Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer School ~ Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Hike #11, and possibly our last hike for a while. And what a hike on which to end our streak. Wowza!

[A little story for you: Lola and I were shopping at Costco the other day, and the gentleman who was loading our groceries asked if Lola was glad to be out of school. I always wonder how my kids will answer that question at any given moment, especially Lola, but she simply answered, “Yes, we hike.” It sounds so simple, but the way she said it made my heart glow. We hike. Not “we have been hiking” or “we’ve gone on hikes” or “we hiked,” just a simple “we hike” as if that tells you something about who we are and what summer is. He smiled and replied, “Have you ever been to Iron Mountain?” “We’re going on Tuesday!” “But have you ever been to Triangulation Peak?” “Yes! It was so lovely!” I hope he felt as good about that little exchange as I did.]

This hike, Iron Mountain, is 2.4 miles each way: UP. And Down. 1,358 foot net elevation gain. I took it SLOW and enjoyed the scenery.

In the picture above, my legs were already tired, and I realized we were hiking to the TOP of that rock looming in front of us.

Here is our great hiking crew of the day (yes, I decided to leave Lola at home for this one):

Iron Mountain Hiking Crew @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The weather was overcast and only slightly cool when we began our hike. I was confident that the cloud cover would burn off before we reached the summit and I was immensely grateful for cooler temps (after a weekend of 90-100 degrees).

Nothing could diminish the scenery on this hike.

Iron Mountain Hike Trees @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Levi was in his element.

Iron Mountain Hike Cloaked @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Getting a bit closer. In this next picture you may see the itty bitty humans up higher on the trail. Obviously, they hike uphill much faster than I do.

Iron Mountain Hike Closer @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

A patch of snow. Bluer skies. A tiny Mount Hood in the distance.

Iron Mountain Hike Snow @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

A rockier path (and beautiful wildflowers) as we climbed higher.

Iron Mountain Hike Higher @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain Hike Wildflowers @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Switchbacks as we climbed higher and higher.

Iron Mountain Hike Switchbacks @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

More wildflowers.

Iron Mountain Hike More Wildflowers @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Clouds continuing to burn off and move past.

Iron Mountain Hike Clouds @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain Hike Even Higher @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And, finally, the summit, with the last whisps of cloud.

Iron Mountain Hike Summit Clouds @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

It’s difficult to see the peaks in the distance in the photos, so we’ll go with a few close-ups. The summit of Iron Mountain boasts a 360 degree view.

These are the Three Sisters, three volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range/Cascade Volcanic Arc. They are the 3rd, 4th, and 5th highest peaks in Oregon, each over 10,000 feet in elevation.

Iron Mountain Hike Three Sisters @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Then Mount Washington, an eroded shield volcano in the Cascades. 7,794 feet.

Iron Mountain Hike Mount Washington @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And Mount Jefferson, a stratovolcano also in the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the second highest mountin in Oregon at 10,497 feet.

Iron Mountain Hike Mount Jefferson @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Finally, Mount Hood (below right), a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, northern Oregon. It’s the highest mountain in Oregon at 11,240 feet and apparently "one of the loftiest mountains in the nation due to its prominence."

And Mount Adams (tiny distant center), a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the second highest mountain in Washington at 12,280 feet.

Iron Mountain Hike Mounts Hood and Adams @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Three Sisters and Washington in the distance:

Iron Mountain Hike Summit View @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

There is a lovely platform at the summit with benches, a map, and railings. We all sat and ate together while enjoying the view.

Iron Mountain Summit Platform @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain Hike Summit Cloaks @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain Hike Wildflowers and Rocks @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

In the picture below, notice the tiny thread of road on the left. To give you a sense of the height we climbed, we crossed that road on foot at the beginning of our hike.

Iron Mountain Hike Tiny Road @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After a relaxing time with friends in the sunshine at the summit, we began the descent.

Iron Mountain Hike Descending @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Holly and I spent more time looking at flowers on the way down.

Iron Mountain Hike Indian Paintbrush @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain Hike White Wildflowers @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I loved the different shapes of white flowers. The leaf pattern above left is my favorite.

Iron Mountain Hike White Wildflower @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

When we finished the hike, we stopped off at our favorite campground to picnic, wash off the dust, and be refreshed. What a beautiful day with friends.

Iron Mountain Hike House Rock Swim @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain House Rock Luke Swim @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIron Mountain Hike House Rock @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer School ~ Beazell Memorial Forest (Hike #10!)

Beazell Memorial Forest @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Hike #10! We had a frustrating morning with missing keys and whiny children—then a beautiful drive with hard rock music blasting through the speakers in the truck since Holly and Ivy weren’t with us.

The Kings Valley area is gorgeous. The Renaissance faire we attend each year is just past this trailhead.

Beazell Memorial Forest is easy to find and has a great parking lot, no parking fees, and nice bathrooms. Win! Plus we were only a few minutes late, even with the missing keys (thanks, Mom, for rescuing us).

The historical Plunkett House is near the entrance. It was built in 1875.

The Plunkett House @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I took this next picture to memorialize the 20 seconds that one son was being kind to another and helping him with his pack.

Beazell Brothers @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This was our hiking crew (Holly, Heather, Christina, and I with kids—obviously I’m behind the camera). You can see my son in front with the cheerful attitude. We were having shoe issues. And I think Lola is sticking out her tongue.

Beazell Hiking Crew @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We had a bit of trouble figuring out where we were going because there are several loops in this area. We took the South Ridge Trail to the South Meadow Loop up to the summit. It was a rough uphill climb. We’ve completed several uphill climbs but not recently, and this one felt really tough. It wasn’t a long hike up and I’m not sure what the elevation gain was because the hiking sites don’t agree. It was warmer than usual (upper 70s), and I don’t think I had my normal energy levels to draw from.

I’m not sure which is the best site to use for information—AllTrails (Plunkett Creek Loop, South Ridge), The Right Trail (I like that this site shows a better map and allows the user to click on different loops), or Oregon Hikers.

Beazell Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The views were nice at the top, though not particularly spectacular. We were supposed to have views of Marys Peak where we hiked a few weeks ago, but I’m not sure where it was. At least we had blue skies!

Beazell View @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The general atmosphere was gorgeous, though, and a little different from the other hikes we’ve been on.

Beazell Hiking @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The shady downhill hike (I think we returned to the South Ridge trail then met up with the Plunkett Creek Loop Trail) was fabulous. We took the inside half of the loop closest to the creek. I’d highly recommend just the Plunkeet Creek Loop Trail for a lighter hike, especially for those with young kids. Very beautiful.

Plunkett Creek @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This brought us to a bridge crossing the creek and depositing us back at the parking lot, but we stopped for quite some time at the bridge to picnic together and let the kids play in the water. It was a lovely and refreshing end to what started out as a difficult hike.

Beazell Bridge Picnic @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Christina and Heather had to leave and my boys were done, but Holly, Ivy, Lola, and I finished with the remaining short trail, The Bird Loop. The day was really heating up (go ahead and laugh at me, friends with 100 degree weather), and there was less shade on that trail, but I’m glad to say we did it.

Plunkett Creek Bridge @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Whew. We have one more hike planned for next week, and it’s going to be a doozy. I may have to leave Lola home for that one. After that, we have a busy July planned (July 4th, summer camp for Luke, CiRCE conference for me, and a week of camping with family and friends) and no official hiking days. We’ll see if we decide to add in more hikes over the summer!

Stay tuned for Oregon Coast pictures from Father’s Day!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lola’s New Favorite: Jenny and the Cat Club!

Jenny and the Cat Club @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I’m thrilled to have a child in the Jenny and the Cat Club stage again! These were Luke’s favorites, and now Lola is devouring them.

Books that help transition kids from early readers to chapter books are hard to find—especially quality transition books—but these books by Esther Averill are the best of the best.

Meet Jenny and her Cat Club:

The Cat Club @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Jenny Linsky is a small black orphan cat. She lives with the kind Captain Tinker, who knitted her a red woolen scarf. When she is too shy to join the Cat Club, in which each cat has a clever skill, Captain Tinker makes her a pair of silver ice skates and gives them to her on Christmas Eve. When all the other cats see her skating, they are enchanted and invite her to be a member of the Cat Club.

Jenny and the Cat Club is a selection of shorter stories: The Cat Club, Jenny’s First Party, When Jenny Lost Her Scarf, Jenny’s Adopted Brothers, and How the Brothers Joined the Cat Club. Each two-page spread has at least one small illustration, and the pictures are darling. Each cat has oodles of personality. The tender and quirky stories are accessible for young children, but they are beautifully written and full of wonderful vocabulary.

In the second story, Jenny’s First Party, readers meet Pickles, the Fire Cat. If younger readers have the good fortune to read The Fire Cat by Averill when they are in the early readers stage, they will be delighted to meet Pickles again in The Cat Club. Lola was so excited to see Pickles that she went back to The Fire Cat and discovered that Jenny appeared in a picture in that book as well!

Jenny and the Fire Cat @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The Cat Club was originally published in 1944, and it is still charming readers today! The New York Review Children’s Collection hardback books are lovely. Check out The Hotel Cat, The School for Cats, Jenny’s Moonlight Adventure, Jenny Goes to Sea, and Captains of the City Streets also in the collection.

We seemed to have missed adding Jenny’s Birthday Book to our collection, so I can’t wait to give it to Lola on her next birthday.

Jenny should be on every child’s bookshelf!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer School ~ Alsea and Green Peak Falls

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Hike #9!

We hiked the Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls Trail with a crew of 24. It was in the upper 50s and overcast, but that made for more lovely pictures. [grin]

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Hiking Crew @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The above picture is Alsea Falls, which is close to the Alsea Falls Day-Use Area where we started. We then hiked to Green Peak Falls, which was more confusing that we expected. The trail was beautiful, though.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Hikers @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

In our confusion, we ended up at this steep mud hill (much steeper than it looks), which may be a highlight for the kids.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Mud Hill @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

So lush.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Ferns @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


Alsea and Green Peak Falls Tree @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

More climbing.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Tree Climbing @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

More beautiful trail.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Trail @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And (hallelujah, we were on the right trail) the beautiful Green Peak Falls. And Levi drama.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls GP @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This is the steep trail up to the top of the falls. [I noticed smudges on my camera lens at the end of the hike. My poor camera takes so much abuse. It was swinging around my neck as I hauled myself up this trail using the rope. But smudged pictures are better than no pictures.]

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Rope Climbing @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

A closer view of Levi.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Drama @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


Alsea and Green Peak Falls Wildlife @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

More climbing.

Alsea and Green Peak Climbing the Falls @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

More climbing.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Hike Up @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The view from the top of the falls.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Top View @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I don’t know if these kids know how lucky they are.

Alsea and Green Peak Falls Luke @ Mt. Hope Chronicles