Category: family

The Boiling River

I am finally writing about our favorite parts of our trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. Here is the first place we loved.

When researching the things I wanted to see in Yellowstone, I did what every girl in her twenties would do: I searched Pinterest for every pin even remotely related to Yellowstone. Of course, I created a board to gather all my pins and spent way more time than I’d like to admit searching and reading all the blog posts about the coolest spots and best things to do with a family in the park. Through my search, I found a lot of pictures of people swimming in hot springs in this place called the Boiling River. I knew this was one place I really wanted to explore.

north entranceThe Boiling River is actually part of the Gardiner River. This river is located almost at the North Entrance of the park. Just a little past Fort Yellowstone (If you are coming from the south). There is a little parking area, which will most likely be full of tons of cars, many have to park on the other side of the road or anywhere they can find. It is pretty well packed for a hot springs in the middle of the summer. Once you park, there is a half-mile trail that you must hike to get to the pool, but it is pretty easy and well-maintained.

boiling river1So, How does it work? How are you able to swim in the scalding hot water? Well, at part of the Gardiner River, the boiling hot water from the Boiling River flows into the freezing cold Gardiner River. The water mixes to create a nice hot bath area. Now, don’t be fooled. There are spots where the rushing cold water will get you, while other spots will shoot out really hot water. So, be careful. Rocks have been strategically placed to give a nice wading area. So, the fast rushing river doesn’t take you downstream. Be sure to wear water shoes (those rocks hurt) and don’t put your head underwater (there are signs everywhere telling you not to do this, even though many didn’t listen) since you could get sick from the exposure.

IMG_4604 IMG_4594We enjoyed the nice warm water. Although, I think I would enjoy it more in the fall or spring, when it isn’t too hot outside. But hey, who would ever turn down a chance to swim in a hot spring in Yellowstone?

a look back . . .

I have been going through all our old photo creating our photobook from our first year of marriage. It’s been great looking through all our pictures, reliving the events of that year. I really can’t believe all that we did in the first year of our marriage. We began with our honeymoon, I completed student teaching and graduated from college, and we moved from San Diego to Kansas City. Zach started his Master’s and I began life in the workforce. We also adopted our beautiful Kona Bear that year as well. I can’t believe how tiny she was when we brought her home. What a fun year!
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This is our favorite hike in the Elkhorns.

DSC_0678It is a beautiful trail that follows along the mountainside, over creeks, through the trees, and lands at a gorgeous mountaintop lake. What is also great about this hike is that it is quick. It only takes about 1.5 miles to get in, so round trip is only 3 miles. We have been waiting for the snow to melt all spring and summer so we could finally hike this amazing trail. Luckily, when we got back from our cruise most of the snow on the mountains was gone, so we knew we could make it. crawfish1crawfish2

Crawfish Lake

Where: In the Elkhorns, on Anthony Lakes HIghway, about 15 minutes past Anthony Ski Lodge.

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easycrawfish3

crawfish4crawfish5We took Kona with us. She had a blast leaping over the fallen trees, prancing through the meadows, and soaking in the creeks. She sure did get dirty, so a bath was necessary immediately following the hike. She also had fun swimming in the lake. The bad part being that all the fish/bird poop liked to gather at the edges of the lake, well she would roll around in it, covering herself in it, then shake it all off . . . on Ash and I who were sitting near by. This was a lesson we did not need to be taught: never sit down near the edge of the lake while your dog rolls around in fish poop. We stunk!

crawfish6The hike was great. It was nice to go up yesterday morning and take some alone time. We are going to be busy the next few weeks. We are headed on a mission trip to LA Wednesday, then once we get back, we immediately head to Yellowstone for another week. It has been a crazy eventful summer, but we are enjoying every minute of it. Especially, when we can take some time to do things like this with each other as well.

still cruisin’

Here are the rest of the highlights from the trip.

We were on Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean Ship.

We stopped in three ports: Bahamas, St. Thomas (St. John), and St. Maarten.

I did not get a picture of everyone with my camera, we did get pictures taken on the ship. Hopefully I can show those pictures at a later time. It was a blast. I loved having all our family there to enjoy this time together. We have the greatest Grandma in the world!


gone cruisin’

Here are the first batch of pictures from our cruise to the Caribbean.
DSC_0002I loved watching the water crash against the side of the ship and the path that the ship left in its tracks.
DSC_0059imageHe loved the balcony and hanging out with Grammy and Papa in their stateroom.DSC_0084Our huge cruise ship waiting in St. Thomas. DSC_0102On our crazy boat ride to St. John’s island. DSC_0116Trunk Bay, the ocean we swam in, is named one of the three top beaches in the world. And you could see why. Ash was able to get his passport stamped at his first national park: US Virgin Islands. DSC_0147Someone had their first swim in the ocean . . . and only the best beaches for this little guy. DSC_0190image (1)Someone got to ride the carousel for the first time on the cruise ship.DSC_0029and he loved playing around with all our family . . . especially since he was the center of attention. DSC_0065

to our daddy

Here are some important things you need to know about this daddy:


First, and most important of all, he loves God and daily shows this through his love and devotion to me and our little guy. This guy will sing any crazy song, complete with any crazy dance if it will make our little one laugh. He will play on the floor for hours, making funny faces, talking with all sorts of sounds and pitches, and lets the little one pick, prod, and pinch him as he climbs all over him. No diaper is too smelly (ok, maybe some are) and no food is too messy for him. He is not afraid to make a meal or clean up the house when I am stuck in the bedroom trying to get some studying done. He is the greatest encourager and best friend anyone could ever ask for. I thank God daily for the greatest gift God has ever given me.

I have watched this guys dedication to keep food on the table, warmth in this house, and love in our hearts. I have never seen someone who continually projects Christ’s love to everyone, and who daily exemplifies it to our son like him. He is honest, kind, easy going, always happy, and incredibly smart.


I am excited to watch our happy little guy begin to mimic and follow him around. I can’t wait to see what an awesome man our little guy will turn out to be because of his amazing dad.

Thanks for making us the happiest, most loved people in the world. We love you!


During our time here in Eastern Oregon, we have been in search of new and beautiful hikes. We have a guide book that we really enjoy, but many of the hikes we like are not in that book. We have searched online through blogs and websites, but there are not that many people who document their favorite hikes, at least not in Eastern Oregon. So, we thought it would be nice to document the hikes we go on to let others know of some of the great hiking options Eastern Oregon offers. 

Where: Cornucopia, about 12 miles outside of Halfway, Oregon

Distance: About 4.5 miles round trip (to the waterfall and back)

Difficulty: Easy

Today we traveled to the ghost town Cornucopia for our hike. This town was once a booming town when gold was found there in the 1880s. The town was bustling with miners for years, until the mine finally closed in 1941. It has been sitting as a remembrance to that time ever since.

DSC_0393 DSC_0395 DSC_0399Right before the cutoff to the town, you take a right turn on a road that leads to a packing station. About 100 yards down the dirt road is a place to stop and park. From here we followed an old mining road that trails the river. The run-off from the snow made it difficult to find the trail at first. We followed the direction from the GPS and the descriptions in our guide book, but realized that we needed to cross what we thought was the river to the trail. Once we found the trail, we followed the path chasing the curves of the river, crossing over a few foot bridges, all the while keeping an eye out for the cascading waterfall.

DSC_0412 DSC_0420 DSC_0427 DSC_0437 DSC_0435It was interesting to see remnants of old mining equipment just left throughout the trail. The old rusted pieces of metal were burnt orange and darting out throughout our hike. This trail is positioned in the southern part of the Eagle Caps. About 5,000 feet up into the forest. IMG_3949

Overall it was an easy hike, once we found our way. It is about a 4.5 mile hike round trip. Our hike ended at the waterfall. The trail continues on, so we had to off-road it to the edge of the cliff that overlooks the falls. Unfortunately, with all the brush and placement of the trail, it was difficult to get a great view of the falls. The best place we found was at the top of the falls, watching the water plummet 40 feet into a blue pool below. The pictures really do not do it justice, unable to show the strength of the water, as well as the beauty. DSC_0444 DSC_0442 DSC_0448

A camping we will go

We have been waiting all winter long for summer, nice warm weather, the snow to be melted, and a chance to go camping. Since Bri had a four day weekend, we knew this was the perfect opportunity. All week the weather got warmer and warmer. By Thursday the outlook said it would be sunny and 88 degrees. So, we headed out. IMG_3833

We knew the mountains closest to us would still have snow and temperatures that drop into the thirties at night. With Asher, we knew we wanted to find a place that would stay relatively warm at night. So, after a little bit of searching, we found a campsite that looked nice in Ukiah, Oregon. This little town is about 2 hours Northwest from us. There are two ways to get there, taking the main freeway and then cutting across (not a very pretty drive), or to take the backroads through the Blue Mountains (a very pretty drive). We weren’t sure about the snow and if the backroads would be cleared yet, since we know the road up and around Anthony Lakes is not yet open for the season. We decided on the safer route. IMG_3851

Earlier Friday morning we noticed that the weather forecast had changed to 30% chance of rain. Now, the weather forecasters never seem to care about even trying to be accurate when predicting the weather in Eastern Oregon. So, we never can rely on the weather forecasts. It didn’t seem like it would rain when we packed up, so we continued without a care in the world. Well, the moment we pulled out of the garage, the drops began to fall.

It poured until we got there. Then it stopped as we pulled into our campsite. We quickly put up the tent, set up our bed, and got Asher inside before it once again began to rain. It rained without a break until about 7:30. We spent a few hours playing Phase 10, reading, and keeping Asher occupied with toys and selfies. We sure were glad Ash is only 6 months old, having a toddler would be a completely different experience. We probably would have packed up and gone home. IMG_3813IMG_3800

Luckily, the rain really died down after 7:30. We were getting worried we wouldn’t be able to eat dinner. We were able to get out and make dinner, and Zach even got a chance to do a little fishing before the day ended. We finished the evening with a movie on the laptop (which was smart to bring, since it was too wet to make a fire). IMG_3822 IMG_3830

This morning we got up, Zach started a fire, while I made us breakfast. Ash and I even got to watch Zach do some more fishing (even if the fish weren’t biting). There wasn’t any hiking around our campsite, so we decided to head home via the backroads after asking a forest ranger if the roads were clear. IMG_3854

Only in Oregon, would there be highways that are not paved. So, for about 40 miles we traveled a windy, desolate, one-lane gravel road. At times there were giant potholes and fallen trees in our route. It was a beautiful ride. We passed over a few summits, followed a fast-flowing river, and saw many mines. At the end of the road we reached Olive Lake. This was a surprise to us because we were originally planning on camping here with some friends, but the snow blocked the entrance a week ago. We knew they were going to try to get in anyway, so we decided to stop to see if they did. The snow had diminished a lot in the last week, so we easily made the trek up to the lake. It is a beautiful lake that we can’t wait to camp at this summer. IMG_3849IMG_3852

We ended the trip with a stop in Sumpter. They have a huge flea market here every year. We haven’t been since we came out for our interview two years ago. We met up with some friends, walked around, and got some kettle corn. All in all, it was a successful trip full of fun, friends, family, and funny faces!IMG_3846

just keep drivin’

So this past weekend we went on drive up Marble Creek Rd. Ever since Zach got his Explorer, we have been waiting for the weather to get nice and the snow to melt so we can go drive up some crazy dirt roads. We have been wanting to take this trek up Marble Creek Rd to a couple of trailheads. So, since it was such a nice day on Saturday, and I wanted to try out my new hiking shoes (my birthday present from Zach), we packed Asher and Kona in the car and headed out.

DSC01501It was a nice drive, we even rolled down the windows to feel the nice cool breeze as we traveled up the mountain. As we journeyed farther and farther, the roads became more uneven and bumpy. To the right of me the mountainside lined the road. To Zach’s left, the road plummeted to the valley below. I uneasily sank my fingers into my door handle, while Zach cheered in excitement all the way up the mountain. We jolted from side to side as we rounded corners, fought through brush, and escaped big holes left from the winter weather.

DSC01519About three miles from the top (and the trailhead), we finally reached the snow. At first it only covered one side of the road. So, Zach was able to grip the road with the two right wheels and power on through. But, as the snow widened across the road we weren’t sure whether to keep trudging along or to turn around. We decided to see what our four-wheel drive could really do.

DSC01504Well . . . we realized that although it can do a lot in snow and on the dirt roads, this road which is covered in hard, thick, ice would not let the Explorer grip. So, after quickly getting stuck, we decided to stop there. We got out, ate our lunch, and went on a little hike up the road a little farther.

DSC01499DSC01507Although we did not meet our destination, it was worth it to watch Kona run through the snow and enjoy some time out in the forest. And of course we could not leave without attempting to take a family selfie (although can you call it a selfie if there are three of us?)