During one half of Spring Break, the kids' dad had them so I was on my own for a couple of days. What's my favorite thing to do when I'm childless? Go caching, of course. So I went camping in Wenatchee.
Wenatchee has a lot of really great caches; it was one of the first places I went caching back in 2005. It doens't rain a while lot in Wenatchee, it being on the Eastern side of Washington, known as the dry-side. I live on the wet side, so I always love visiting the desert. Well, I think at least half a year's worth of rain came down during my time there, but thankfully it was mostly at night. My new tent was totally dry inside all night even with stuff crammed up against the walls, though, so I was okay with the rain. During the day it was warm and mostly dry with just a few light sprinkles which made the bike rides and hikes very nice.
There's a couple Earth Caches, one at Lincoln Rock, which is a rock that looks like....yeah, like Lincoln. Do you agree?
On the way back to the campground I had to pull off and get a picture of this adorable whistlepig. I'm kinda fond of whistlepigs.
The last night there, it was such a beautiful night that when I work up at midnight with a full bladder, I actually enjoyed my walk to the restrooms and even took a bit of a scenic route back because it was so nice out. I fell back asleep (after removing both pairs of socks and my hat!) thinking how nice it will be to pack up dry equipment in the morning. An hour later, I was woken up with the sound of hail and rain falling on my tent roof. Oh yeah. It dumped the rest of the night and well into morning. Everything got tossed into the car willy-nilly and breakfast was at Denny's instead of at the campsite. Both passes were having blizzard conditions so there wasn't any caching on the way home.
Still, it was a very fun trip and I'm glad I went.
At home, the weather slowly went from winter to spring with occasional summery days, and the duck in the nearby pond had 11 babies hatch.
Doesn't she look proud?
Last weekend, since I was nearing a milestone in my caching, we decided to make a special day of it and head to Sequim. That, of course, means a ferry ride, which is pretty much all it takes to call a day special in my book.
The views were spectacular!
The view off the side of the boat.
The Olympic Peninsula was so bright and clear, it was a joy to stand outside on the water and watch the scenery. It was a little chilly but with shorts and a sweatshirt, with a hat to cover my ears, I was completely comfortable. Except it was really noisy for some reason. The wind seemed to be howling through pipes or something, making a keening whistling sound that was annoying after a while.
Do days ever look better than this???
This is where we had our lunch.
We cached all over Port Townsend and Sequim and had a great day.
This overlook is at a park. We couldn't find the cache hidden here, but we found some signs that made us laugh.
No motorhomes or trailers down this single track trial, unless you think it might fit, then....go for it!
This one amused us so much I had to walk back to it from a parking spot to take a picture of it. I hope you are just as amused.
I found my 7,000th cache and celebrated it with friends on a bright and beautiful day, and finished the day off with a milkshake, getting home late, tired and happy.
My next adventure is camping in the Tri-Cities area over Memorial Day weekend. I am counting down the days till then!! We might get as many as 250 caches in one day there! The one after that involves the kids, as we take a 4-week, 12 state Epic Road Trip together.
Till then, I'm having fun with my kids. My daughter just had her 12th birthday and while picking up a Sally's Beauty Supply gift card for her friend's birthday, the kids talked me into dyeing my hair green. They were so thrilled. There's a lot of silver/gray in my hair so there wasn't much for the dye to stick onto so it wasn't very dramatic (whew!) but K's reaction was to dance around singing, "My dad has a girlfriend, and my mom has green hair!" One can never understand what might cause a 12 year old girl joy. The green hair only lasted a few days before fading out, though, to her great disappointment. I even did it three times but there just isn't enough pigment in my hair to make it worth it. However, it was fun while it lasted. I have enough dye to do some streaks in the kids hair once school gets out, it will last all summer on them!
Tomorrow we're going swimming, which they love. Hoping to get some of their friends to join us because the pool is always quiet on Friday nights. Having the pool to ourselves is fun, but it's funner to have it full of friends.
OK, it's really just spring, but I really love summer and there just aren't that many summer days around here so any day I wear shorts, regardless of the time of year, it's summer.
And I'm SO ready for summer. This last winter has been the most traumatic of my life. Done with the emotional and verbal abuse, I got a divorce. In that process I lost my dream home, which we'd owned only about 2 years. I was forced to move out at Thanksgiving time, but before that, my home was burglarized and almost everything of value was stolen, from computers to tools to Q-tips and chocolate. They searched every nook and cranny of the house including between the mattresses, inside the teapots, and every dresser drawer. Cops just said I should have had an alarm system.
Having 3 major events like that happen in a matter of months seems to me that the rest of my life should be golden. I have been able to piece together a life with my kids that is comfortable, peaceful, and happy. It's not perfect, but I said "golden" not "perfect". I'm okay. My kids are okay. Our new home is okay. Time to move on.
Easter Sunday was a great day for us. We went to church, then went home and packed a few goodies then headed out for a drive. I suggested we go to the Baker Hot Springs, but it was so nice out the kids said they'd rather just go for a drive. Since I had Baker in mind, we headed out to Heather Meadows. (Don't you love the name? I do!). We had Hank the Cowdog audio books to listen to, gorgeous views to look at, and yummy snacks to taste. 3 out of 5 senses were extremely happy! We had a destination but we stopped for a couple caches along the way, and we stayed and played at a couple cool spots.
Nooksack Falls has both a virtual and a traditional cache, and some magnificent views and rocks to climb on.
Above the falls, and bits and pieces of the falls. It made me happy I'd left my GPS and camera in the car the day we were burglarized, and they didn't get them.
There were lots of snow piles, too.
There is a fence around the cliff, and plenty of signage warning us not to go near the edge. The kiosk had a list of people that did and didn't live to tell about it.
Interestingly, you can stand at one place at the fence and look to the left and see the falls coming toward you. Then you can turn to the right and see....well, what would you expect to see but the river flowing away. But it's coming toward you. Both rivers flow right at you and then go to some kind of underground tunnel. It's kinda weird. They may be the same river. Some day I'll look at a map and figure that out, but today I'm enjoying the mystery of it all. And Quin was enjoying climbing on everything.
Oh, see, I finally got around to taking a picture of the falls, proper.
They say that moss always grows on the north side. That isn't necessarily true. Around here, moss grows wherever (everywhere) it can without being disturbed.
Quin found something else to climb on.
After all the adventure at Nooksack Falls, we ventured along the road till we came to a pull out where we could get to the river. We had to climb over snow to get here.
Guess what, the water is cold!! It didn't stop the kids from being daring and walking on a log out into it. Kendrah dipped her toe in and said that was enough.
The sun was shining through this ice cave, making a pretty blue-green stripe for me to photograph.
The kids are starting to enjoy posing for me and allowing me to take their picture without them making funny faces at me.
And Kendrah allowed me to "suggest" she stand barefoot in the snow so I could get a picture. She was such a good sport!
After playing at the river for a time, we headed up, up and more up to the next cache along the way to Heather Meadows. The roads were clear and dry, but the snow on either side was piled up at least 12 feet. At our cache site (where the cache was still encased in ice so we couldn't get to it) I saw icicles under the snow and tried to catch a drip with the camera. It didn't really work, but a couple of the pictures turned out kinda cool, anyway.
At the cache site, two ravens gave the kids a lift. This may have been a highlight to their day!
I didn't have much hope of being successful at the next cache site, what with all the snow, but it was still worth the drive for these views:
Rather spectacular, isn't it?
Then, since running out of gas was a distinct possibility before reaching home again, we headed that way. Made it, although my favorite station was closed (oh yeah, it was a holiday, wasn't it?) I found another close by and filled up.
I hope to have many more adventures this summer!
We went to Jetty Island once this year.
Quin pretended to be surfing on a log and Kendrah tried to ride one to catch a ride, perhaps, on a cargo ship. Maybe it's a Navy ship. Either way, she didn't make it.
The tide was going out so there was plenty of mud for the kids to play in. And the sun was shining so everyone and their pet dog had to come out to the Island the same day I did. Sheesh. Ok, dogs aren't allowed on here, but still, a lotta people.
The last little bit of summer brought lots of sunshine to our corner of the world, which was really good considering my dryer broke down. I went without for several weeks till I could get it fixed. I learned a lot about dryers and myself. I really CAN take apart a dryer and put it back together! Who knew that youtube videos could be so helpful? That said, I didn't fix the dryer. I did take it apart and put it back together, but that isn't what fixed it. My friend came and saved my day by replacing what we assumed was the bad part. It wasn't and we had to replace something else, but we (yeah...um...he) got the job done and I don't have to deal with this anymore.
I finally, on the third day of school for Kendrah, managed to get the picture of them at the front door for their (cough) first (cough) day of school portrait. One of those "my, how they've grown" moments for me and something they can look back on later and say, "Gosh, I looked like a dork back then" moments for them. Gotta have them. And, for the record, I think they are adorable!!!
Quin's first day of shool didn't start till after a couple field trips. His first one was to Padilla Bay in Anacortes.
He and many others from his school went out to the mudflats and looked for creatures. And, by mudflats, I mean.....
MUD! And lots of it! And rocks.
There isn't a big rock Quin doens't want to climb on, or get his picture with.
But then it was time to get to work, grab a shovel and dig up worms!
And other ewwey gooey things.
The bird waited for us to finish our clean-up, our picnic, and get out of its way so it could have some snackage in peace.
Quin's next field trip, we cancelled because Kendrah's school had one scheduled for the same day and hers sounded like more fun.
We went to a cabin on Lake Cavanaugh that is owned by her teacher's family. And by cabin, I mean...
You know, like, cabin.
Anyway, they had some bonding time in the lake and some lessons on the lawn, and some BBQ on the deck.
They got to jump on (and off) the water trampoline, swim, and kayak.
Oh, and relax, too. Plenty of that.
My new car has an odd leak on the floor, but the dealership I took it to couldn't figure out where it was coming from without taking the entire front end apart. They also couldn't figure out why it gets itself stuck in park sometimes when I start the car, or why the Service Engine Soon light was on, but it took them 4 hours to figure out they didn't have a clue. However, a few days later the light went off and has stayed off. It still locks itself in Park and still occasionally leaks, but whatever.
My house sold yesterday, probably the fastest Short Sale, ever. I didn't want to sell it (it being my dream home and all) but since Jeff and I separated, financial ruin is what I get. I was hoping to be able to stay here longer so I could save up some money -- Jeff doens't have to pay me much, so he doens't -- but we got an offer the day it was listed and it actually was accepted by the bank and I have 30 days to move out. Sorry, I mean 29 today. I thought it would be rather simple to find a rental but so far all I've done is gotten rejected because I don't earn three times the amount of rent each month, and have uncovered two scams. I know I'm asking for a lot for a little money but I want my kids and I to have a decent house to live in. Hard enough to leave a dream house this size without leaving it for a crazy-small apartment with no yard.
So, that's my lot in life, it's not a lot, but it's a life, as they say in A Bug's Life movie.
...in July we went with some frineds to the Big Four Ice Caves. It's a short hike, about a mile in. We got there first and wandered around the parking area while waiting. We were waiting at the wrong parking area, but, hey, this is my story and I can leave that bit out if I want to.
As I was saying, we were waiting and I took a picture of a strange forest I saw above the picnic tables in the shelter.
So I took a picture of it.
Then I had to take a picture of my kids goofing off at the signage
and a closer-up of the mountain and fog.
Once we met up at the correct location (no cell service out there) we began our hike across a beautiful blue-green river.
Before long, Kendrah has to rescue Quin from the jaws of a dangerous tree-alligator.
And another tree manages to swallow four children (and a geocache). Big Four is a scary place!
But it has much beauty as well.
But, it's mostly dangerous.
The kids saw no cause for alarm, just snow, and lots of it! Woo!
The caves were pretty small down below but there were some areas where the camera managed to pick up shades of blue in the ice.
The kids spent most of their time standing at the mouth of a cave, bashing in the sides. The sun was shining but they worked till I wondered if frostbite was in our very near future. Their hands were red and felt colder than the ice they were hammering away at.
Time for a break from mass destruction, there was another ice cave up the hill from us. Can you see it?
Up close, that one was a bit intimidating!
Ice caves are very dangerous, all joking aside. One should never ever go inside one or climb on top of one. This one was huge and uphill so we didn't get too close because it was just as likely to collapse as it was to stay intact.
Naturally not everyone is sane or cautious. This is what I call an Idiot On Ice.
This guy walked halfway up the ice field and just sat there for about 15 minutes. You can't know where the ice is soft and rotten underneath the crust, and as far up he was, if he'd hit a soft spot and fallen through, he wouldn't have survived. He did survive on this day, as far as I know.
On to prettier things, we saw flora and fauna.
And a siren wanna-be.
And blue-green water under a bridge.
And really great views.
And other things. Like foxgloves -- another dangerous thing! Foxgloves are deadly poisonous. Although why anyone would be tempted to eat them, I have no idea. But sometimes I lack imagination.
Pretty sure you wouldn't die from eating these daisies, but again, why would you want to eat them?
I found the whorls on this log to be fascinating. I'd have liked to seen someone sand this smooth so I could see the grain clearly, maybe oil it and, oh, why not, shape it into a bowl or something, just for me.
And now this last picture you're just going to dismiss as, well, not one of my best. You may even not spare it more than a milisecond's puzzled glance, but I really like it, and I'll tell you why so you can appreciate my weird sense of cool. First of all, I am sitting on a cement wall, looking down into the crystal clear water, except for the swirls of the silt where I'd dropped a pretty rock the kids had found for me. It was an accident, don't look at me like that. Anyway, I was admiring the clouds in the water when I noticed that the water in the shadow was also reflecting the clouds in the sky. Ok, so you were right, it's a horrible picture, but I like it.
And, it's the last picture I'm going to share from this trip so you won't have to look at any more.
However, there are more trips, and more pictures, and maybe those won't need so much explanation.
Having fallen way behind on my photo sorting I decided to take this opportunity to blog about some pictures I took earlier this year. So, back up with me all the way to May, back when K's hair was long. They were making faces at each other and I had to capture it:
Then they made faces at me, which I also captured.
A few weeks later, a bunny in my yard was also making faces. Ok, mostly it was eating but it looked funny to me. I crawled in the grass to get as close as possible and tried to be still. It kept a wary eye or two on me but didn't slow down in it's munchings.
A few days after that photo op, the kids and I went hiking with some friends of ours. It was a drizzly day but we made the most of our hike and I got some cool pictures of a old boardwalk.
And raindrops on leaves.
Some of a rushing stream through a mass of fresh vegatation.
And of some calm ferns over flowing water.
Towering trees and slimy snails.
These are a few of my favorite things. Ok, not the snails, but Peter liked it enough to play with it.
We were testing out a area for a hike to go on with the ladies of the church, and this place failed. The trails were blocked off by trees that had fallen a year ago that they hadn't cleared, the trails that were clear were through a beautiful area but everything was unkempt and the loop no longer looped and we had to do quite a bit of backtracking.
Our summer involved tree climbing.
And being buried at the beach a lot. One of our favorite parks is Twin Rivers Park, where the north and south forks of the Stillaguamish River meet. There is plenty of sand to play in there, and of course, water to swim in. The best swimming river, the tail end of the north fork, is pretty rocky so we sometimes have to choose if we want to play in water or sand because the sand is where the forks meet, but isn't good for swimming due to the currents and little whirlpools and deep water.
Next time I'll show you some of the pics I took when we went to the Big Four Ice Caves last July.