Lots of adventures in the great outdoors. If you like photos, then this long post is for you as I catch up after a few weeks off.
A day hike with the boys near Detroit reservoir. Unfortunately the nearby wildfire made for lots of smoke and very little view.
The next day we took off for California. We were heading to meet my parents east of Sacramento, but along the way we stopped and camped for two nights near the redwoods in northern CA.
Ah... tent camping with little kids. You can either love it or hate it.
I had been to see the redwoods before when I was in junior high, but it was Brian's first time, and a first for the kids. It was one of the highlights of our trip, and the kids loved it.
Those are some big trees!
Trying to count the rings on an enormous fallen tree.
Greg's special request was to visit one of the drive-through trees.
Our next stop was meeting my parents for a week at Roaring Camp Mining Company. My dad, who has long been into gold hunting, arranged the trip. It was a ton of fun.
Brian explained it like this: "It's like a dude ranch, except with gold mining instead of horses." Or this way: "It's like summer camp for adults."
However you explain it, it was great. You could spend time getting dirty and trying to find gold in the river or hills, and we did that. But there was also fishing and tubing down the river or swimming in the swimming hole or hiking.
Running my dad's sluice box in the river.
In the absence of television and a plethora of toys, bottles of soap can become a happy family.
All the kids pitched in with the dirty work.
Jumping off this rock into the river was a favorite activity.
Big trout in the river!
The swimming hole!
The river right outside our cabin.
Climbing on rocks and playing with grandpa's oars was popular with the boys.
My dad panning out the "fines" from our sluice box. (It takes a real man to use a pink gold pan...)
And of course you are asking yourself, "did they strike it rich?"
Well, we did find gold... with some good sized nuggets. This is some of it. We did not get rich, but there were other campers who found a lot more gold than we did. I can definitely see how this hobby can become addicting!
On our last night we were treated to a great steak dinner outdoors by the river with live music. Greg had a loose tooth that he had been desperately wiggling all day. He was determined to loose it before we left. And during dinner it finally came out! He was eager to find out if the gold camp tooth fairy left gold instead of money. (His grandpa made the situation known to the owners, and they put in a good word with the tooth fairy...)
And Greg woke up on the morning we left with this under his pillow - a nugget much larger than the actual tooth he lost! A priceless memory.
Now we are back in Oregon and doing things like registering Greg for school and shopping the end-of-summer clearance racks for clothes to bring back to Papua New Guinea, but that doesn't mean the fun experiences have stopped.
Brian's mom has always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, and so my father-in-law arranged a ride for her birthday this week. Brian and Greg got to ride along! (I was perhaps a bit jealous...)
Thanks for sticking through this post until the end. Umm... I might be traveling again next Friday, so not sure if I'll make a post. But the summer is almost over, I swear, and pretty soon we're going to settle down and stop having fun. Maybe.
Until next time...