Sunday, July 31, 2011


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!


  1. Love all the waterfalls and the suspension bridges. And a summit!!! Holy Moly that's impressive! Love that you guys are enjoying so much together as a family. YAY!

  2. Way to go Clint and Stephen! And so glad your having so much fun together! Just what you needed!
    Grama Max