Sunday, July 31, 2011

San Juan Islands

A trip to the San Juans. We did more ferry rides during this week than probably most have done in a lifetime. And they had their own set of obstacles... But, we navigated the islands well and saw some more beautiful parts of this great country.

As has become habit, I take photos into my own hands...

Hayes enjoying the views. I think this is where a bald eagle was spotted...

And Weiler took a break inside the huge ferry. Always along for a good time, ready to smile and know that as long as our babe is being held, he's happy as can be.

Look closely and you'll see Clint and Hayes. This was on an amazing little hike where whale watching is a regular occurance. Unfortunately, we missed by about 15 minutes.

More incredible tide pools, however, and some great rock hopping is what the kids enjoy best, anyway.

And I may have failed to mention the dogs enough thus far. They absolutely loved the trip. We all, as a family, like to be as close as possible as often as possible. This holds true for the dogs, as well. Lefty and Poncho have not smiled this much, since, well, North Topsail. And that was before kids...

Sometimes, about once every few weeks, Hayes sits still, and watches. It doesn't happen regularly, but when it does I wonder what is going on in the red headed brain.

Reeder loved the tidepools. Shockingly, she wanted to know what everything was, why it was there, and how it worked. I tried to answer, but fell short. Luckily, on one of our hikes there was a Marine Biologist studying the grasses of tide pools. He was able to help her much more than I.

Let's continue, shall we?

Lummi Island

When it was all said and done, Lummi Island was not quite all it was cracked up to be. Clint and I decided that we're more national park people. And Lummi Island didnt seem all that warm to the idea of tourists. No big deal, you can't bring us down with your unwelcoming sourpuss attitudes! Nope, we're gonna find fun on this island!

And fun was found, for sure! While Y and I waited for the ferry, the other three ran down and played on the shore.

Everywhere we turned there were amazing views throughout Washington.

Reeder wanted some quiet time with her father. This was after Hayes hit her on the head with a big stick. He was off to the far right in time out. Such is life.

And on the fourth of July we went into Bellingham to hang with Einar and Soren. After assuring and reassuring Reeder that we would be home and in the confines of our vrbo well before those horrible fireworks started.

Hayes went off riding like a maniac. Reed hung back with us. Gotta love our family dynamics!

Before we said good bye, a nice game of tag was played with the dads. Sometimes it feels oh so good to think we are an All American Fam.

Next stop. CANADA! The other four had never been so, passports in hand, we headed North. It was incredible. We went to Vancouver and the Capilano suspension bridge. Holly, you are forewarned, skip the next few photos. I even got a bit uncomfortable on some of these heights.

And when isnt it funny to stick your head in a totem pole?

The suspension bridge. That's me down there with Reeder and Hayes.

The view......

To show you how long it was...

Y had a great time:)

And Hayes was, shockingly, one of the few who didnt feel the railings were necessary.

They also had bridges throughout the forests for a little skyhike. Pretty amazing. Oh, and we're working on a ranger badge here, too.

This was the real scary part. The cliffwalk. I can't even imagine being one of the people constructing this. We were literally walking on a cliff, hanging out from the mountain. It was pretty spectacular.

Our kids can just be so darned cute.

And when Hayes finally called Uncle, Clint was there to help him the rest of the way. Me? Ummm, well, I was.... helping Reeder?

Please notice what Hayes is doing to Y's hand... Sorry, Y, we can't always protect you.

The view from above.

Our adorable Y. Yes, we think he's very pretty, too.

We also did what may have been the highlight for Hayes-a wonderful ghetto waterpark with absolutely no rules. Unfortunately, the waterslides and my lil pink camera dont work well together so you'll just have to imagine Hayes walking with me up six flights to do one of the biggest slides, I'm scared, but trying just to go with it. Luckily, we got to the top and he decided he'd rather do some of the smaller options. I was grateful for his reasoning.

Moving on...


Late addition. Sorry but I could not figure out how to move this pic to where it belonged in the flow of this post. So, I ruin the suspense. Guess what? They summitted! Our men rock!!!! OK, let's start at the beginning...

Wow, what an incredible trip we just finished. Marianne, here, to take you on the tour of the Pacific Northwest. I'm gonna give the kids a break and not make them blog. I guess I can handle the six posts necessary to appropriately document our incredible Kappel family vacay.

First stop (after a two day marathon drive from the desert) was Rainier National Park. The reason for the crazy pedal to the medal hurry was Clint meeting Stephen to summit Rainier. But that's another story. While they were in moutaineering "bunny camp" the kids and I discovered Mt. Rainier National Park. And it was amazing. Breathtaking. Unbelievable.

Our first stop was to get a good lay of the land. I took the kids to the Mt. Rainier railroad. What fun!

Even Weiler was having a good time. He's not just along for the ride anymore...

And every so often I even got in front of the lens!

Seriously, if these smiles continue the next three weeks it's going to be one incredible trip.

And the elk! This was on our way home. They were everywhere. We rented a great little house (thanks Erin for introducing me to where the elk were in our yard every evening.

Let the mountain men begin their preparations....

Can you feel the pre-climb nerves? Not to worry, our guys were more than ready!

We went to Paradise. Ahhh, paradise. And there was still a ton of snow on Rainier. This may have been the kids highlight. Notice that as much as I prepared, I could not fathom regular 60 degree days when I was packing for the trip in the 100 degree desert. So, we were often underdressed. Dress in snow? No big deal for our budding mountaineer...

Oh, and the friends. Did you honestly think we wouldn't have friends where ever we go? I think not. So, our old San Clemente friends, who happen to live in Washington, met up with us a few different times.

And we hiked amongst some of the oldest, most amazing trees I've ever seen. I couldn't get over all the different colors of green. One drive Reed, Hayes and I spent a while making up new colors.

Slugs. Banana slugs. Disgusting. I am not a fan of snails or slugs. They were rampant throughout our entire trip. This pic was taken by Reeder, I would never get that close.

Reeder is a bit obsessed with Ranger badges. As if you hadn't noticed. So, we immediately get her packet and she goes through it so meticulously. Reminds me of what may have gone on with E at Richmond. Certainly no ASU in this girls' future, thank goodness.

All four of them got their badges, and were so proud. Hayes scored at the last minute. Kind of like not knowing if your gonna graduate until you walk on the podium and check to see if the diploma is signed...

With the wonderful ranger. Who made them promise to keep national parks clean of litter, as well as their bedrooms.

The boys leaving for their summit attempt. Good luck!

Another awesome hike with Einar, Soren and Karla.

Weiler and I take matters into our own hands when we want to document our part of the trip.

Amazing waterfall was our reward.

Can you smell the green? The lush? Ooh, I'd love to be back. But instead I'll just smell the desert heat.

It is really amazing to see how incredible Reeder is. She can be our introvert, a little shy. But once she decides she likes you, and warms up, watch out. Reeder and Einar were best friends again. And I love it. Sometimes I wonder the effects of being a Marine kid, ya know? Moving around all the time, constantly making new friends. Cuz even if we'll be living somewhere a few years, there is always constant turnover. And it does take Reed time to feel people out, and start new friendships. Right now, I'm not worried.

And then there's Hayes. Not quite so shy.

I don't know if he was possessed, or impressed, or dreaming of climbing these amazing trees. But, Hayes needed a break, so we sat down and relaxed. Or, rather, Hayes decided to really soak in his surrounding.

And on our way home I passed this amazing field and couldnt resist. The flowers, all the colors in Washington astound me. And I wished I had SLP in my pocket so many times, cuz, well, I'm not a professional photographer with my $100 point and shoot and without that eye. But I breathe deeply, feel Shan's chi, and do my best.

Hilarious. We stopped for coffee most mornings. There are these little pull throughs everywhere. And did you know that in Washington, frappucinos are made with ice cream???!!!! Mocha frap, yes please. What a wonderful excuse to have a chocolate shake, I mean coffee, in the morning! Glorious.

Even the dogs there need their fix. He was probably ordering a frap, too.

This is one of the trip highlights for me. The kids and I went on the hike of the shadows. It was only about a mile but everything was just, well, right. They were so curious. We talked about trees, and animals, and glacier fed rivers, and glaciers, and nurse logs, and on and on and on. And they got along so well. I loved it. And this photo captures that hike for me. Best.

This is where the summit pic is supposed to be. So, just imagine getting to the top of Mt. Rainier. Stephen even leading a team arrest as one climber slid towards a crevasse. Well, when you get home, tequila shooters! And that's Rainier beer, too.

The following day we left Rainier, tear, and headed north towards the San Juan Islands. Of course, we had some pit stops along the way.

Snoqualmie Falls.

My studs.

And then we were almost to the second weeks' vrbo. But to get there, we had to take a ferry! What fun!!!

Weiler will help drive us to Lummi! See you there!