Thursday, August 18, 2016

Camping on the Mirror Lake Highway

The boys finished their 10 tasks, so it was time for a real camping adventure. We decided to go to our favorite place, Soapstone Campground on the Mirror Lake Highway. We headed out on Tuesday and though we had a late start, we had camp set up in time for a hike before dinner. We decided to try a new hike called Wall Lake. This is a simple out-and-back 2 mile roundtrip trail, and it was flat and beautiful. When we got there, Dad was certain that he'd been there before, but Mom couldn't remember. At any rate, there is a rock wall rising out of a very large lake. It was the perfect hike.
Seth is a bit of a poser...
Dax enjoys camping more than anyone!
Mark never complains about a hike.
The Wall Lake Trail was just right for our boys.
Wall Lake is pretty large.
We threw rocks for a long time, including some of those big ones.
Mom and Dad like to take selfies.
We are so glad to be hikers!
We headed back to our campsite for tinfoil dinners and s'mores. Then we walked over to the Provo River to throw a few rocks. This is the best part of the trip for the boys and the main reason we camp at Soapstone. To make it even a little better, someone had built a rock dam all the way across the river, which made a nice little pool. The boys really enjoyed that. Then we did a glowstick walk around the parking lot and went to bed.
Any animal we see is exciting.
This squirrel thought we might feed him. He was wrong.
The river was deeper due to the makeshift dam.
There is no trail to the river, so you have to bushwhack.
Dax loves 'smores uncooked and without graham crackers.
Dax's friend gave him a glow punching ball that was amazing!
The next day we were up early for pancake breakfast. We had planned a moderate hike way out toward Wyoming called Bourbon Lake. This proved to be fairly strenuous, though it was only about two and a half miles. The hike led pretty much uphill the entire way to the lake, but it was a gorgeous walk through alpine meadows without another soul on the trail. We finally reached the lake and took off our shoes and socks to put our feet in. The fish were really rolling, but we didn't see any wildlife except for a few woodpeckers. Dax also took a picture of Mom and Dad, which he deemed "pretty good."
Seth made a bow and arrow from a string and stick. It worked pretty well.
Our Fairy Forest rocks were doing fine. We always like to stop and check on them.
Dad loves to carry Seth.
Bourbon Lake was a steep climb, so the boys were thrilled when they found this "bed" to sleep on.
Do you see that caterpillar hanging over the trail? We were excited to see him.
We all liked cooling our feet in the freezing cold water.
Bourbon Lake was so peaceful.
Any of us could have fallen off that log at any time.
Family selfies are hard to take!
Yeah, Dax, that picture IS pretty good!
We finished the hike (downhill was easy) and had lunch in an adjacent campground. Then we drove down the road. Suddenly Mark spotted a moose. We were only about 50 yards from her, and she was really pretty. It made the whole trip worth it. We continued to drive out the highway until we finally reached the Whitney Reservoir turnoff. We rode out along this rocky dirt road for around 10 miles hoping to see some wildlife. We did manage to see a deer and a few ducks, but not much else. Still, we found the reservoir and skipped rocks for while, which the boys really loved.
She was more worried about us than we were about her.
She was picture-perfect.
It was a long ride back to Soapstone, and we got stuck in construction for about a half hour, but we had a nice stop at Provo River Falls, which was rushing more than we'd ever seen it before. We enjoyed taking a few pictures, and Seth was really excited to climb all over the rocks next to the waterfall.
The Whitney Reservoir was beautiful!
There were just a few people fishing, so we enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere.
We spotted this deer on the drive to Whitney Reservoir.
Someone was nice enough to take a family photo at Provo River Falls. 
We love exploring around the waterfall. 
And there are three different sections to see!
This is a picture Mark took.
Seth loved that he could touch the waterfall. 
We got back to camp and roasted some hotdogs for dinner. Then we headed over to the river again.  We wanted to let the boys wade in the river to wash their feet. We also had pooh stick races and threw a lot of rocks. Mom and Dad tried to really relax and do things the boys wanted to on this trip!
It was a little deeper than Dad expected!
At least we got clean feet!
Dax is truly adventurous. He walked right out into the river.
The boys thought it was a blast to play in the water.
Dax might have fallen in a few times.
Mark and Seth were more cautious, but they got pretty wet anyway.
Dad wanted to capture Mom's hair blowing in the wind.
Dad found this awesome rock that had a face on it!
Then Mark found one, too. It's a blobfish face!
We are trying to hone our selfie skills.
We headed back to camp and went to bed late, knowing we had to pack up in the morning. After breakfast burritos we were on the road before 10am. We tried to walk around the beaver ponds on the little bridge near the pay station, but the trail didn't really go anywhere, and we didn't see a beaver. We had to hurry back, though, so we could clean up and make our way to Bountiful to see Heather and Ethan Beddingfield. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Camping in the Backyard

We love camping no matter where we are!
We haven't had a real camping adventure this summer unless you count 10 days in a motorhome or staying at someone's house at Bear Lake. So we decided that we'd take the kids camping in the backyard. But of course, they had to earn it.

The deal was that Mark had to do 10 chores, Dax had to read 10 chapter books, and Seth had to learn to read 10 new words. Then we'd go on a camping trip. To sweeten the deal, we'd take them camping in the backyard when they were halfway through. They all hit 5 tasks, so last night was the big night. We set up camp right in the backyard. Tent, cots, chairs, sleeping bags, and everything. Seth was ready to go to bed at about 4:30 pm! But first we had tinfoil dinners cooked in the oven. We ate outside and then played games. The boys played some of our favorite camping games, and then we broke out the glowsticks for a game of hide-and-seek in the yard. The boys always love it a little more when Mom and Dad play!

The boys were super excited to sleep in the tent.
So excited, that they were ready for bed in the afternoon!
We played the games from the camping box. Nothing beats some rousing games of Big Fish Little Fish. 
Glow sticks in the light! 
Glow sticks in the dark!
They make the perfect night lights!
We had a great night with the glowsticks acting as night lights. Then the next morning we had pancakes for breakfast. It was pretty nice not loading and unloading the van, and most everyone stayed pretty clean! Now we'll see if we can get those other 5 tasks done!

We loved eating our meals outside!

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