Middle of Oregon

img_6392We had originally planned on going down the entire coast of Oregon. Someone had a baby and we decided to cut the bottom of the coast out of the route. Then I got in touch with my brother I hadn’t talked to in twelve years, so we cut some more coast out of the trip. The good thing about being totally free to go where we please is that we can change plans quickly. Though we were sad to miss the coast of Oregon, it was worth it to get to see family.
Our entire adventure we haven’t made reservations and up to this point only one campsite was filled up (it only had 10 sites). Usually we leave it to fate and just try to arrive at a decent time. The camp we had picked out for this stop had a small train and it looked very kid friendly from the pictures on the website. We pulled up to the camp and there was a sign saying they were closed and to not bother them. Bummer. Well life has a way of working out though and the closest camp we could find was a state img_6468park called Silver Falls. This was an amazing campsite and I am so glad we ended up at it. There is a hiking trail called the trail of ten falls with a waterfall you can go behind. With Trip we can only hike four or five miles, so we visited three or four falls and had a blast. The kids did the junior ranger program and even collected litter along the trail. Later the locals recommended we visit Silver Falls, so everything worked out for the best. While staying here a neighbor came over and asked for help because she had accidentally locked herself out of their trailer. I had my tools in hand to work on our trailer, so instead I went over and tried to break in for her. Well an hour later her husband and I drilled the lock out because they make the trailers tough to break into. The couple gave us some excellent wine as thanks, which we enjoyed over the next week.

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Astoria

img_5973Our first stop upon returning to Oregon was in Astoria.  We stayed at Fort Stevens state park which is located in the northern tip of the state.  The campground was pretty full so we did not get the best site, it was basically attached to our neighbors site.  This really didn’t matter though because it was kinda drizzly and raining off and on most of our time in the park.  Luckily we had enough non-rainy weather that we could still get out and explore the area.img_5903

It was a really neat park with many things to see and do.  The beach wasn’t to far, although it was a bit of a walk (about 1 mile each way).  On our first visit to the beach we walked, but decided to drive after that due to the not so ideal weather.  At this beach there are the remains of an old ship wreck.  It is accessible to the public during low tide which the kids thought was pretty cool.  It’s popular so right near the wreck was a little crowded, but further down the beach the people were all spread out.  It is img_5793also a driving beach with four wheel drive access points, so we took the kids for their first drive on a beach.  We had a great time visiting Oregon beaches, the kids even found buried treasure.  We are looking forward to seeing more of the Oregon coast in our future travels.

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Volcanic Tour

IMG_0545      There is a very large section of this country that is covered with evidence of many different volcanic eruptions, including lava tubes, caves, and miles of volcanic rocks.  Luckily many of these areas are also federally protected lands.  It is important to keep these areas protected as they help geologists to reveal so much about the history of the Earth as well as it’s formation and how it has changed over time.  Some of these areas include Northern California, Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Central Idaho, and into South West Montana, and North West Wyoming.  We unintentionally happened upon this trail without really knowing that it even existed.
Our first national park visit was to Crater Lake.  This huge lake was IMG_0501created by a volcanic explosion that left it inactive.  It was amazing to see how big and clear it is, and it is also the deepest lake in the United States.  The island that is clearly visible on the western side of the lake still looks like a small volcano rising up from the depths.  There is only one place around the entire lake that you can hike down to the water because the sides are so steep.  We would have liked to take this hike, but did not want to have to carry a four year old all the way back up to the top, so we had to forgo this particular hike.  Fortunately, there are many other hikes within the park that are more kid friendly that we enjoyed.  The kids really enjoyed the Castle Crest Trail which took us through a meadow and over a stream where we walked along rocks through the water.  This was the first stop on the volcanic tour we still did realize we were embarking on. Continue reading