Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mountain, Forest, Stream: A Week in Paradise

A Week in the Woods @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I’ve just returned from a six-day camping trip on a mountain, in a forest, near a stream—Cascade Mountains, Willamette National Forest, Upper Santiam River, respectively—with dear friends and family. It’s my little paradise here on earth, and I savored every moment of the week.

This trip came on the heels of a six-day trip to Austin, Texas for the CiRCE National Conference, which came on the heels of our annual family reunion. July has been our busy summer month, so I’ll have to catch you all up in a separate post.

This little spot is the same place at which I’ve been camping (with the same friends and family) since I was 5 or 6 years old. All of us feel a particular and pronounced possession. This is our climing rock, our swimming hole, our trail. We know every little path and boulder. And yet, Mother Nature has a way of surprising us every year with a fluctuating stream bed and fallen trees, among other changes.

This year we were blessed to have my whole immediate family (Russ only had to head down the mountain two afternoons to coach); Mom and Dad; Holly, Casey, and Ivy (missing Drake and Jess and Ilex!); and Shannon, Ben, Rilla, and Sweden (pictured above) along with our longest and closest family friends Mike and Debi with two of their children and families (Lindsay, Bob, Daphne, and baby Avonlea and Nate, Domini, Hudson, and Greyson). Some of my favorite people in the whole world.

The three little girls and two little boys (ages 2-6) had a blast playing together all week long. Ivy, Daphne, and Leif made a great game-playing trio. Levi was either helping with the little kids or off exploring on his own (barefooted).

A Week in the Woods Santiam Wagon Road @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We hiked and swam and ate and talked and read and laughed and roasted marshmallows and threw rocks and played games and built fires and climbed boulders and slept in (speaking for myself, anyway).

The weather was perfect all week long.

The water was just as frigid as it always is.

A Week in the Woods The Falls @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesA Week in the Woods Swimming with Littles @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesA Week in the Woods Falls @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesA Week in the Woods Hiking @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Already dreaming about next year.

A Week in the Woods Leaves @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

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