My Journal

We played in the water and God made the water. We got in the car and drove to look at the trees. The trees were big and God made them. The trees were called Sequoias. I saw trees that were burnt and I think a thunderstorm or forest fire did that. We slided down a tree. I found a friend and he had the same shirt as me. We both took pictures. He said “see ya later baconater!” He was from Kentucky. 

We went to the gift shop and now we are at the campsite. My and I went to see the sunset. God made the sunset. Noah, Korey and I played on the rocks. We ate dinner and started a fire. The moon and stars are out. I know God made the moon and stars and sun. God is really nice. Thank you, Lord.

My Journal

We went to Seattle. We went hiking and played at the beach. We watched tv with Austin, Aren and the baby (Curren). The baby picked on me and stole my car and the baby stealed my food. We saw a troll and if you touch its eye it glows up. Their home is in Washington.
I liked Crater Lake. I liked throwing snowballs at Mom. We saw a boat in the lake. I thought they were gonna get killed because there is a volcano under it.

We got to Francisco and then we walked on the bridge. We got to go to Anya’s house and play with her toys. They weren’t there and I thought we were moving in. We saw the Pacific Ocean too. We saw a whale. I saw the water spout out of its hole. 

Then we went to the campsite. I saw a deer, and a waterfall. Then we came back and Mom cooked dinner. Then we ate and had a fire. Right now the stars and the moon are out. Thank you, Lord for the beautiful day.

Tricky Yosemite 

Yosemite was deceptive. As we drove in you could see a forest plagued by fire and disease. I won’t lie, I was thinking, “If this is even it…”. Once we rounded a bend I saw the most massive rock faces and a flowing river in the valley. 

Any avid rock climbers would know that rock face anywhere. It was “El Capitan” and not far beyond it was “Half Dome”. Now I love my rock gym and rock climbing, but when you look at these faces there is just a certain part of you that is in awe but is also super respectful of the face itself and of the climbers who have climbed it. Alex Honnold still holds some of the fastest times free climbing (no ropes) both faces.

Our first stop was Bridalveil falls. An iconic waterfall in Yosemite, it is gorgeous and appropriately named. Before we hiked the trail we were attracted by a crowd of people. They were crowded around a mule deer. He was just hanging out for photo ops and munching on some nearby grass. We headed down the trail and it didn’t take long for our kids to get off the trail and climbing up the rocks towards the waterfall. It ended up leading us to a really cool view of the waterfall. 

We headed down the road to get a better view of “El Cap” and “Half Dome”. We didn’t have enough time or we would have tried to go further.

We headed back to camp and had a fire, made dinner and called it a night.

Half Moon Bay Watchers

We woke up in San Francisco this morning. Jud watched out the window as bike commuters were heading off to work. He was fascinated by the some of the bike set ups. Some had back satchels on the opposite side of the gears, probably carrying a laptop and other work essentials.
We packed up and headed to Half Moon Bay. Once Noah saw the Pacific Ocean he said he wanted to touch it. Knowing my kids, they did more than dip their toes in. They were soaked, despite how cold it was! We also had the pleasure of viewing some whales breaching not far from us. The kids were investigating some kelp that had washed ashore. It was a little creepy looking with a big balloon pod and leaves growing out of it. Korey went searching for seashells and found some good ones. 
We ventured to downtown Half Moon Bay. Jud and I enjoyed some coffee at the Half Moon Bay Coffee Co. and the kids had some chocolate chip muffins. The peanut butter cookie I had was to die for. I also stole some guy’s iced coffee with 5 espresso shots! I felt so bad and I went to right my wrong and I told the nice gentleman working I would just drink that and not to make my chai tea. He came up to me later and said “I’m not going to make you drink that, would you still like your tea?” And I must have looked super pathetic when I said, “yes please” because he smiled and patted my shoulder. Then, we decided to walk around and visit some of the shops. They were doing a cool contest, each shop hid a “Waldo” somewhere in their stores and kids have to find him and the store owner or manager signs their “Where’s Waldo?” Passport. The kids didn’t care about a prize they were just excited to find Waldo. 

We got on the road and headed to Yosemite. We got into camp and set the tent up, then we ventured into the park. 

“From sea to shining sea”

Happy Independence Day! I’ve been to some pretty incredible places abroad but I believe we forget about our own backyard sometimes. This adventure through America has been breathtaking and exhilarating. It seems a perfect way to commemorate our journey across the pond and our fight for freedom. 
This morning we hiked around Crater Lake. No words to describe the varying blues of the water. The reflection of the rim in the lake was perfect! I posted up on a rock and soaked in the pure beauty that surrounded us. There is a mini volcano in the middle of the lake and I teased the kids that I am going to move to the island. Eli was intrigued.
After a long car ride, we rolled into San Francisco. There was minimal traffic due to the holiday. It was foggy over the Golden Gate Bridge but it was still spectacular. We got out and walked out on to the bridge. Eli liked waving to all the drivers on the bridge. It was super windy and chilly. The view was still awesome and seeing Alcatraz in the distance was cool. There were sailboats enjoying the wind on the bay. The kids agreed that Papa needed to bring his sailboat out here.

Judson’s cousin Amy let us crash at her place for the night. There was even a sign made by her daughter, Anya, welcoming us to their home. The kids enjoyed playing with the cats and Anya’s toys. The kitchen set and the building blocks were a hit. We wish they could have been there to hang out with us. Amy summed up our trip in a most appropriate way: “from sea to shining sea.”

Ape Caves Adventure

This morning we got back on the road. It’s never a “goodbye” when you’re leaving your best friend, it’s a “see ya later”. I had such a great time catching up with her and getting to know her boys. I really miss her but I know I’ll see her and we will have more adventures soon. She did an amazing job showing us around Washington and making sure we had food for energy! We took the kids on a couple different hikes and to some cool parks and our last day we hit Tolmie State Park. When the tide goes out you can find live sand dollars, jellies, and you can see little fish and crabs scurrying to and fro. The kids had a great time making “crab pools”, collecting sand dollars and playing in the sand and water. 

This afternoon we found ourselves in the land of the Sasquatch. There was someone debate between the kids whether or not he is real. It was funny to listen to their positions. “Well if God made him, he has to be real.” Just one of many arguments! 

We hiked Ape Caves which was carved out by lava. It stays around 42 degrees so long pants and a sweatshirt are a must. You also need at least two sources of light. We were outfitted with our headlamps and we purchased these really neat solar lanterns for the kids at Christmas time. It was about a two mile hike down the lower tube. It was incredible! If you look above your head you can see lavacites from where the lava melted the ground. You can also see where vents were created on the sides of the tube and hollowed out a little spot. I am not a mineral expert, however I know there are several different mineral deposits in those little coves, some even sparkled.

We had quite a trek to get to the Broken Arrow Campground at the base of Crater Lake. Jud and I set the tent up in record time, in the dark. We huddled around the fire for a little bit and then headed off to bed.

Sarver’s and the Jones’ take on Mount Rainier

The kids have been getting along so well! This morning they played, watched some cartoons and checked out some maps on the computer together. 

After much herding and wrangling we headed to Mount Rainier. I am seriously running out of words to describe the pure awesomeness of all of these places. Mount Rainier did not disappoint. As we drove in the road was lined with evergreen trees as tall as skyscrapers. We hiked “Grove of the Patriarchs” and witnessed 1,000 year old fir, cedar and pine trees. No picture could do it justice (we tried anyway). The kids were able to hop in the river and play, skip rocks and even tried to build a rock bridge to the other side. On the trail was a small suspension bridge, recommended one person at a time pass. 

It was amazing to drive in the park because around each turn Mount Rainier would make its presence known and show you a side you hadn’t seen yet. 

We hiked the “Silver Falls” trail that paralleled the stunning water. The kids had a great time hiking and checking things out. There were a couple bridges on this trail and the last bridge we crossed gifted us the most amazing view of the falls. On the way back up the trail I played “Follow the Leader” with some of the kids. They had to mimic everything I did. They had a good time and Korey commented that I choose the goofiest things to do. The goofier the better! It got their mind off the hike back and made it much more bearable for everyone involved. 

We stopped at the Reflection Lakes on the way back home. It was a little breezy so the reflection of Mount Rainier wasn’t perfect but you could get the idea. You are supposed to be able to see the reflection of the dormant volcano in the lake.

We are currently driving through a glacial canyon. Which is impressive. We are also surrounded by huge, lush evergreens.