Monday, August 31, 2015

East Canyon Yurt

Mark sitting inside the Yurt. He's a trooper to take pictures for the other blogs.
Our boys love staying in Yurts. And we love visiting new places in Utah, so when we saw that East Canyon State Park had Yurts to stay in, we set up a camping trip. We went the day before Pioneer Day!

After unloading everything into the Yurts, we headed down to the water. Unfortunately, the beach was mostly mud, so we couldn't really enjoy it. The only fun thing we were able to do was float from the dock back to the shore in our well-loved boat. The boys seemed to like that, and of course throwing rocks. So we didn't spend a ton of time at the water's edge.
You can't visit water without throwing rocks.
I can't believe how much they love this boat.
Even dad rode this time!
We headed up to Morgan County to check out some of the cool rock features and eat dinner. First stop was dinner at Taggart's Grill. This restaurant is fun because it has it's own exit. It has a beautiful yard and there were peacocks wandering the yard. We had yummy food and a delicious chocolate cake for dessert.
I was a huge fan of the onion rings.
Seth being silly for every picture!
Dax also being silly for every picture!
It was very beautiful outside at Taggart's Grill.
Mom tries to take pretty pictures sometimes.
Then we headed over to "the devil's toys" as Randy termed them. Devil's Slide is fascinating, and it's just a pull out on the side of the highway. Then we drove to look at Devil's Looking Glass which is an arch. And finally, we tried to find Devil's Gate. We drove past about 3 times on both sides of the highway trying to decide if what we were seeing was it, so finally we declared something Devil's Gate and headed back to camp.
Devil's Slide
Devil's Looking Glass 
Devil's Gate????
We went for a short little hike that started behind out Yurt and saw deer, bunnies, common nighthawks, and lots of bones. The boys really liked picking up the bones, which seemed to have been plowed up as the trail was newly cut. It was a nice evening hike and we had a lot of fun! We also spent some time looking at the stars because it was a beautiful clear night.
Lots of bunnies everywhere.
We watched this chipmunk eat berries for awhile.
Deer peeking up at us as we hike.
We are looking good for being so old!
Finding bones was the highlight for our boys on this hike.
Dax thought this was an antler, well he wanted it to be an antler. (It's not!)
The next morning we had breakfast and packed up to go home. We saw tons of bunnies and squirrels running around the Yurts, and the boys enjoyed watching them. There was also a hummingbird that lived behind our Yurt that Mark and mom loved watching.
The hummingbird!
On the way home, we stopped to hike the Mormon Pioneer Trail since it was Pioneer Day. The trail supposedly follows the path that the pioneers took through Little Emigration Canyon as they headed down to Salt Lake. We walked about a mile and then turned around. It was a pretty little hike and we told pioneer stories as we hiked. None of us had spent much time in this area of Utah, so after the hike we drove down a dirt road through the canyon to Jeremy Ranch. We had a moment of excitement when Dad claimed to see a beaver, and there were certainly plenty of dams and ponds, but it never showed itself to the boys.
I love Dax's hat on this hike!
Poor dad. He is always carrying someone on these hikes.
We love being outdoors together!
It was a fun camping trip! We can't wait to stay in Yurts somewhere else next time.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bear Lake Day 4

Seth did not want to say good-bye to the Three Bears House.
On our last day at Bear Lake we cleaned up the cabin and went our seperate ways. It took a while to get everything put back and swept up and the cars all loaded, but by mid-morning we were on our way to the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which lies just north of Bear Lake.
We love seeing our cousins that live so far away, and it's hard to say good-bye.
Josh and Dax are great buddies despite the height difference.
It was just the Ockeys on this adventure, and that was probably for the best. Most people we know would've found the refuge to be pretty boring. To others, it would just be driving around through the grass and looking at a few geese. To us, though, it was a lot of fun. We got out and hiked around the refuge in a couple of different places. The boys were introduced to their first camoflagued bird-blind. We even saw several swans and a great blue heron spearing fish. And of course, there were lots of geese. It was just what we like to do.
Pelicans are so HUGE!
The refuge was very picturesque. It was fun to walk the little trails.
Who doesn't love crossing bridges?
The swans with their babies were precious.
We watched this heron catch two fish! It was amazing!!!
We still had one more adventure in mind, though. This one seemed pretty remote. It was a 10 mile drive on a rough dirt road to a short hike to a lake. We made pretty good time until we got to a line of cars that were going about 5 miles per hour. Later we found out we were following a BMW that refused to pull off or go faster than a slow putter. But we made it to the lake and found quite a few cars in the parking lot. The hike from there over to Bloomington Lake wasn't very far, and it was really pretty. Before long we arrived at a beautiful alpine lake with granite cliffs plunging into the clear water. It was picture perfect except for the 200 or so people lining the edge of the lake. There was a rope swing with another 25-30 people in line, and about 15 dogs, which meant that our boys were ready to go before we even saw the water. Still, it was pretty, and we did see a few fish in the clear water.
Mom loves the wildflowers. She tries to capture their beauty, but she's not a great photographer. 
Dad just likes to capture mom's beauty in his photos! ;) 
Dax really wanted to take his pictures here for some reason. 
Do these boys look like they need to sleep for a few days?
The Ockey Family at Bloomington Lake. Mark looks like he might die.
Bloomington Lake really is in a beautiful spot.
Seth leading the way back to the car. 
Mark next to one of the ponds we saw on the way up to the lake.
Mom taking a selfie this time. Not bad!
That was the end of our trip to Bear Lake. Sure, we stopped and returned the paddleboards in Logan and had dinner at Angie's, so we didn't arrive home until late. But it was a great trip and a great memory for our boys.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bear Lake Day 3

We loved the turquoise water at Bear Lake.
One of the reasons Grandpa Daniels lured us to Bear Lake was a family reunion at his sister Teresa's house. On Saturday morning, we drove around to the southwest corner of the lake and met with Grandma Betty and most of her descendents. We had a great time playing lawn volleyball. These volleyball games have gone on at Daniels Family Reunions for as long as mom can remember. They are epic games, and it was fun to see Dax and Mark show a little interest in their mom's favorite sport.
Grandma Betty with Seth and Charlie.
Mark getting into the volleyball fever.
Silly people!
Dax loved volleyball too!
This is the pre picture.
Now the final product. We love our Daniels Bunch shirts.
The kids also launched paper rockets with a stomp-launcher, and we had lunch. It was nice to sit and talk with all the family, which doesn't happen often enough.

We spent most of the morning at the reunion and took a bunch of pictures. Then we rode back around to the Three Bears House. Dad took a nap and Mom and the boys trooped back to the lake for more fun. (Dad had 1 day at the beach and that is always enough for him!) We played at the lake for most of the afternoon and then, because this day was about family, we celebrated birthdays. There was a huge cake for pretty much anyone that ever had a birthday or anniversary in the Western United States (but mostly for everyone who had a birthday in June or July)!
The boys felt very confident with their life jackets.
I'm not sure if Seth ever got out of the boat.
Mark jumping the waves.
These three boys make me happy!
We missed dad, but had a lot of fun!
We dug in the sand a little bit.
Look, Seth is in the water!
The June birthdays on the left, the July birthdays on the right!
Later that day, Jason arrived and cooked up pork roast for everyone for dinner. Then we made telescopes out of kits for each family. That night, as the Webbs were telling their stories, we saw an owl flying outside, which got all the kids really excited! It was the perfect end to a perfect family day.

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