Friday, June 24, 2011

Twin Falls with Hana

Twin falls, sometimes referred to as upper snoqualmie falls, is a pretty waterfall in North Bend, WA. We tried to hike it with our friend Liz last March, but it started hailing on us after about 20 minutes in. I'd been sick recently and knew that getting drenched in the hail couldn't be good for my health. And since we had no idea when the trail would end, we decided to turn around.

I later looked it up on the internet and saw that it was only a 1.5 mile hike each way, so we'd actually gotten reasonably close to it before we'd turned back. I've been wanting to visit again and finish up the hike, but we never got around to it last year, and this year's weather has been awful. Sundays and Mondays are Oscar's days off, and even though we'd had a few nice days here and there, they were never on Sunday or Monday.

After weeks of waiting, there was finally nice weather predicted for a Sunday (May 1st! Crazy, huh?! All the way until May for our first nice Sunday or Monday). I'd promised my sister that Oscar and I could take our niece Hana for the weekend, and since it was rated as a good hike for kids, we decided to take her with us. The hike was super crowded! The line of cars went back nearly a half mile. I thought there must be a party or event happening at the site, but I guess everybody else in Seattle was just excited to get out on a sunny day.

I like the way the waterfall's base almost looks like feet standing out of the water.

We also hiked the additional .2 miles to middle falls

as well as to upper falls.

It would be a pretty view of the valley if there weren't so many trees in the way.

Oscar and I were fully prepared for Hana to get tired during the hike, and I assumed she would struggle most when it was steep and uphill. Interestingly enough, the uphill really didn't bother her much at all. She didn't get tired until we were on our way back going downhill on an easy incline and towards the end when it flattened out. We let her chill out by the river and sit on this rock until she was ready to go on. I think it was the overall distance that was more tiring to her than the incline. For a 6 year old with short legs, our 3.5 mile hike was more like doing an 8 mile hike for an adult. Go Hana! We continued the hike after she rested and took turns piggy-backing Hana for as long as we could.

This viewpoint (which is much better when seen with your eyes than in pictures) is the first you can see of the falls as you go along the hike. If there weren't trees blocking the view, I'd actually prefer it to the main lookout since you can also see the upper falls along with the bigger drop.

If you continue an additional several miles along the trail, it will ultimately take you to Weeks falls. But since you can also reach it by car, there's really little point to continuing unless you're looking for a longer hike. We ended up just driving to it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tulip Festival, Granite Falls, and 22 Creek Falls

Every year Mount Vernon, a city about an hour north of us, holds a tulip festival. This was the first year we were able to make it. Aren't they pretty?

I really liked these tulips. It's as if red cabbage asked a fairy godmother to make itself pretty. :)

This was a nifty bush. I'm not sure what it's called.

I like how the sign says "please don't tiptoe through the tulips."

I loved all of the different colors on these flowers. I had no idea tulips came in so many different varieties. I generally only picture tulips as pink or white.

Outside of the garden you can see row upon row of tulip plants.

On our way back from Mt Vernon, we stopped in Granite Falls, WA to see the waterfall the city takes its name from.

We then drove to 22 Creek and did a hike to see the waterfall there.

It seems like a decent waterfall, but it was difficult to photograph.

Our book said there were some side paths to get closer views, but either we missed them or they were covered in snow.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Christmas in Utah and Temple Square

It'd been several years since I'd had a Christmas in Utah, and even more since I'd been down to see the lights at Temple Square. Though my Utah time was extremely limited this past trip, I made sure we went down to see it.

They're doing so much more with it these days. I don't remember any of this from before. They used to just decorate the area in Temple Square itself. Now they decorate the area around the Joseph Smith Memorial building as well.

I like the nativity scene in the middle of the fountain.

The Salt Lake temple always looks lovely, but especially so at night.

I love all these additional decorations they've added since I was here last.

Here's my uncle Mitch in front of the Assembly Hall.

The clock tower looked cool.

Here I am with mom and dad and dad and uncle Mitch.

We watched the presentation of the nativity in the area between the Tabernacle and the Visitor's Center.

And these were the lights we saw on our way out by the Joseph Smith Memorial building.

These are statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

And a cute pic of me next to this big tree of red lights.

Next we drove down Santa Claus Lane.

My grandpa used to take my mom down this street every Christmas, and she kept up the tradition with us.

Each house along the street has a verse and/or picture of the Christmas story found in the New Testament in the book of Luke.

And here's the only picture I took on Christmas day. My mom's had these reindeer as far back as I can remember. Here she is giving my niece Emma a ride on one of them.