we took that poor dog of ours, who did not get to go on the trail with us, to the dog park.  Estes Park has a great dog park.  Buster hadn’t been able to run freely since we’d moved out of our house, and he went nuts.  He was so happy, and he sprinted and sprinted.



It’s a dog park with a great view.



We went to Estes Park several times while we lived in Colorado, and we enjoyed it every time.  I was so glad we could go back once more and do just a little exploring in RMNP.

Happy Trails

We went on a little hike today.  Might be the last chance we get to do that here in Colorado.

I discovered a new great website and corresponding app called Every Trail. It lists tons of trails all over the country.  I wanted to find a trail close to our house so I set the search for trails within 10 miles of Erie.

We found a trail in Superior called the Dirty Bismarck Loop.  I thought it was a cool name.  We had to try it!

We didn’t come near to walking the whole thing.  We maybe walked 3 miles.  Davey did great, and it was fairly warm out.  Buster loved it too.  Most of the trail was through the open prairie.  There was a warning sign at the beginning of the trail instructing us to beware of rattlesnakes.  Davey was ready to nix the trail at that point, but we convinced him it was highly unlikely that we would see a snake.  Thank goodness we did not.  I have a bit of a snake phobia, but I’d rather walk on a trail where there was the threat of rattlesnakes than a trail up in the mountains where there was a threat of a mountain lion watching my every move!

We read a picture book the other day about a little pioneer boy traveling across the Great Plains with his family.  Davey really got into this. So today, he pretended the entire time that we were pioneers making our way across the prairie.  Davey, Ma, Pa and Buster.



He can squat like this for a long period of time.  It amazes me.

It was a nice hike.  David got a family pic of us.  (Davey and Buster are gazing fondly at each other here.)




Then Tonight Davey helped me make some no bake cookies.  They are called “No Bake Energy Bites”, and I came across the recipe on facebook. Here’s the recipe.

*~*~*No Bake Energy Bites*~*~*

1 cup (dry) oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll into bite size balls. Refrigerate to set.

They are really tasty.  I added chia seeds to the batch I made tonight.  Davey liked helping me combine ingredients, but he is not too interested in eating the cookies.  David and I highly recommend them though!