Monday, July 12, 2010

Our summer vacation to Mt. Hood

Missed my post for June. I might have to add another post later to tell what happened in June but for now I'm going to focus on our trip before I forget everything :)

Not that I could forget our time on Mt Hood. We have lived here since May 2001 and have only been up to Mt Hood once, and that was last year. It's not that far away but usually, if Rob has any time off I want to head to the beach, I love the ocean. So we decided this year we would stay close to home and go spend some time on Mt Hood. In November we reserved an A-frame cabin that looked pretty nice and had been looking forward to it ever since.

We left town on Monday, July 5th and made our way up the mountain and into, way into, the woods where the cabin was located. The farther in we drove the more excited I got cause no one was going to be able to find us! No wi-fi, no cell service, just us and the woods. We finally found the A-frame and piled out of the car to go check it out.

This is the view from the back.
The inside was nice, you could tell the owners were trying to slowly update it. They had started with the kitchen and small family room on the main floor. Nice bamboo flooring and such. The inside consisted of the main floor, two lofts and a basement bedroom. When first reading the description Rob and I figured we'd take the downstairs room since it was away from the kids. After getting there and seeing how creepy it was down there we decided it was perfect for the two older boys :) I know, horrible parents, hahaha. They weren't happy. Elizabeth and Seth got the beds in the highest loft and Rob and I took the middle loft. We got there Monday night with enough time to unload, look around and head back out to the store a few miles away to pick up groceries.

This is the stream just out the back door of the cabin. Not sure what Jonathan's problem is, I think this was taken after he found out about his creepy bedroom. He was a bit grouchy after that.
We got back and had dinner, watched a movie and then settled down to sleep. Sleeping in a different place has always been hard for me but for some reason it was even harder here. It was so DARK and so QUIET I couldn't sleep. Sad, huh? I'm used to some light coming in from outside and we keep a fan going for white noise. I forgot the stupid fan. After about four hours of off-and-on sleep it was finally time to get up and get moving. The boys survived their first night in the creepy bedroom and had decided it wasn't that bad :) After a yummy pancake breakfast we took off.

We like to go geocaching when we go on our vacations and we had decided the best way to check out Mt Hood was to look for some caches and see where they took us. The first led us to Trillium Lake. For one I love the Trillium flower and I just love the word "Trillium" :) So I was excited to find out there was a lake up there with that name. We found the first cache, and after letting the kids fight over who got what out of it, we moved onto the lake. It's beautiful there. Good place to take a family as it had a nice path around the lake and picnic benches in the woods to sit and eat at. All this with a gorgeous view of Mt Hood itself.
Sadly the path around the lake was blocked off at one point as they are fixing it up (will be done by end of July) so we weren't able to go all the way around but we intend to go back. Instead we grabbed our lunch and sat down to eat. Afterwards, we wandered a bit then jumped back in the car to find the next cache.

This one led us to the Old Highway 26. I didn't even know there was one. I love finding out the history of places we go so this one was a fun one for me. The kids thought it was pretty cool too. There is a small spot on the road with one of those Historical Markers one sees off freeways all over the country. This one marks the trail head to the old road and the remnants of the trail the settlers took their wagons on to get here. After a short climb up the trail you come to a real road, yellow line, cement and all, that has become totally overgrown. Trees are fallen all over the place. It was fun to imagine the old antique cars we love to see at car shows driving along this road. It was definitely a more picturesque drive and I'm sure people were forced to enjoy the scenery around them more since I bet those older cars didn't go very fast up those hills :) Anyway, at one point up the road there is another trail that shoots off up the hill and since we hadn't found the cache yet we decided to take it. You can see here in the picture the old highway is to the right and the trail is to the left.
After hiking a ways up you come to the sign that tells you it was the old trail the wagons came over on. Ug!! I could not imagine that one. It was steep and there is no way it was ever smooth enough for wagon wheels. I had to admire the dedication of those early people to come over to settle this area, and then had to think how grateful I was that I live now with all our modern conveniences. We followed the trail until it ended, at another part of the old highway. We still hadn't found the cache and it seemed we missed it so we headed back down the old road again to see if it was off the road. We eventually found the cache and headed back down to the car.
We let Seth find this one since the older kids always jump in and find it before he ever has a chance. He was pretty proud of himself :)

After a fun day of geocaching and hiking we headed back to the cabin to chill. The kids were excited that the weather had finally warmed up enough to go play in the stream so they got their suites on and Rob took them all down to get wet and cool off. I stayed behind and enjoyed a few moments of quiet and read a book :)
We finished off the day with dinner and one of the games in the cabin. Just before everyone went their separate ways to bed Nathaniel found this huge carpenter ant crawling across the floor. He was good and picked it up and threw it outside. He hates killing things. You'll see later why I would even mention this ant :)

The next day we decided to check out Government Camp. We had no idea that they run a bit of theme park up there for something to do during the summer. We had driven through the day before and the kids begged us to let them hang out there one of the days we were there. I'm glad we choose Wednesday. It was gorgeous out and there was a nice breeze coming down off the mountain so we stayed cool at the same time. Naturally I forgot the sunscreen so we all got burnt but surprisingly not too bad. At this point I'm just going to post pics of our time there, they can tell the story :)
The Alpine Slide.

We went home that day totally exhausted but everyone had a great time!

Later that night we were winding down when we notice some more carpenter ants. It wasn't just one this time that managed to find it's way in, there were several, crawling all over the main living area. EEewwww!! I know they don't do anything but they are just big and gross to see. I'm not a big fan of bugs so blech! Anyway, we figured at this point they would just stay on the main level and we wouldn't have to worry about them. They were obviously coming from somewhere inside the cabin. We told everyone not to worry about it and to head to bed. As I was getting ready I looked over at the slanted underside of the roof over by my side of the bed. There were three of those suckers crawling on the wall!! Yuck!! Rob quickly got rid of them for me and I calmed down and started reading my book. 10 mins later there were two more. That was one spot they were coming from, the pipe to the wood stove downstairs exited the cabin right there. The owners had yet to really fix the wall/roof where they ran the pipe through so it was open to the insulation and the outside. Of course that was one area the little buggers were living! Needless to say I didn't fall asleep for a loooong time after the lights went out cause I could just imagine them crawling out of that hole and up to the ceiling and then falling on me. I never did notice the bed skirt on the bed, they didn't have to go that far. Sure enough a few hours after I managed to fall asleep I woke up freaking out cause one was in my ear!! I'm surprised I didn't scream :) Rob flipped on the light and got rid of it. The light went out and again I just laid there waiting for them to come back. Not long after I fell asleep again one went crawling up my arm. Well, that was it. It was 5 in the morning, I sure as heck wasn't going to get anymore sleep. It was light enough at this point to see the wall and I just sat there staring at it waiting for them to come out, trying not to cry. I was so tired at that point. The not-sleeping-well had finally caught up to me. The gross factor of the bugs didn't help any either. The kids finally started stirring so we got everyone up and ready. I was determined to get another hike in. At this point I was sure we would just come back after the hike and pack up and leave a day early. I wasn't about to spend another night with them crawling on me. The final decision to leave was made when I ran down to get some clothes out of the dryer and there was a dead one in the lint screen. That is totally gross and then we knew they were downstairs and getting into our clothes. Gag!!
After everyone was ready we headed out to hike up to Mirror Lake. Our hiking book made it sound fairly easy, we knew it was steeper than some but it didn't sound too hard. I'm the one who was pushing to do it, I really wanted to see this lake. Well, after 3 nights of little sleep, a really hot day, humid air under all the trees, I was the biggest complainer of all. I asked Rob several times if we just shouldn't turn around. He just kept pushing us up the hill. By the time we reached the lake at the top of the hill I was soaked with sweat and extremely grouchy. I'm usually the one having to tell the kids to hush and deal and I was the one this time making the most noise. The book promised a gorgeous view of the mountain top and a pretty lake. Eh, it was ok, but then I probably wasn't in the right frame of mind to care at that point. I really thought there'd be somewhere nice to sit and rest, but there wasn't. We finally pulled off the trail around the lake and sat under a tree on the roots and ate lunch. I just wanted to sit there and enjoy the cool and quiet. You would know a huge family group decided our spot was a good spot to stop too. They were loud and obnoxious, of course anything at that point would have pissed me off, and I just wanted them to go away! Hardly saw anyone the entire hike up and down but here was this group of 10 or so who just had to sit with us. Grrrrr! We hurried and finished our lunch and left them behind. We finished the loop around the lake and headed back down.
I have to say the kids did great :) Maybe because it was disturbing to them to have Mom be the one cursing under her breath and begging to turn around!
We headed back to the cabin and finished up some laundry and packed up to leave. The ants were even more numerous by the time we left, about 7:30 pm. I'm glad we didn't stay. We had to shake everything out and make sure we didn't take any of them home with us. So far, so good. I haven't seen any around our house. Needless to say we all were so grateful to be back in our own beds and we all slept very well :)

Friday we woke up to sunshine and since Rob still had the day off we decided to head the other direction and go to the beach. That was a smart move. It was gorgeous!! Warm enough for the kids to go play in the ocean (and Rob, he can't resist the water) and I sat in a chair to soak up the rays, read a book and really relaxed. It was lovely!