Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ramona Falls

So we had a lot of fun at Mount Hood. We ate huckleberry milkshakes and huckleberry pie at the Huckleberry Inn, we read books on the bank of Trillium Lake, we went zipping down an alpine sled, and we all relaxed. But the end of camping came much too soon. To finish off our trip, we hesitantly decided to take the boys on a 7.1 mile hike to Ramona Falls. The boys did fine on a steep 2.8 mile hike two days prior, so we figured it was worth a shot, especially if the falls were 'exceptionally beautiful' like our hiking book said.

There was a huge flood three years ago that wiped out part of the Ramona Falls trail, Pacific Coast Trail (the one that runs from Mexico to Canada), and the Timberline trail (40 miler that runs around Mount Hood). The above pic shows a very small portion of the devastation. Even three years later and with a guidebook, it's quite difficult to figure out how to navigate the trail. Given the difficulty of finding the path and getting to the out-of-the-way trailhead, this may be the only time you see pics of Ramona Falls. You're welcome.

One side of the trail loop runs by a pretty stream hugging a cliff. Very nice photo ops. I just wish that I had a tripod. I took the above shot with Carter on my shoulders - holding a camera steady is difficult like that. I did have to carry both boys quite a bit during the hike as seven miles proved to be a tad much. I carried Jordan about 3/4 mile and Carter about 2.5 miles.

But as difficult as it was, we made it! Here's the photographic proof. Carter is sporting his Junior Ranger hat with badges from Zion, Grand Canyon, and Pipe Springs.

We got there late in the afternoon, which was a perfect time to see the falls. The lighting was beautiful. However, it was a horrible time to take photos. The contrast of light and shadow was just too great. So here's the best shot I could get of the 150 ft. by 150 ft. waterfall...

Not good enough for you, eh? Well, I also took a video. So there.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nero Shots

On our first day of camping at Trillium Lake, the evening was perfect. A nice spaghetti dinner, a light smattering of rain, then a perfect temperature with no wind. To top it all off, there was a great sunset over our campsite. TLC (The Lovely Cynthia) had me take a picture which is shown below.

As the sun went down, the sky became more and more red. Jordan decided that he wanted to be in a pic with the sunset. So...

I took one. Since I needed a flash to get Jordan in the image, it darkened the background and made the sky look more red than it really was. I called the pic a 'Nero shot' (and then had to explain the reference to everyone).

Then TLC decided we needed a Nero shot of everyone (except the photographer)...

After a few bad shots when someone invariably had their eyes closed, Carter decided to experiment a little (as shown above). And when Carter started the shenanigans, the whole thing got even sillier...

I still don't understand what bananas and surfing had to do with it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mt. Hood Overload

It's no secret that I've been smitten with Mount Hood from the first day we moved here (or whenever I could first see it through the winter cloud cover). I told Cyn that for vacation this year I wanted to go wherever I could get a good pic of the craggy wonder. Well, after four days of camping at Trillium Lake, I think I came away with around 250 shots of the mountain. I only got snaps of the West and South sides, so the collector in me is already planning a trip to the North and East sides...tee hee. To show you my level of fanaticism,  here's a representative image from every angle I got.

Trillium Lake Nordic Loop

Trillium Lake (morning shot)

Mirror Lake

Extreme close-up! Taken from Timberline Lodge. This shot is from halfway up the 11,000 ft height.

Trillium Lake at sunset. Yes, I was crazy enough to take pics from the same locations during different hours of the day.

Lolo Pass. This is the West side, so it's pretty close to the view of the peak we have from downtown Portland.

Muddy Creek view.

Obsessed? You be the judge. But with a mountain that pretty a mere 60 miles away, can you blame me? 

Which shot do you like best?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Berry Good

Lately we have been picking berries like they're diamonds worth hoarding. We've trekked to a local berry farm three times already, and Cyn is heading back today for more.

We've been going to Rowell Brothers, which is five miles from our apartment, has ridiculously low prices (99 cents a pound anyone?), and an all-you-can-eat free of charge policy.

The main reason we've been going here in Oregon and never did in Wisconsin is in the above picture...boysenberries. These li'l guys are just too hard to find and they're only available for 2-3 weeks every year. If you know much about me, you probably already know of my great love for the boysens. This year's Thanksgiving pie is going to be killer! Not to mention all the Boysenberry Butter Tarts! We've got two gallons of perfectly frozen boysenberries in the freezer.

Some people might call it family fun, I call it child labor.

One more pic of boysenberries...because they're the nectar of the gods.

We made the mistake of picking these Willamette Raspberries (which are amazing) on a brutally hot day. The berries couldn't hold their shape very well in the heat so the only option we had was to make jam.

On Saturday we got almost eight pounds of blueberries. Cynthia enjoyed the outing so much that she told everyone she knew how we got $50+ worth of blueberries for $7.70. It's funny though, everyone has asked "what on earth do you do with that many blueberries?"

Well, on Sunday I used 4.5 cups of berries for Sneaky Chef recipes, we've eaten about 2 cups frozen already, I'll use 4 more cups of blueberries for a Pomegranate-Blueberry Sorbet this week, and I can go through 2 cups per week for snacks at work. At this rate, the berries won't even last through the Fall. By the way, eating blueberries straight out of the freezer makes them taste like ice cream.

Cynthia was so proud of her first attempt at making jam, and I'm also a big fan. I can't believe how flavorful the Willamette Raspberry jam is compared to store-bought raspberry jams.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There and Back Again

Hooray for Cynthia being home again! What does someone do with 37 days of free time? You go to...

Bear Lake. Which, I hear, is the only place on earth to have a family reunion. Seriously, I know 7 people who are having family reunions this summer...every single one is at Bear Lake.

Minnetonka Caves in Idaho. Just because it has a cool name.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival. Cyn went thrice and saw two shows: Much Ado About Nothing, and Pride and Prejudice...sans Colin Firth.

Bryce Canyon, which I've always thought looks like how I imagine Mars looking.

Zion National Park

Sand Hollow Reservoir

Pipe Springs National Monument

The Grand Canyon...I know it doesn't look very canyonish, but I just had to show you the bison.

Ahh, Now that's more like the Grand Canyon.

Jurassic Park. I mean...Utah's Museum of Natural History.

She also spent time visiting both our families, playing games, helping with cleaning, visiting friends, etc. It was a long time to be apart, but it was very valuable for the boys to be able to really get to know their grandparents and cousins. Thanks to everyone for being so accommodating to Cyn and the boys.