Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Call of the Wild

This past weekend, my sister in law called to see if we wanted to go on a pretty, little hike up to some geothermal pools. The weather was unseasonably warm, and I immediately had visions of fall leaves dancing in my head, so we were IN.

The scenery was beautiful, although I think we missed the best color. There were tons of leaves already on the ground. Two weeks ago the maples were probably gorgeous (note for next year).

We crossed a bridge over this scenic little river. Here is the view looking west.

And the view to the east.

We followed a smaller river up the mountain. At first, the water was clear.

But the higher up we went, the cloudier it was, and there was a definite sulfurous odor in the air.

Finally (it was a bit longer of a hike than we were expecting, especially when hauling a toddler) we reached the pools. The kids weren't afraid of smelly H2O - they wasted no time getting in.

The water was warm like a hot tub, and they had a blast sliding down the rocks and playing with cousins.

My brother in law hiked up a little bit further to scout out the other pools and came back with interesting news. Evidently bathing suits were optional up yonder. These two overheard and snuck off to check it out.

I am kidding of course - not about the nudity (that was real) but about the checking it out. This is a photo of my 4 year old and his cousin hiding behind a rock on the way back down the mountain. They thought they were being so sneaky.

Thankfully the trek back down was a little easier than the one up.

There was one UGLY glitch to this picturesque excursion. My brother in law found a harmless garden snake, so of course my eldest claimed it as his new "pet" and carried it down the mountain in his back pack. I kind of forgot about the creature until we were driving home, and all of the sudden there was screaming from the back of our minivan. The snake was out of the back pack (guess some genius thought it would be more comfortable in the back cubby box) and was not feeling too pleased about being the new family pet. I made my husband pull over and I crawled back to see what all the commotion was about. The snake was coiled up and snapping at our two eldest, and then at me. YIKES. I reached for a towel to grab it with so we could let it go, but somehow knocked the thing into the crevice on the side of the seat, and it was too dark (even with the overhead lights on) to see where it had gone. Crapola. For the next 45 minutes we all rode with our feet on our chairs - an angry vermin was slithering around somewhere down below, and it was more than a little disturbing. When we got home we went on the hunt with flash lights and couldn't find the slippery serpent anywhere. WHERE WAS IT?

That night my dreams were haunted by rabid reptilia. Every time I had to take the kids anywhere the next day, we would search before we hesitantly crawled in - but still
no sign. I was beginning to think the snake had crawled into some minuscule hole and died and pretty soon we would be smelling ''it". Nasty. However, on the following morning, I saw it curled up in the corner of our garage after taking the kids to school. I fetched some tongs and removed it to the side yard. Whew! Now we no longer have to fear our vehicle and what is living in it.

There's a new rule at our house. No wild animals. Ever. Ever. Again. No snakes. No lizards or toads. No mutant insects.
NOTHING. This mom is done.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Get thee in thy car...

'Tis officially the season of the Sunday afternoon drive. As of 4 days ago, the nearby canyons were heralding autumn in full splendor.

Oregon can't claim all the beauty.