Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Volcanoes and water

Max has been very into rocks, minerals, and volcanoes recently. It started with him loving mines (there's the train connection!), then rocks and shiny things from mines, then volcanoes which help make rocks in the first place. His Grandma took him to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, which just made him more excited about it all. He brought home a big mine rock that is his new bath toy.

Well, as Labor Day weekend approached, we decided we had to get in at least one more camping trip, even if we were kind of too busy. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a real live volcano is easy driving distance, but we are, so that's where we headed. Max was completely thrilled to hear that Mt. St. Helens was a real volcano, especially once we assured him it wouldn't explode while we were there.

Packing for adventure. Max chose books, card games, a xylophone, and a bucket of diggers. 
We left and camped Friday night, then spent Saturday learning all about the volcano. Our very first stop was breakfast at Patty's Place. Wow. If you end up anywhere in the area, it's worth the detour. Delicious! We even had to go back on Sunday to try the dinner menu! Yum - definitely get some cobbler.

Next up was the Forest Learning Center. Max loved this place. It has free admission, wonderful views, excellent learning exhibits, a playground, and a small gift shop. We spent several hours here and I learned an awful lot I never knew about the 1980 eruption and the forest recovery since then. Max was practically entranced at parts.

Max getting ready to come down the volcano slide right on Dad's head. 
Learning about pumice rock. It floats!
Some of the amazing exhibits at the Forest Learning Center. 
This was one of his favorites - pretending to fly a helicopter over a big diorama of the mountain and its surroundings. 
Our next stop was the Johnson Ridge Observatory and its breathtaking views of the volcano. This center does have a fee, so we stuck with the paths and views this time. And an ice cream break, 'cause man it was hot.
It's really something in person. Do this: use your fingers along the sides of the mountain to visualize where the peak used to be. That gives you a better idea of just how much material erupted. Don't mind my cute boys in the front. :) 
On Sunday we were ready to cool off a bit, so we stayed closer to camp and rented a pontoon boat from Silver Lake Resort. Those folks there were a pleasure to deal with and have row boats, canoes, and more than one size of pontoon. We went for the little one.
Matt and Max getting our boat ready for adventure. 
We had a beautiful morning out on the water. We took fishing gear, so Matt taught Max the basics of baiting, casting, and reeling. We didn't catch a darn thing except lily pads, but they had a great time. Max fed ducks, I did some knitting, we all had a picnic, and played 20 questions and I Spy.
On the water!
Max did eventually get a little bored, but mom and dad weren't ready to head back, so dad came up with the perfect diversion for a 5-year-old; learn to drive a motorboat! Max was initially a little shy, especially of the noise, but was soon driving like a pro. The only down side? I got to hear, for the rest of the weekend, "I can drive a motorboat, I don't need help with ___."
The driving pro. 
One more night of campfires, s'mores, and sleeping bags, then we headed home. I felt like I came back to even more work than I left, but it was totally worth it. I hope your summer held adventures too!

We have some Tansy Dolls adventures going on too! We'll be at the Belmont Street Fair this Saturday (9/14/2013) from noon to 7pm and we'd love to see you!

Also, Tansy Dolls is entered in Martha Stewart's American Made contest. We'd love your votes! It only takes a few seconds to sign up, and you can vote 6 times a day from now until September 13! Here's the link to vote for Tansy Dolls! We love you guys!


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