Monday, September 26, 2011

Butenhoff Summer Road Trip... Week 2

After packing up from camping in Glacier, we had a long day's drive to Portland, OR to see Mike's brother Chris & his wife Teresa. We got in about 8pm & were happy to have a fabulous meal waiting for us!!

Our first weekend with them, we headed to Mt Hood area to do a little camping/hiking...
... so we headed to the Timberline Lodge & hiked a few miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. 

 Then we headed to Trillium Lake & walked around there for a while as well as take in a different view of Mt. Hood.

Brandon & Chris hunted for perfect rocks to skip

A "peek" of Mt. Hood!

Eventually it was time to head back to camp for relaxation & dinner, of course!  Although with Brandon, there is little relaxation & he was able to sucker Teresa into playing catch with him!
Apparently it rarely rains in this area this time of year, so we did like the locals & left the rain fly off our tent.  We have NEVER not put our rainfly on... it was a little weird for us.

The next day we headed to the Sandy Creek area to do a nice hike to Ramona Falls. 

The boys found lots of "old man's beard" growing on the pines!  Brandon thought it was cool!
It was a warm day & it felt good when we finally made it to the falls.  We enjoyed a snack break & aired out our feet a bit!   It was amazing how cool it felt in that area... we actually got chilled!

We found a tree that is one Brandon wide!

We had a nice hike back but were amazed how warm we got, once again, after leaving the falls area!  Our hike was about 7 miles in all & worth every step! 

The brothers in the old growth forest

We spent the week back in Portland just hanging out while everyone worked, including Mike.  He would head to PSU with Chris & work from campus.  So the kids & I found things to do & just enjoyed hanging out.  On one of our days, we spent the day at the Oregon Zoo...
... it was a really great zoo & we had a beautiful day for it!

We always enjoy seeing the elephants since our MN zoo doesn't have elephants.  The kids both liked the baby, who turned 3 this year!

The kids both had a map & helped to guide us around the zoo... I was just along for the ride! 
 And we saw EVERYTHING.... it was a fun day at the zoo!

Another day we road the light rail from Chris & Teresa's house to PSU to meet up with Mike & Chris for lunch & a tour of campus...

We found Mike outside the library eating his noodles from one of the food carts as he had a conference call to scurry back to...
 ... so we had to go check out his remote office setup in one of the study rooms before he had to get back to work!

Chris gave us a tour of campus & showed us around the Physics building, including the lab area where he gave the kids some great Physics lessons.  It is no wonder his students enjoy his classes... he is a good teacher!

Another day, Chris took part of a day off & we headed to the falls area off the Columbia River Valley... our destination was Horsetail Falls.  We did a nice loop hike up & around, taking us to Ponytail Falls, which is above Horsetail and then at the bottom, we walked up a gorge a little ways.

 There is a cool log jam that you have to climb up & over... not nearly as easy as it looks.  The boys went to check out what was beyond the log jam while Melanie & I hung back as it was quite tricky & slippery climbing, making it difficult to maneuver it with her.

Horsetail Falls

 Orgeon is known for their many microbrews... so we did our fair share of sampling various brews throughout the week as well as visiting a few brew pubs! 

On Friday of that week, we headed for the Oregon coast to spend the weekend out there... it was also Chris & Teresa's anniversary weekend, so it was extra fun getting to go back to the area we all were 6 years ago!
Brandon was about 20 months old the last time we were here... but it was a "first" for Melanie to be at the coast & certainly a first for Brandon in the sense that he'll remember it this time! 
The kids immediately did what kids do... ran & went to dip their feet in the water... and it was COLD!   
But they didn't seem to mind the cold... funny how kids are!

Happy Anniversary Chris & Teresa (2011 above)... 6 years ago on this day, we were all on this beach (outside Newport) watching them get married... (6 years ago, below)

We spent the day exploring all along the coast & had to check out the 500yr old spruce near Cape Perpetua. 

The kids loved looking for seashells & sand dollars.   They were on a quest to get a whole one... not an easy thing to find!  Sunday we headed to a beach that is known for having lots of sand dollars... we found a lot, but not whole ones.  Mike & Chris both almost found one in the water as they waded... but one was crushed as a wave crashed in & another was a complete circle but was missing the front part.  Oh well... it was fun looking!

Later we stopped at Cape Kiwanda... Brandon was very eager to climb the big sand dune!  He got Chris & Mike to go with him... & he made it up effortlessly & had to wait for the old guys to catch up! 
As luck would have it, there is a fabulous brew pub right on the beach, so we enjoyed a late lunch & some fabulous beers... and the guys even took a "to-go" beer to enjoy on the beach! 
 Brandon wanted to head up the sand dune again... so this time I went with him!  What a climb... that kid is an animal.  I didn't slow him up too much... but man was I beat & he wasn't even phased.  No sooner did we get back & he decided he wanted to go again.  This time he went on his own... & then Mike decided to try & take a short cut up & surprise him.  Brandon was up & back down before Mike even had a chance to get close to the top!

Chris dug a deep hole... the kids thought that was fun!

The sun was going down & it was time to head back to Portland... we had an AWESOME time with Chris & Teresa!!  Monday morning we had to hit the road again & start our trek home, with a stop in Yellowstone on the way... stay tuned for our 3rd & final week of road trip fun!

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