Monday, August 25, 2008

The Beauty

One of the best things about Oregon is the scenery. We woke up before the sun one day to look for shells on the beach. We didn't find many shells, but did get several good pics.

This little waterfall had to make a new path to the ocean every low tide.

Before and after sunrise.

Hopefully it won't take another 9 years for us to get back here.

So, I mentioned this to a few people, but I really am serious. The Welch family needs to plan a big trip somewhere before Landon leaves on his mission. Any ideas on where we should go? Carrie, what types of places will your new husband (with hairy legs) like to go to? Amy suggested Coral Pink; I'm gonna go ahead and nip that one right now. However, a house boat on Lake Powell might be fun (of course it would need really high railings and really high door knobs so us parents with small kids could sleep at night). We could get a beach house on the coast. Or if we saved up all our pennies we could go to Nauvoo. What does everyone think?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Attractions

While in Oregon, we did a bit of sightseeing as well. Here are the kids holding a starfish at the Seaside Aquarium. Trevor held it too, but somehow we didn't get a picture of him at the aquarium.

Another day we went up to Astoria and rode the trolley along the banks of the Columbia river and crossed the Astoria bridge into Washington. We decided to have lunch there in Astoria. Believe it or not, spending a week on the coast, that lunch was the only seafood we had. (It was clam chowder. Does that count as seafood?)

On our way back from Astoria, we stopped at Fort Clatsup. That is where Lewis and Clark built a fort at the end of their journey to the Pacific Ocean. It was a very fun place to visit. Usually these types of historical monuments have a tour through the buildings and you can look in the rooms while standing behind a rope. This one was very hands on. They let the kids try on the clothes and sit on the beds.

The next day we went to Cape Meares Lighthouse. We took pictures one the walk down to the lighthouse, but we forgot to take a picture of the lighthouse itself... Here is what it looks like.

Also near the lighthouse is a huge pine tree called the Octopus Tree. Trevor and I walked to it. The lighting doesn't really do the picture justice, but it is a massive tree. Instead of having 1 trunk it has multiple branches. The information placard says that to survive against the harsh ocean winds, several of its lower branches grew straight out, then turned up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Beach

I think that our Oregon trip will comprise several posts. So we will start with the beach. We had a lot of fun at the ocean and had great weather all week long (surprising for Oregon). The water was the perfect temperature for little kids. Warm enough that they can play on the beach, but cold enough that they don't want to stay in the water very long or venture out too far. Kayson would have nothing to do with the ocean. He would bring me his bucket and ask me to fill it up for him. I tried to get him to walk out with me a few times, but he wouldn't. I can't say I blame him, but I hope he's not traumatized for life. Audrey enjoyed standing in the water, but would get startled everytime a wave came in if she was sitting. She also consumed more than her recommended daily allowance of sand each day. She would eat the stuff by the fist fulls.

Our beach house was just to the left of this picture. We were very close to a great beach and the house was very nice too. 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 kitchens and 3 family rooms.
Uncle Michael brought a hamster wheel to cruise the beach with.

We made a lot of sand castles and a few kid-castles as well.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cedar Valley

I know I've said this over and over, but I really love where we live. Midge (our dog) and I and sometimes one of the boys will go out exploring the hills behind our house. The only thing I miss living right up against the west mountains are the sunsets. Luckily, we have a big wide open valley to the east, so if the cloud conditions look like the making of a good sunset, we will go exploring the valley so we can watch the sunset. Unfortunately, default camera settings don't capture good sunsets. One night we had a beautiful sunset and found an old foundation and trees near by. Of course, I forgot the camera so I didn't get any pictures. I went back the next evening and caught another nice sunset, not as vibrant as the night before, but nice none-the-less. My photographer sister got some awesome smokey sunsets So I'd try my luck fiddling with the camera settings.

This first picture is the default camera settings. Doesn't really do justice to anything.

Then I started playing with the f-stop and shutter speeds. These two pictures are the ones I like the best. Of course, I didn't have a tripod, so for the longer exposures, the picture is a little blurry if you zoom in close.

This evening was very overcast and had rained hard earlier, so we went to high ground again. This is looking east over Cedar Valley. Our house is just over the saddle in the middle of the picture.

Of course, our valley isn't all sunsets and views. Midge and I have stumbled across two tarantulas:

I've heard lots of tales of rattle snakes in the area as well. Luckily I haven't run across one of those yet. I hope that if I do, I will notice it from so far away that I have to use the zoom on my camera to get a decent picture of it. A long time ago, there was a lot of mining activity in these hills as well, so every once in a while we run across a CERCLA site warning of dangerous levels of arsenic, lead and mercury:
Maybe it's the chemist in me, but all these signs do is make me curious. No, I haven't given into temptation, and I doubt I ever will, but I'd like to see the tailings piles and understand what is being done to restore the area. (Does anyone know some one who works on one of these sites?)