Sunday, August 6, 2017

biking Banks-Vernonia and water play at Elk Creek

After my last blog post about the sweetness of the kids' relationship this summer, they degenerated into bickering and arguing and yelling the last few days. To be fair, we have been trapped inside by the combination of 100 degree heat and toxic air quality (wildfires burning in Oregon and BC), and tempers were short. (Mine too.)

So today, we loaded up the car with bikes, lunch, snacks, towels, and swim suits, and headed out for adventure. We first biked the Banks-Vernonia trail from the Manning trailhead to the frog pond in Stub Stewart - about 13 miles round trip, uphill all the way out. I was so proud of Liesl for making it all on her own, and so happy she has her new bike with gears to help her out. We picnicked and then coasted all the way back to our car.
From Banks, we drove east to Elk Creek in the Tillamook forest, one of our favorite spots to splash and play. We walked half a mile and then climbed down to the rocks and stream, delighting in the cold water, and chasing our ball as it burbled along.
This bridge is a recent addition to the existing trail system in the Tillamook Forest. On the one hand, I'm happy to see our trails being maintained and improved. But it was something of a shock to all of us to see a big manmade structure in the middle of what we thought of as our family wilderness swimming hole. We quickly turned downstream, away from it.
At 3, tired and happy, we drove back home and had Sunday crappy dinner with the Hoangs. (Truly crappy hosting: they beat us to our house, and Anne and I had to make an emergency run to the grocery store for dinner supplies because our fridge was bare.) But then there were bacon avocado cheeseburgers with all the fixings, corn on the cob, a Caesar-ish salad, and homemade mint chip ice cream. Happy Sunday.

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