Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crater Lake - an Unexpected Surprise...

After leaving Ed's home we headed for yet another National Park - Crater Lakes. This was another two days of solid driving. I must admit the time on the road was starting to take its toll on me. At this point we had travelled for more than 4,000 miles in our trusty Subaru. We had already visited seven beautiful national parks. I was starting to dream of Gaylord street in Denver.....

Thankfully,  Garry remained tough and we continued our road trip because Crate Lakes was really beautiful - I was not expecting it to be so amazing.

The water inside the Crater was the most wonderful ultra marine blue - I called it Brett Whiteley Blue.

No place else combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color, sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty.

Under the trees at our campground, we collected pine cones and really enjoyed the beautiful evenings around the fire together. Smores were a big hit with Yas and Max, while Garry and I really enjoyed the incredibly clear night skies.

We were lucky to spot some wildlife both at our camping ground and while exploring in and around the park. We spotted a little Squirrel, a Clarke's Nutcracker and even a Deer.

Besides the actual lake, we completed some hikes including one to Vidae Falls.

We also explored the rock formations known as the Pinnacles. These towering needle-like formations of rock, called fossil fumaroles, projecting from the Sand Creek Canyon floor, were formed under sheets of volcanic pumice that preceded Mazama's collapse.

As the surface of the hot pumice cooled over the years, steam and gases were released by the hot rocks underneath through vents and tubes that were welded into cement hardness by their passage. These ancient vents now stand alone due to the erosion of the surrounding softer materials.

After three nights and two full days exploring this National Park we said farewell and hit the road.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sam's Dad's House ....

On day two at Sam's Dad's we had a really slow start. We all enjoyed a lovely breakfast of freshly laid eggs, collected the previous day by the children.We sat around the fire pit, enjoying, lovely fresh food in such a beautiful place. 

After breakfast we met up with Sam's Dad Ed - who kindly took us on a tour of his beautiful property. Ed is a retired Forester and is extremely knowledgeable about his land and surroundings.

Max especially enjoyed hunting for Frog's

During our tour, Ed introduced us to Huckleberries. These small berries are delicious.

Max didn't enjoy them as much as everyone else.

I do believe Ed lives in an exquisite part of the world.

After a quick trip down to the California Coast we returned to join Ed and Merry for a great evening of dinner, wine and conversation in their beautiful home.

The Koi pond is my favorite part of the house. At the end of the night we said our goodbyes - we had all bonded and again I felt close to Sam and Annie. This is the really strange part of a teaching exchange - we live in their home, sleep in their bed and holiday with their family - yet we have never met. But I feel like we know Sam and Annie so well?

Thank you Ed and Merry for your generosity and company. Our stay with you will be a wonderful memory.

P.S.  Ed - your art print will be in the mail - please not to the Chicken shed!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ball Game...

A huge thank you to our dear friend Susan who organized free tickets for us to attend our first baseball game in Denver. (Thanks also to John and Nancy who arranged the tickets from the Rockies!) We had fantastic seats, a few rows back behind third base.

I can tick another box from the bucket list - a visit to Coors Field in Denver was a must.

The only downside to this experience was the almost unbearable heatwave - 106 degrees at 6pm was difficult to take, (41 degrees in centigrade)!

Maxie tried his best to catch a fly ball - even with his glove on the wrong hand.

Even with the heat, we still had a fantastic time cheering the Rockies home to victory.

We really enjoyed the night as a family and have vowed to go to at least one more game. Go Rockies!

This is for you Aunty Nic...

This is for you my sister - I am sorry about the delay! Here are a few to whet your appetite - more to follow this week - I promise.

Aunty Nic and Lara on the plane

The boys on the plane

My lovely nephew and beautiful niece in Vegas
I hope these are up to standard - love to the kids xxxx

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Ultimate Chicken Coop...

We enjoyed the drive along the Californian coastline on our way to Ed and Merry's house.

We stoped along the road and saw a large group of Sea Lions basking in the sun. The beaches are very different from home, no golden sand just grey sand and rocks. The weather was cool and we didn't see anyone swimming.

We arrived and were greeted warmly by Ed who immediately gave the kids a tour of the most amazing Chicken Coup I have ever seen. It reminded me of a Balinese Temple, and was even equipped with yellow eyes that lit up at night and a balcony.

Yas and Max were completely over excited by the Chickens. Ed was wonderful with the kids and showed them where and how to collect eggs - which they did and then took them to the wash room where Max very carefully washed and dried each egg.

After a chat with Ed and a tour of his lovely home filled with beautiful artworks, we jumped back into the car and followed Ed to another place on his property he refers to as Camp!

Camp consists of two lovely cabins fully equipped with bunks and even a fire. The area where you can prepare food was great, and include the best stocked cupboard I have come across. Even taps with running water were on hand...

The shower was a real treat - it is a lovely experience to shower outside.

Camp was a lovely place to be - Ed had all bases covered and we were certainly enjoying the beautiful property and wonderful facilities. Yas and Max found the swing, and spent hours playing.

We spent a great night together as a family around the fire pit listening to Yas tell ghost stories.