Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Adventures in Camping - The Strawberry Wilderness

Oh, hi there! We made it to the base of the Strawberry Wilderness in the Malheur National Forest! Nobody had more fun on this camping adventure than Britt - he was in his element and had the time of his life! He was so excited to be back at this camp site, because he and Grandma and Papa had been there before two summers ago when Brailey was in Texas. This is his favorite place in the world, and he was busy building dams, bridges and catching crawdads the entire time we were there. If nobody else had had fun (we all did!), it would still have been worth it, as much joy as Britt had in his heart. He gave new meaning to the word exuberant!
It didn't take him long to get in the creek and start building. He was happily building away from the second we arrived, practically.
While Britt built his bridge, Papa and Brady took a nap. That is, until they were awoken by Brailey's exclamation...
"Look! There's a lobster in the creek!" A lobster? No. But there were quite a few crawdads, which we had never seen. And they do look a bit like a mini lobster. The only one in our group who had seen and caught them before was Brady. So up he got from his nap to come and help his kids catch them. This created a lot of excitement for a good long time. Can you see the crawdaddy in the picture below?
They managed to catch way more than this, but we let them all go. Next time, we decided we might try to cook and eat them. Brady said they're very tasty. Below, the only fish Brady caught. He let it go, of course. It was a cutie!
And then the dam building. I believe there were three different dams built. Britt and Papa made one of them two years ago, and most of it was still there, which was fun for Britt to see.
After two bridges he wasn't satisfied with, he reassessed, rebuilt and finally felt somewhat satisfied with this one, which was actually a very good bridge.
Rosin was a good little pug and didn't even attempt to run off. She had a big time camping! She was helping Papa roast our hot dogs.
Papa decided Britt needed a longer pole to make an even better bridge, and so he cut this one for Britt, and Britt rebuilt his bridge once again. And then and only then was it considered finished. It was perfect!
We made our way to the Strawberry Wilderness. Believe it or not, my parents had never been there. They have been everywhere in this particular forest, but not to the top of the Strawberries. It wasn't quite what we expected... The lake involved a super long hike down, which meant an even longer hike back up. My brother and Aunt Sharon said going down was easy, but coming up was hell. We decided not to do it. So we did a little sight seeing from the top, instead. This area suffered a horrible fire last year, as you can see. It is heartbreaking to see the devastation fires leave.
My mom and I are afraid of heights, and believe me when I tell you this is a pretty scary cliff and mountain. It is super steep and if you are afraid of heights, it will make you nervous.
But still, we made it. And it was a first for all of us to see it. History was made!
I asked them to pose for a picture, and this is what my dad did (stood back from everyone). So funny! Look at the mischief on his face in the picture below.
Just below the trail to the lake that we didn't take, is another trail, Roads End Trail, which isn't on the side of a cliff and didn't involve a lot of climbing. We decided to take a hike on it, and we are so glad we did! We all had a really good time. We made it to the end, and even found snow, which Papa threw at Britt. Of course Britt had to throw some at Papa. Can you believe it? A snowball fight in July!
Grandma was posing for me in this picture. Can you tell? What can we say? She knows how to "strike a pose," even on a hike.
A self-timer picture with my camera on a rock down the hill. We are on the very top of one of the Strawberries. Not the best picture, but an interesting and fun one.
Back at camp, more dam building and a tiny bit of relaxing.
Later that evening, we went to the Malheur River for some fishing. We didn't catch a darn thing or even get a bite, but we did see some beautiful country. Brailey is standing in the Ford of the river, which is where you can drive across the river. We drove down on one side, crossed the river, and drove back to camp on the other side.
She hooked her line on a rock and had to go get it. It was tough on her feet, but she did it. I am holding her pole and taking her picture at the same time. Tricky, aren't I?
The next day we had a bit of sadness about us, because we had to leave. By "us," I mean Britt and Papa. Everyone else was camped out, but those two could stay up there forever. Camping brings out the country in Britt - I've never seen him happier!
We drove to Summit Meadow and then to this little hole of water for one last try at catching a fish. We still didn't get any, but had fun trying. We haven't been successful at any of our fishing endeavors. Papa caught a nice Dolly Varton in Summit Creek, but that's it, other than the shorty Brady threw back in the creek.
Summit Meadow is behind Brailey and Grandma. So pretty!
Britt and Brady wrote a note and put it in a bottle and sent it down Summit Creek. Only time will tell if anyone finds it. Brady put his cell number on the note.
While we were watching the bottle float down the creek, we all her a big splash. It was Rosin, who fell into the creek trying to get a drink. Papa and I are drying her off, below. Pugs can swim, we were happy to see. And she was nice and clean after her second bath. Brailey gave her one the day before. Both pugs had a good time and are veteran campers, now.
They were so excited to see a Murray Campground out in the middle of nowhere. And see that Lake Creek Camp on there? That is where my 4-H camp was that I wrote about earlier this summer (The Summer of Camps Galore). It was an amazing trip, no doubt about it, and when we got back, we had a wonderful surprise - Lexi and Shawn got done haying early and came by for dinner. Brady bought us all Chinese from The Hilander. We watched Donald Trump's speech at the Republican Convention and talked and talked and talked until we were so tired, we had to call it a night. It was heartwarming, to say the least, to see Brailey and Lexi so comfortable with each other, and as I mentioned in my previous post about our golfing and family dinner, it is such a treat to have Shawn back in our lives. Our vacation was delightful, and we have been going full throttle since we got home. These are the blessed, summer days. Yes, these are truly the days!

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