Next on our trip, and the main point of our trip, was Yosemite. What an amazing park to visit! We were there during the wildfires, so we were not able to visit Tuolumne Meadows, which, of course, means that we will need to go back. (And I can’t wait!) We were able to visit most of the park though and we saw some beautiful sights. We enjoyed visiting when most kids were back to school, because the park wasn’t as full, however, we hope to make it back sometime when the waterfalls are at their peak.

One thing that impressed me about Yosemite is that it is so big. I don’t mean big, I mean gargantuan. When we drove to Mariposa Grove, it seemed like it took a couple of hours to get there. It kept going and going.  The views though are what are so impressive. I don’t know how else to describe them other than that the views are big. They are so impressive.

Now for some photos.

Mariposa Grove

Big Root Ball - Mariposa Grove


Grizzly Giant is a Sequoia that is between 1900 and 2400 years old and, as is obvious, has survived many forest fires.

Half Dome and other sightings from Glacier Point

A Happy Little Girl

Half Dome at Sunset 1

Half Dome at Sunset 2

Four Mile Loop Trail

A Tree in the Forest

Valley Floor Loop Trail

Taking a Walk in Yosemite Valley

Resting After a Hike

El Capitan

El Capitan

The kids also earned their Junior Ranger Badges at Yosemite. Even Baby got a badge.

Really there aren’t words to describe how beautiful Yosemite is. I think people who live and work there must be better people just for the view that they inhale every day. It just does something for your soul.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” ~John Muir

Oregon Coast

To get in the mood for school this year, we took the first week of September and did some amazing sight seeing. I have finally uploaded the pictures to my computer, so this week I will share about the different places that we were able to visit. Enjoy!

Well, the first day we spent driving, and we have no pictures to show for that, I s’pose, we should have taken some tail light pictures, but we just enjoyed (for the most part) each other’s company and the fun of feeding a family of six in the car. (Did I say messy?)

The second day, we spent a bunch of time playing at the beach—playing in the sand, running in the waves, watching the birds (and the other people) and, of course, taking pictures.

Kids Waiting for the Waves at the Oregon Coast

My honey and I walking the Oregon Coast

Most Photographed Lighthouse on the Oregon Coast


We visited the Sea Lion Caves. That’s where the above picture was taken. I’m sad to say that we were a bit disappointed in them. I was bummed, because I had visited them as a child, and had such strong memories of the place, but it turned out to be smaller than when I was kid and not as interesting either.

After that, we spent the rest of the day, driving, driving and driving some more.

We ran into a snag that night. I had packed with the intention that, we would do laundry twice during the trip. That night was supposed to be my first chance, but the wash machine didn’t work at our hotel. Oh, no. Well, a little planning, and I thought we’d make it okay through our next few days of camping, as long as the toddler didn’t have any accidents and  nobody fell into anymore water. (Everybody under the age of 20 had to have a complete change after playing at the beach.) But that was only the beginning of our laundry woes.

Forget the laundry woes, the trip kept getting better from there.

Pike Place Market

Okay, I have a reputation of posting things that happened a long time ago, because I’m just now getting around to posting them on my blog. I have a few of those, from the summer (and older), but I just have to post a few of the photos to my blog, because I love them. So here it goes.

Awhile back, (I’m not telling how long ago, that would be embarrassing) we visited the Pike Place Market for the first time. Well, honestly, I’m vegetarian and I can’t stand the smell of fish. (Sorry, if that’s your favorite food.) So while, I’ve gone close to Pike Place before, I’ve always steered clear. But we had family visiting, so we decided that it would be good to take them to Seattle to see the landmarks of Seattle. Pike Place was the place of choice. You know what? I had a blast, and I didn’t even smell the fish all the time. (I did some of the time, and I just buried my face in my collar.)

The first couple of pictures will probably give away when we were there. There were the most beautiful bunches of tulips. It was amazing.

Pike Place Tulips

Pike Place Tulips (2)

And check out the produce. Wouldn’t you love to have that around the corner from your house, so you could run pick up some of that produce whenever you felt the need. I would. My mouth watered at the sight of that. Well, it would have if I hadn’t been able to smell the fish right then.

Pike Place Produce

Pike Place Produce (2)

And yes, there was fish. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of the famous fish throwing, but that was partly because I kept my distance from that part of the market.

Pike Place Fish

Fish and all, I really enjoyed it Pike Place Market. I want to go back. (I will wear a turtleneck even if it’s summer so that I can bury my nose.) It is just a really neat experience. I saw all kinds of local made crafts, photography, soaps, candles, canned foods, you name it. It was a fun place to visit.

Animals in Everglades National Park

Of course, birds are our favorite to see in new places, but we saw some very interesting animals too. Reptiles definitely ruled the day. We saw very few mammals. I’m not sure if we saw any mammals while we were in the Everglades National Park. We couldn’t even think of any squirrels that we saw there. Oh, I remember now, we saw some dolphins. We weren’t able to identify which kind though.

Here are a few pictures we caught. (Captions: Top-American Alligator; Middle-Congregation of Alligator Hatchlings; Bottom-American Crocodile)

American Alligator

Congregation of Allegators

American Croc

Here is our list from Everglades of non-bird animals that we saw (both reptiles and mammals.)

American Alligator (and a congregation of hatchlings)

American Crocodile

Florida soft-shell turtle (in pond)

Common Snapping Turtle

Unidentified Sea Turtle

Unidentified Dolphin

Birds in the Everglades National Park

We were very excited to take some time to visit the Everglades National Park. We left the rainy Pacific Northwest to soak up some much needed Vitamin D and whatever else we gain from real sunshine.

We saw so many things at the park, that we just can’t find in the Northwest that it was a real thrill. We went on a (long and slow) canoe trip in search of manatee and other mangrove swamp wildlife. We saw—drum roll—a Great Blue Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. I don’t know if you can hear a little disappointment in my voice—both of those birds live in the Northwest. And, besides that, we had already seen a Belted Kingfisher between every pair of telephone poles along the highway. Oh, well, it was nice to get some sun. (And actually, we rarely see the Kingfishers around here, so I rather like them.)

Okay, for real, we did see a lot, but most of it was just along the side of the road.

Here are a few pictures that we managed. As always, there are a few pictures we wish we would have gotten of exciting things we saw, such as the Rosette Spoonbill. But we got some pictures that we are pretty excited about too.

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron with his fish

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Green Heron

Green Heron watching intently for his next fish

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret checking his hairdo in the mirror.

Great Egret

Great Egret standing pretty

American White Ibis

White Ibis protecting her nest


Cormorant with swimmer’s hair.

All of these pictures were taken at Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park. And most of them were actually taken while we were waiting on the very slow process of getting through the ticket booth. It was an amazing stop that day. If you’re a birder, and in that area, I highly recommend the stop.

Last, but not least, I want to show our very special bird that we got to see on this trip. We were all hoping that we could see this bird on this trip. It is quite rare and, oh so pretty. Check out the feet on this guy. We saw it at the same location.

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

Here is our bird list from the Everglades

Purple Gullinule Northern Mockingbird
Pied-billed Grebe Glossy Ibis
Green Heron Cormorant
Black-crowned Night Heron Rosette spoonbill
American Crow Black vulture
Little Blue Heron Turkey vulture
Anhinga Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret Great Egret
Great Egret White Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron Blue-winged Teal
Belted Kingfisher Green-winged Teal
Tri-color Heron Common Grebe
White Ibis American Coot
Common Gallinule Fish Crow
Cardinal Osprey

Mt. Rainier

This should have been posted awhile ago, but we all need to be reminded at this time of year, what the wildflowers looked like this summer, right?
These are from a trip that we took to Mt. Rainier in August.

G'tums at Mt. Rainier
A rose among wildflowers!

I love the great outdoors!“I love the great outdoors!”

The CrewThe Crew

Trail through Paradise to Mt. RainierThe trail

Mt. Rainier is getting shorterThe Mountain — well, a little bit of it, anyway

Wildflowers at Paradise at Rainier National Park
The wildflowers

Western Anemone at Mt. Rainier
Western Anemone

Magenta Paintbrush
Magenta Paintbrush

Alpine Aster
Alpine Aster

Wildflowers - Lupine, Broadleaf Arnica
Lupine and Broadleaf Arnica

Rosey Spirea
Rosey Spirea

Baby looking to see what's over there
“What do I see?”


Nice Lighting
I don’t know what this is, but I just thought the lighting was neat.

Talk about a eye-candy. We definitely got it that day. The colors were in every hue, kind of like the inside of a gum-ball machine, oh wait, it was way better than that.

Mt. Shuksan

We’ve been exploring in the mountains again! For a long time, my husband and I have wanted to visit Mt. Shuksan. My grandparents had a six foot painting of Mt. Shuksan hanging in their living room the whole time I was growing up, and when I learned that this same mountain was within driving distance, I wanted to see it for real. A couple of days ago, we were finally able to make the trip. My parents also were able to go with us, so my mom was also able to see in real life the painting that she had enjoyed in her parents’ home for a long time.

Here is my favorite picture. Now you might see why I so badly wanted to go. Is that stunning or is that stunning? This actually is the same perspective that my grandparents’ painting was.

Mt. Shuksan

I have several pictures of Mt. Shuksan, taken from two different little lakes that reflected it’s image. So if you’d enjoy seeing the rest, here is the link. I think, it’s worth your time to check the rest of them out, personally.

While we were there, we enjoyed a picnic and this was the view from our picnic table. The autumn colors are just exquisite, I think.

Fall Colors

We also went on a hike called the Chain Lakes Trail. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the hike, because we had an appointment in the evening. I guess this means we’ll just have to go back. (I can’t wait!) The fall colors along the trail were in all of their glory. Here are few shots from the trail. (The mountain in the first picture is Mt. Baker.)

Mt Baker from Chain Lakes Trail

Autumn on Chain Lakes Trail

And last but not least, is a picture of our three tireless hikers.

The three speedy hikers on Chain Lakes Trail

There are so many more beautiful photos on my Mt. Shuksan flickr set. If you have a minute to take a visit, you’ll enjoy them. I promise. If you live within any sort of driving distance of the North Cascades, I highly recommend a visit to Mt. Shuksan. I’ve heard it said that it is the best kept secret in Washington State.