Tag Archives: Travel sights

Kings Canyon and Giant Trees

One of our other goals (along with getting to Yosemite) while we were at Sugar Pine Camp was to get back to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park which was only about 100 miles away (which in the overall scheme of our life is pretty darn close!). We had visited the “Sequoia” part of the park back in February of 2009, but since it was, after all February, the Kings Canyon part was closed. Too. Much. Snow. Here’s the Sequoia Visitor Center on the day we visited in 2009-
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so you can see why snow might have been an issue. So this time, while there was a bit of overlap, we were focused on Kings Canyon (northern and higher altitude) section of the park.
Once we started east from Fresno, the drive started to climb.
and the views became expansive.
Our first stop in the park was the Grant Grove area – home to the General Grant Tree and a beautiful walk through some giant sequoias.
The General Grant Tree is also known as America’s Christmas Tree (designated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1926).
(It looked a little more “Christmas-y where we were here last time -)
sequioa day-36
Those giant sequoias are amazing
but we really wanted to make our way to Kings Canyon. So on we went!
We did check out a couple of stops along the way – one was a short hike into Grizzly Falls, which unlike Yosemite Falls, actually had some water falling.
And such beautiful clear water it was!
Once we made it to the bottom of the canyon, we followed the path of the Kings River.
We also took a hike through Zumwalt Meadow, which was part meadow
and part not-so-much-meadow.
It was a beautiful hike and after we continued on to the end of the road, we turned around and just un-wound the trip down. I confess that somehow, the trip back seemed much more dramatic. Might have been because now we were in the outside lane!

From the steep canyon walls
to the realization of just how far down DOWN was once we started to climb out of the canyon.
(Still not sure you can get the real feel for how steep it was – but it was pretty impressive, believe me!)
One last stop on the way home was to drive by Hume Lake –

Sure would’ve liked to set a spell in those chairs!

Soon we were headed back to Sugar Pines –
and a nap!

Thanks for coming along on our Kings Canyon excursion. If you’d like to see some additional photos (you knew that was coming, right?), you can check them out (in reasonable order of the day) HERE!

[Since this is also a Monday (as in Mondays are for Memories), if you’d like to check out the photos from our 2009 trip to the Sequoias, just click HERE!]


There are lots of things we look at when we ask to serve at different ministries. We usually try to go to a project where we’ve never worked before. We sometimes look for specific needs (though we’ve also learned that the needs that are published are often different by the time we get there). We try to choose a ‘less-served’ ministry – one that doesn’t get many SOWERS. But I must confess that the reason we chose Sugar Pine Christian Camp had a little less to do with a specific need, but more to do with this little notation in our listing. “6 miles from the S entrance to Yosemite Park”. It did meet all of the other criteria, but that Yosemite thing was really what tipped the scale. This is only our second swing out to the West Coast (the first one before and after we did our Alaska Adventure), and since we never know what tomorrow will bring, I really wanted to make sure we made it to Yosemite.
So it was pretty much a win-win all around! We were blessed to serve at Sugar Pine Camp – and we were certainly WOWED at Yosemite.
We spent two beautiful days exploring Yosemite, and although we barely scratched the surface of hiking and back country activities, I do think we covered most anything you could get to by car – plus a couple spots that required our feet!
Here are some highlights –
Glacier Point
This is pretty much everyone’s first recommendation. They even recommended seeing it at sunrise. That did not happen. But we did get there early-ish, so we missed some of the crowds while we enjoyed the magnificent views.

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Sentinel Dome
Since we knew that Half Dome was way beyond our hiking capabilities, we decided to give Sentinel Dome a shot. The Yosemite experts back at the camp felt it would be a good hike for us – a little challenging, but certainly do-able. For us out of shape oldsters.
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We were a bit intimidated by the fact that we were headed to the top of that dome
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but still, we pressed on!
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OK – if young couple wearing a toddler can do it,

so can we.
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Just a little bit slower. And with a slightly faster heart rate!
But Oh.The.Views.
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As we were headed back down, Gary’s sharp eyes spotted a bit of wildlife.
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Can you see it? Up in the tree….
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Happy hunting, big guy!
This was a great hike – good cardio workout on the way up, and a bit hard on the joints on the way back, but we did it!

El Capitan
We caught a couple of glimpses of El Capitan as we headed up to Tioga Road (in the northern section of the park)
but it pretty much dominated the horizon once we ventured into Yosemite Valley the next day!
But first – Tioga Road, Omsted Point, and other views from that road! (There is lots more park to the north of Tioga Road, but it’s all ‘back country’.) Here are just a few of the our stops –
Olmstead Point
Olmstead Point (the other way!)
Tenaya Lake

We stopped at a little cafe near the north entrance (Tioga Pass) for a bite to eat and struck up a conversation with a couple of back-country hikers who were sharing our table. Now mind you, we were feeling pretty smug having hiked the Sentinel Dome (all 2.2 miles of it), so we asked one fellow how his hike was going. It turns out he was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and he shared his good news that he only had 1000 miles to go. A Thousand Miles. So much for the our Sentinel Dome experience! He was very interesting and since he was looking quite longingly at Gary’s fish and chips, we funded him for a couple of meals. (I wonder if he made it to Mexico yet?)

We finished that first day with a stop at the “Tunnel View Overlook” which offers spectacular views of the park.
And just as we were getting ready to leave, we ran into some friends from Trinity, TX!!! How crazy was that????
Now that was a ‘God Wink’ to be sure!!!!
We returned the next day and took one more shot of the “Tunnel View”.
Love the morning light!

But we were headed to explore Yosemite Valley, which is a much busier area. Kinda like the ‘downtown’ of Yosemite.
We took a little meadow hike
and checked out the historic Ahwahnee hotel.
Lunch was a bit pricey, but oh, so elegant and yummy. It was a fun treat!
The famous Yosemite Falls (Upper and Lower) were dry this late in the season
but you can certainly see how magnificent they must be in the spring with the snow run-off!
Once again we were very glad we started early in the day –
because this is how it looked when we were ready to leave!

From start to finish – Yosemite was magnificent!
We are so thankful to be able to mark that off our ‘bucket list’
If you’d like to see more of the beauty of Yosemite, there are more pictures HERE! (I did my best to whittle down the number, but it’s still just shy of 100! Just wanted to give you a warning!)

Last Weekend in Montana

Our time in Montana is drawing to a close (we head to Idaho on Friday), so I wanted to make sure we filled our last weekend with a bit more Montana beauty. We put about 200 miles on our truck again on Friday, but all of them were paved. And I think all of them were lovely! Our destination – Flathead Lake – one of the largest natural freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi.
We came up Rte 28 from the west (bottom of map) and drove the entire circumference of the lake. The drive TO the lake (almost 50 miles) was lovely in and of itself!
Flathead Lake Day-1
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But when the lake came into view – Oo-la-la!
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We made a couple of stops along the way – either at fishing access spots or pulling into some of the many state parks that dot the edges. Each little mini-stop was full of delights!
A panorama from one of the fishing/boat access areas –
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A glimpse of just how clear the water is –
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Lakeside camping at one of the state parks –
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As the road continued around the lake,
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we stopped at a pull-out that seemed to have a little access to path down to the lake.
Flathead Lake Day-12
Look, there’s a dock down there! With Gary shaking his head, I traipsed down the path with my Croc sandals on (only slipping a time or two and never with any bodily injury) and was greeted with this beautiful view-
Flathead Lake Day-13
Seemed like a random place for a dock, but no one asked me. 🙂
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This area is also known for Flathead Cherries. Along the Eastern shoreline there are a myriad of cherry orchards, and we finally gave into the temptation and purchased our own bag.
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Which may or may not have been empty by the time we got home. Just sayin’.
We enjoyed a great lunch out at one of the many lakeside eateries, and finished up the drive in style.
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As we drove home I was once again struck with the the pioneer history of this area. Seeing these random shacks, still standing in the middle of a field, makes me wonder-
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Original homestead?
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Cattle drive shack?
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We passed an old barn that I tried unsuccessfully to get a good clear shot of (always a challenge in a moving truck with traffic behind us), but when I cropped it down, I really liked how it turned out.
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Oh, the mystery of the history!
It was, to be sure, a great day!
Saturday was a bit quieter. We stayed around camp, which had just said good-bye to their last batch of summer campers. The summer staff took the opportunity to have some end-of-summer fun
by getting the director’s car up on the dining hall porch. (Not so sure he was that thrilled when he returned from his board meeting, but at least they cleaned it out before they moved it, and got his wife’s permission.)
That evening we gathered by the river and got to witness the baptism of one of the summer staffer!
It is so exciting to see the Lord working mightily in the lives of these young people! Not to mention all of the lives that were touched throughout the summer. 

This morning all of the staff left for their end of summer staff retreat, so it’s especially quiet around here today. But the sun was shining as we drove to church
and we were blessed to be worshiping outside on this glorious Lord’s Day!

And it didn’t hurt that the worship service was followed by a picnic and some great fellowship!

So that about wraps up our weekend here at Camp Bighorn. We did get a couple of chores done over the weekend (let’s be real – mostly I was sewing!), and as the week progresses we’ll be tying up loose ends and finishing up our SOWER assignments.  Seems like we just got here – and soon it will be time to move on down the road!

Thanks for stopping by – hope your weekend was blessed also!


PSSST – there are a couple more Flathead Lake photos HERE if you’re interested!

Wenatchee to St. Regis – Getting here!

When last we ‘spoke’ we were headed to see friends in East Wenatchee for dinner, after getting those new tires for the truck. They had room for our RV, so we moved from Costco to the other side of the river. What a delightful time we had – the dinner, the friends, the parking spot. Their home sits on the ridge above the Columbia River, and commands a wonderful view.
And produces a pretty good sunset too!
We’re so glad we stopped – and certainly hope we can make that connection again sometime!
We did get an early start on Tuesday since we wanted to get all the way to St. Regis, MT where we had reservations for a couple of nights at a campground. And after all, we were about to lose an hour as we moved from Pacific Time to Mountain Time. But we also didn’t want to do the whole trip on interstate, so we went just a bit north, right along the Columbia River and past beautiful orchards
Orchards, mountains, river and sunshine. Yes, we're on the road again! #ontheroadagain #washington #solovely
and then headed east on Rte 2. It was a long and windy uphill start
(sorry about the dirty windshield – you’ll be seeing that again, I promise!)
and usually after a long climb up, there’s a corresponding climb down. Not so in this neck of the woods. Once we got out of the pass, we were greeted with miles and miles of wheat!
I personally found great beauty in these rolling hills
so please bear with me as I share a couple more from that beautiful drive –
Don’t you want to know the story behind this solitary house?
Or maybe this one?
We watched a daring crop duster making pass after pass over the fields –
Crop Duster
until finally we caught up and passed him (or maybe he passed us?).
There were a couple of random splashes of green
and still an occasional hill to climb
(Do you see that lone walker at the bottom? We were quite in the middle of nowhere, and really puzzled at where he was headed! But he did not seem in any distress, so we figured he knew what he was doing.)
but mostly it was wheat field after wheat field as we traversed this plateau.
Amber waves of grain. Washington? Yes, Washington. #ontheroadagain #washington
And then there was Spokane.
We picked up the interstate (I90) and were soon crossing the Idaho panhandle.
Idaho was beautiful. Back to the tall trees and wilderness – and the beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene.
There were also a few more ‘long pulls’, as we call those steep climbs. One (Lookout Pass, just before the Montana border)was especially stressful. Due to construction, we were not only going up the hill single file, but there were solid concrete barriers on either side of us.
We were watching our engine temps climb, and were very, very happy when we finally saw the crest of the hill.
Yes, we stopped to let the temps (and maybe my pulse) return to normal. Here’s another shot looking back from where we had stopped.
We did the downhill slow and steady, and soon we were settled in our camping site, where we’ll be hanging out for just a day until we head into our August SOWER project, Camp Bighorn, just up the road a piece in Plains, MT.
St Regis Campground
Gary is intent on keeping our little campfire going all day and just enjoying the day. And I intend to join him in that noble endeavor right after I hit the “Publish” button for this post!
Not quite a cabin morning, but still a lovely way to start the day! #morningfire #sittingstillforaday

Better get busy…..

Man, if I don’t get these last couple of days ‘documented’ I’ll be in big trouble. We’ve had a busy couple of days, and I hate to get too backed up! So here’s where the fun began –
Thursday night we went to the “Concert on the Dock” in Port Townsend. And here are the “We” –
Lin and Randy, co-workers here at YWAM, joined us for some of our weekend adventures and we had so much fun!
The concert was great (and so fun to see the town in action!)
Plus it gave me a chance to catch some ‘evening light’ pictures of the bay –
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
But the next day was even more fun, when we took in the Annual Sequim Lavender Festival.
We visited several of the local farms 
checked out the street fair
and took more pictures than you could possibly imagine!

I did manage to whittle the batch down (and even included some from a couple of non-lavender beach-type photos), and if you’d like to see them, you can check out the batch HERE!
Oh, for some way to share the wonderful fragrance of the day!
Saturday and Sunday were actually pretty quiet, and then yesterday we took the Ferry into Seattle for the day!
While we only scratched the surface of All Things Seattle, we did manage to easily put our 10,000 steps to good use. 🙂
From the Ferry we walked up to the Seattle Center, taking in the Olympic Sculpture Garden on the way.
Once we actually got to Seattle Center (home to the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens and Glass, and the Pacific Science Center among other delights) we had a tough choice. Since the day was quite overcast, we opted not to go up the Space Needle. (Actually the price tag did have a bit of influence there too.) We’d heard the Science Center was amazing, but especially fun for kids. With no grandkids in tow, it only made sense to make the oh-so-amazing Chiluly Gardens and Glass exhibit our “to do” splurge for the day. And although it was pricey, it was indeed oh-so-amazing!
From the first thing you saw when you walked in
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to the last view of the gardens
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and all the points in between
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it was amazing! Even on an overcast day, it was spectacular. Here’s a slideshow of just our Chilhuly stop. Enjoy! (If you’d like to seem the group on Flickr, check them out HERE!)

After the Chilhuly, we took the Monorail back to downtown.
From there it was back up a couple of blocks to the Seattle Glassblowing Studio. Now it wasn’t Chilhuly’s studio (that’s outside of town), but it was a wonderfully interesting stop! (And free!) We were able to watch a team of artists take this rolling globe (already, I learned later, about 40 minutes into the process)
into an amazing fluted (giant) bowl (seen here just before Asbestos Man grabbed it!)
The adjoining shop had many beautiful things to purchase, but we held back. Glass things and driving your house down the road don’t really mix well.
OK – next up was Pike’s Market. I mean really, is it possible to ‘do’ Seattle without a stop at the market? Don’t think so!
Crazy busy – and crazy fun!
Our final splurge was dinner dockside at Ivars Acres of Clams. After some of the richest clam chowder I’ve ever had, we both enjoyed a fabulous Salmon dinner while we watched the ferries coming and going.
Total splurge. Because sometimes you have to! #Seattle #ivars #salmon deliciousoverload
And soon (because our feet were yelling at us), it was time to board our own ferry and head back home. And of course, for the first time all day, the sun broke through the clouds to show off Seattle in it’s finest ‘golden hour’ sunlight!
It was a beautiful ending to quite a lovely day!
Tomorrow we head off for another adventure – checking out the Olympic National Park with a couple of sweet overnights away from the RV thrown it. Hurricane Ridge, Crescent Lake, Hoh Rain Forest and points west – we’ll see you soon!

And….if you’d like to see the whole set of our Day in Seattle pictures – you can check them out HERE! (You knew that was coming, right?)