Monday, July 27, 2009

Cascade Springs

Thursday night I went to visit my friend Jennifer down the street. We got to talking and then all the sudden we were talking about hiking trails in Utah. She asked if we had been to Cascade Falls and I had never heard of it. She then invited me and Liam to take trip up there on Saturday morning.

Saturday came quickly. We picked Jennifer up at 9:30 and we were on our way. It was a gorgeous drive as we dodged cyclists on the canyon road. We heard one guy say "honk" when he barely missed our car on a curve. We pondered that and thought we should look into the "honk" concept further... is honking up a canyon the etiquette one uses when bikers are amiss?

Anyway, the hike, or so I thought, was more of a nature walk. There are springs of clear cool water on a plateau of the mountain and they trickle down into falls and then more pools. It was so beautiful and relaxing there. Liam insisted on being the leader and took us all around the loops and bridges.

I took a lot of photos. I couldn't help it. It was such a beautiful place.

Jennifer took some great pictures. One of which was of this amazing thistle.

After our walk through the cool boardwalk and trails, we decided it was time to play in the water and throw some rocks. It was a great time watching Liam enjoy his two favorite things.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yellowstone Trip

July 10th we left around 11am for our road trip to Island Park, Idaho. We caravaned with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Tyler. Uncle Drew had already made the trip the day before us and was already there taking Wyatt on hiking trails and playing in the water.

Our plans were to stay at Mack's Inn then go 30 more miles to Yellowstone Saturday morning. It was quite a drive, but we got there around 5:30pm, got out of the car and Liam went straight for this.

Our assigned "cabin" was right on the beautiful Snake River. Liam trotted down to the dock to check it out! We unloaded the car as some of us would take turns watching Liam on the dock. We pried him away for a few minutes and took a little walk to the main lodge and bought him a fish net. He tried his best to nab a minnow or baby trout, but no luck. Those suckers are fast!

We were all ready to go get some grub at a diner across the river, so we pulled Liam away from the water once more. We had a really yummy home cooked meal and then drove over to the John Sack Cabin. The tour was closed, but we walked around the beautiful property and took quite a few photos. It was gorgeous out there.

I am cracking up at Mom in this photo. Glad she is part of this cute family shot! I had snuck my head in a few of her scenic photography moments earlier in the evening.

After fighting off thick swarms of mosquitoes, we then headed back to our cabins for some good sleep. Liam couldn't get enough of jumping on all 3 queen mattresses in our suite. Going to sleep was the last thing on his mind when we put him to bed and turned the lights out.

July 11th we were all slow to get around. Okay, I was. We went back to that yummy diner for breakfast. After we stuffed ourselves full, we loaded up and hit the road to Yellowstone. We made one more stop at a fresh spring to fill up our water bottles. That freezing cold water tasted like a freshly snowed canyon. Pure refreshment!

We drove for quite awhile into Yellowstone. We saw some elk taking it easy as hoards of people got out of their cars to take photos. We also saw some buffalo. A male, female and baby. That time we did stop the cars so Tyler could go snap a few photos.

We stopped off in a site seeing area to see a bunch of geysers and paint pots. There was a board walk that looped through all the pooled hot water springs. We kept Liam close as we watched the hot water bubble and fly out of the ground. It was really amazing to see that much power coming from the earth. The sulfur had quite an odor but the unique sights of nature totally made it worth walking through the steamy stink.

We loaded back into the air conditioned cars and continued driving deeper into Yellowstone. We got a great parking spot to walk over and wait for Old Faithful. We waited for about 40 minutes. Liam was surprisingly patient. Here he is waiting so amazingly well.

And here is Old Faithful giving us a grand show!

We went to the souvenir shop for a bit then loaded back up to see a bit more through the windows of our air conditioned cars. It was a REALLY hot day. We were all very wiped out. So Liam and I slept on the way back to Island Park. Ian and family took some naps once we got back while Liam and I played outside.

Uncle Drew had made reservations for us to go to a ranch that put on a rodeo and then a dutch oven dinner complete with a singing cowboy. It was a great night. We all thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous evening as it cooled down dramatically. The plains of crops bordered with stunning mountains all around was breathtaking. Liam was so impressed with all the horses and especially a baby calf mooing behind the stands. Liam got to go out with all the other kids in the ring to take a turn and feed that baby cow later. He was so proud of himself.

After the rodeo we all went to a clearing with picnic tables and feasted on some steak, chicken, beans, potatoes and peach cobbler. Liam danced to the singing cowboy's songs and we laughed at all his moves. He never runs out of energy. He was running all over the place having a great time playing in a nearby stream and trying to make friends with other kids. Later he tried to line dance with the cowgirls and cowboys. He was so cute.

Click to enlarge picture.

We slept well that night and headed home the following day. Liam didn't want to leave that "cabin"... he was really sad. We'll have to find another spot like that with water running through for camping next time we go.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Eye Exam

Liam did amazingly well at the eye doctor. Passed with flying colors too!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best Traveler Award

I still need to write up a report on our trip to Yellowstone over the weekend. Uncle Tyler took some great photos that I want to wait for first.

Here is our little traveler being a great sport. We've decided that Mommy is the worst traveler out of the three of us - just call me grumpy.

P.S. Liam cracked me up this evening. He had run over to our South next door neighbor's house to play in their backyard for a bit. My neighbor and her cute daughter walked Liam back home 2o minutes later so they could leave to do some errands. She had apparently asked if she could walk him home. He said, "No, it's not that far North from here." We both thought that was pretty spot on for a 3 year old!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The 4th of July

There is nothing like a warm summer night with a watermelon stained face and helping Dad light fireworks!

We had Ian's parents and brothers over for a divine bbq with ribs and chicken, Ian's awesome potato salad, baked beans and grilled squash straight from the garden! It was a really nice evening with our family.

Playing with Uncle Tyler:

Playing the hand-slap game with Grandma:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Hiker in Action

Here is some footage I captured of Liam on our adventure last Friday. I still can't get over how fun that day was!

Don't mind me telling my child to run on a steep trail... that was one attempt to get him moving when he was focused on a flower, rock, stick, etc.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Rock Haven (a.k.a. Stewart Falls)

Liam and I had the best time yesterday! After seeing the hot air balloons at 7am then going out to breakfast with Daddy, we came home and packed our water and snacks for our hike to Stewart Falls.

We started at Sundance and rode the ski lift to the trail head. Liam LOVED the ride up after the first 30 seconds. He realized he was safe and we chatted all the way up with anticipation to be safe hikers and find a waterfall!

I had no idea at the start of this adventure that we'd be hiking a pretty far distance and how much we'd really enjoy every moment of it! A friend of mine informed me of this trail back in March and I was determined this summer to take Liam on this one (and as many other waterfall hikes that I could find here in Utah).

As we carefully walked along the up-and-down trails, Liam insisted on being the leader. He would see a rock or tree root and warn me to be careful. He was such a darling little hiker!

What is cool about this hike is that there is a treasure waiting. We could hear the waterfall faintly at first and then more intensely as we got closer and closer to this rock haven. Once we arrived, this was Liam's reaction:

We ended up staying at the falls for an hour because Liam did not want to stop throwing rocks. The water was so cold, but he stayed in there for long periods having the time of his life. He would say, "Mom, you wanna come play with me?" And I would go in the water for about 30 seconds then hop out to warm my toes. We splashed and threw rocks with much enthusiasm. The spray of the waterfall was pretty cool too!

I hope Liam never forgets the fun we had yesterday. I know I won't. We laughed so much!

At one point, on our trek to the falls, I was carrying Liam in a steep area. I slipped and fell with some loose rocks and since he was on my hip, he shifted and fell on top of me. I hurt. Liam asked if I was okay and then tried to get off me as I continued to lay there. As he did that, he slipped and fell on his butt too. We glanced at each other and just busted up laughing. It was so painful and so hilarious all at the same time. We couldn't stop laughing for awhile. He was so distracted with all the laughing he had a couple close slip ups after that. He kept his sense of humor the rest of the day as he'd have little trips and minor falls.

I am so grateful for such a tough kid. At any moment our adventure could have turned into a sad time, but good humor always prevailed.

Wonderful naps were had yesterday afternoon.

Today I am waddling with soreness, but it's totally worth it.

Next weekend we are off to explore Yellowstone!

P.S. The hike into the falls was just over a mile and the hike down was about 1.5. I only carried Liam about a total of 10 minutes as he needed breaks. He is so dang tough!