Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oregon Part 6

Half way through our vacation we were given the gift of a two night stay at the Oregon Coast. Specifically we spent time in Gold Beach at the Gold Beach Inn.

The town we were staying was about 3 hours from Medford where we spent the majority of our vacation.

In an attempt to give honest reviews of the things we did and the places we stayed, I feel like I should start off by saying that Gold Beach Inn could use a bit of an update in decor. I'm fairly certain we had the same console TV in our house in 1988. In fact I'm pretty sure that was a replica of my childhood home. NOW as I saw this let me also say, the part of the inn where we stayed, which was a very nice sized HOUSE, was very clean, very comfortable, and very very reasonably priced. I would absolutely stay there again. Especially with the option to rent a house for a few nights as opposed to having to get 2 or more rooms. With a family of our size having options like that is really a blessing.

The hotel is ocean front, but there is about a 100 - 150 yard hike to get to the beach. It's not a difficult hike, it's just a small path you follow and voila your there!

Gold Beach seemed like a small town where everyone knew everyone. It was friendly, and slow paced, a good place to spend some time getting away.

Why Gold Beach instead of some other coastal town? Well from what I hear they have less foggy days and less rain than most of the other coastal town because of they way the town is situated on the land. That could be completely false, but this is what I was told while we were there.

The second day we were there we went to play on the beach, and noticed something lying in the sand. As we got closer we saw that it was a baby sea lion. There was a gentleman there that said he had already contacted animal control and that they were coming out to put up a sign instructing people not to touch the baby sea lion. I, being the non-coastal being that I am, was completely intrigued by being able to get so close to this beautiful animal, and not have it be in a zoo. So I sat and waited. Once animal control got there she explained that sea lions drop their young off on the beach and go out to fish, and then later on they come back to pick up their babies. UNLESS, however, someone touches the baby and then she will leave it abandoned.

I sat on the beach for 3 hours shoeing everyone away, but it didn't matter. I'm pretty sure that momma seal just picked the wrong spot to leave her baby, far over populated to keep him out of harms way. As of when we left he was still on the beach and I'm fairly certain was going to die. I actually went to the effort to look for a rescue but there is nothing. As sad as it sounds I was extremely upset and lost sleep over this little guy.

Here are some other shots of the coast. This was not directly in Gold Beach but very close and definitely on the way.

As I mentioned we drove down to the coast from Medford. Normally a 3 hour drive we managed to turn it in to closer to 6 hours by stopping at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park in California. One way you take to the coast from Medford requires you to make a quick jog into California.

I'm sure by now I sound like a broken record but this is another MUST SEE! Our kids could have played there for days! What's so special? Nothing, ok well it's special but in a very "one with nature" kind of way. No glitz and glam, if that's your idea of vacation go to Vegas, Jedediah Smith Redwood was just quiet, with warm water to wade or swim in. The sunshine was beautiful. The trees enormous. It was a great place to stop and picnic, run off energy, and break up a trip. Mike and I both would like to go back and camp for a few days.

Oh and did I mention there is a gigantic rock to jump off of into a big pool of water. Yay that was fun!

Look at the size of these trees! They are GINORMOUS (yes that's a word).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oregon Part 5

Yesterday I left you at Crater Lake National Park, remember one of the 1000 places you should see before you die?

Today, let me tell you about some of the cool things to do on your way up there.

Most of you know that we have a daughter named Peyton. Imagine her excitement at getting to cross her very own bridge. If you don't have a daughter or son with the name Peyton then this really means nothing to you at all. I, however, wouldn't miss an opportunity to brag and show more pictures of our Peyton.

Let's talk food, frankly there isn't a whole lot up there. There are a couple restaurants in the park. The one in the lodge that overlooks Crater Lake is FANTASTIC. Expensive, but FANTASTIC! That being said, it's more adult food, and not (imho) very kid friendly.

On the way up however there is Beckie's Restaurant. This quaint little restaurant with seating for 30, at most, is packed every time I've been through the area. After sampling 2 slices of pie and having a fantastic lunch with our family there I understand why.

People come from all over JUST for the pie. Specifically the Huckleberry pie that is only available late August until they run out ... (I know I know but that's the way it works).

When we went for lunch they had a very accommodating kids menu at a reasonable price. I personally had the cheeseburger, and can I say, BEST CHEESEBURGER EVER. It was soooooohooohoooo good.

This place is a must stop, even if you only have the pie. I don't care if they tell you there will be a wait (and there likely will be even at off hours) to be seated, look around the area, and enjoy the wait. You will be rewarded.

A small drive, read 500 feet if that, up the road you'll run into the Upper Rogue Valley Gorge. Here you will find cascading waterfalls, chipmunks galore, a living stump, and a great deal of information about how the entire place was formed.

This stop is something that can be as long as you want to make it. You could spend hours here or a short 30 minutes depending on your schedule. Just be sure you go! I wouldn't recommend it if it wasn't totally worth it.

And.. because I like this picture. Mike took over the toting and had Caide in the carrier.

Enjoy your trip TO Crater Lake as much as you enjoy Crater Lake itself. There is so much to do, you just sometimes have to look!

Oregon Part 4

There are 1000 places you should see before you die, at least according to Patricia Schultz.

Crater Lake is one of them on that list. After having been there twice now, I absolutely agree with her. This is one of the most BREATHTAKING places I have ever been.

Crater Lake did not come about because Mount Mazama blew it's top, which is widely believed, it collapsed in on itself. As this enormous volume of magma (54-63 km3, or 13-15 mi3) was rapidly removed from the chamber (about 5 km, or 3 mi below Earth's surface) to feed the climactic eruption, it created a huge void underneath the mountain. Leaving no support for this massive dome, the roof of the magma chamber collapsed, forming the bowl-shape depression known as a caldera.

Crater Lake is 1,943 feet (592 meters) makes it the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. Its fresh water is some of the clearest found anywhere in the world.

There are numerous trails for hiking and biking. Trails vary greatly in difficulty and length, but for healthy adults and kids you can definitely find a trail to suit your adventure level.

When we went we hiked Garfield trail, which is about 3.5 miles long and about a 1000ft vertical climb. We took out time and enjoyed the multitude of sites from that elevation. The kids did great, and while we did have to watch our step in a few places it was perfectly doable with our whole family

We even stopped to have a snowball fight, with an average snowfall every year of 522 inches, spots of snow can still be seen all year round. What a treat for our kids to get to play in it in July when snow hasn't been seen around here in months.

If your going to Oregon you MUST go here. For 10 dollars you get a week long pass into the park and endless adventures for your entire family.

You can see all the activities, from a boat ride to Wizard Island to Junior Ranger Programs on the Crater Lake National Park website.

As a note, none of these were photoshopped to improve the color of the water it truly is THAT blue. It's absolutely spectacular!

At the Old Ball Game

This weekend I was invited to attend my God son's baseball tourney. They were playing in the state finals and I wanted to go and take pictures.

It all started with being invited to take pictures of the team leaving town, state bound, complete with firetruck accompaniment.

I wasn't able to make it to the Friday night game which they lost, but I did make it to the second game on Saturday. WHAT A GAME!! Final score was 9-7, won with a walk off home run, by Zack Griffin.

Final result we ended up 4th in the State! Not to shabby for such a small town. It was a great time and I love these pictures, as you can see from the mass amounts of pictures I took.