Very few people are brave enough or love us enough to visit in July. In fact, no one loves us enough – however, we do get visitors on occasion when they have to be in Arizona for something else. My brother and his family had a reunion here (I know…who plans a reunion in July in Arizona?!?) which means we got them for a couple days after they were done.
July visitors get a lot of water time. In the past we’ve gone to water parks and to the lake – this go around we had less time so we stuck with pools.
A visit isn’t complete without scorpion hunting – its always a fan favorite! After killing the 11 in our yard, we moved on to our neighbor’s yard where we found twice that many. Including these two moving along the wall attached to each other. After hunting, it was late and finally the temperature was bearable (just over 100 degrees) to be outside. We played basketball speed for an hour while sweating profusely.
With pool time and scorpion hunting complete – we hit a local indoor trampoline/ninja warrior/skate park. This was a hit with our kids and we had no problem spending two hours jumping and climbing and everything else they had to offer. An indoor park can’t be beat in the Arizona summer.
Still playing catch up from our summer adventures – 4th of July in Idaho. Where the weather is nice enough for shorts during the day and gets just enough chill in the evening that sweatshirts are an option.
An afternoon in the park with games, snow cones, ice cream and fried chicken.
Followed up with an evening at my brother’s house for more ice cream and cake to celebrate a birthday, shaving cream twister, puppies, paddle boarding on the pond and fireworks.
I know logically fireworks are a ridiculous idea – we burn money. And unfortunately its not like a candle where you get 12 hours of enjoyment out of it. Nope. You can spend hundreds of dollars on fireworks and burn them all in less than an hour. And yet, I love them. I love the smell. I love the boom. I love the light.
I wish we had more firework holidays – Independence day and New Years Eve are not enough (at least in Arizona those are the only legal times to light fireworks)!
What summer road trip is complete without sleeping bags and tents…and boats and fish?
We traveled up the Snake River to Hells Canyon – which is the deepest river gorge in North America. The last time I was there, I was a sophomore in high school and I went on a river rafting trip with my biology class. And the windy roads to get there were just as bad/windy as I remembered and I had to pull over when Cannon threatened to lose his lunch!
There was fishing and tubing and wake boarding. Early mornings and late nights. Afternoon storms. Campfires. Lots of bugs. Cousins. Lawn games. (Aside from the whole campsite being a hill thanks to the canyon – it was absolutely beautiful and lush.)
I’m convinced once Briggs gets a little older and doesn’t require sleeping in a port-crib – camping might not be the most awful sleeping experience. Only time will tell!
When we made plans to visit Washington, my friend sent me a text of ideas of things we could do and see while we were there. As I read through the list, one activity jumped out at me: Mount St. Helens – the volcano. It erupted just before I was born and yet I heard stories of it growing up – ash fell all the way in Idaho where we lived. It was a big deal and I wanted to see it almost 40 years after it’s eruption.
When I read the list to the kids, surprisingly everyone’s top choice was the volcano. Except Cannon – he thought we were messing with him because “volcanos are just pretend and only in movies.” He was going to have his mind blown!
It was a littler further of a drive than we anticipated – although we could’ve stopped at a “viewing site” much earlier in the drive – we were determined to see it up close and it was worth it.
We watched a movie about the eruption in the visitor’s center. I was prepared to wrangle a two-year-old through it and eventually walk out. To my surprise he was captivated by the poorly produced 1990 film – and he repeated over and over again, “Volcano broken, it’s broken”. He wins the award for the most excited because that excitement is still strong. Every mountain is now a volcano and he repeats in his yelling talking voice, “Cano, Cano Cano.” This visitor’s center proved to be interesting to every age group!
Here’s a before picture (from here) and how it stands now.
This valley has been desolate for years and years due to the ash and eruption – and yet new life has sprung forth and beauty is being restored. The landscape is forever changed, but it still has its beauty – just far less trees.
We were there for hours. And even then we were pulling the kids away. They could’ve stayed there all day! They already have it on our to-do list if we ever make it back to Washington.
The funny thing about road trips is once you’ve driven 17 hours, the idea of driving another six seems totally reasonable. That’s the logic that landed us in Washington. I was hoping to see a college roommate and good friend this summer. We were making plans for her to drive down to Idaho and just two weeks before setting out on our summer adventures I had a crazy thought to drive the gang to see her.
When I ran it by the kids they didn’t register that it would take 6 hours (each way) to drive there, they only heard Washington – and they’ve never been to Washington so it was a unanimous yes! And we don’t regret that decision one bit. Washington was just as beautiful as I remembered and even more fun than the kids had hoped for. We were all reunited for a couple short days and they are some of the most memorable from our summer.
The beautiful green lush landscape was a stark contrast from where we came from and the weather was ideal – we took advantage by being outside the whole time we were there.
Hunter’s skateboarding skills are minimal and yet he had the confidence (or lack of better judgement) to attempt to ride this hill. I walked on to the scene just in time to catch this picture. I could tell at this point he was picking up too much speed and I started yelling for him to hit the grass and take a softer fall.
It was too late. He was out of control which led to him putting his foot down in an attempt to ditch the skateboard and make a run of it. That was also poor judgement because as soon as that second foot hit the pavement his body was going too fast for his feet and he proceeded to land face first, arms outstretched and skid several feet down the path. I was already running to him at this point and I reached him face down on the pavement, crying and all bloodied up. His friend told him that’s the life of a thrasher! 🙂
I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice before attempting a stunt like that again!
We explored the Columbia River – the largest river in the pacific northwest. It was a little chilly for my kids liking but that didn’t stop them from enjoying themselves. We’re just used to bath water pools!
The weather was beautiful and warm while we were there (which we learned was not normal) but as to not disappoint – Washington showed it’s true weather the day we were leaving which was slightly more chilly and some light showers. We made a stop at Multnomah Falls on our way home – just outside of Portland. We were disappointed to learn the hike was closed due to the serious wildfires last summer – but it was still a breathtaking pit stop. We’ll make our way back and hopefully we’ll be able to hike it then.
The best part of the drive is following the Columbia River for two hours – it’s beautiful green scenery like this the whole drive. I wish I wasn’t driving so I could’ve enjoyed it a little bit more.