There are a number of special spots in our area that beckon us to return again and again. The Old McKenzie Highway is one of them, and yesterday we headed up the river to explore this magical place together. Due to snow, the road is closed much of the year, but it's worth the drive when it's open. It's been a few years since we've done this particular outing, so for most of the kids it was like discovering it for the first time.
|I stayed at the lookout with Poppy, Raphael, and Pearl while Erik and Peregrine hiked down to the bottom of the falls to take pictures and climb on fallen logs. I love this shot Erik got from the base of the falls.|
|Another short hike through the forest led us to Upper Proxy Falls., which tumbles into an inviting little pool. A cool breeze blowing up the path beckoned us to hurry along. |
|Framed in green, the pool empties into an underground spring, making it a peaceful place to sit and watch the kids splash and play. Pearl marched right in and promptly got soaked. The other kids all enjoyed wading and playing in the cold water.|
|Everyone was a little cooler after their dip in the pool, and the hike back to the trailhead was done in varying states of dryness and with a couple kids in their bare feet. |
|I had to strip Pearl of her wet, mucky clothes and soggy diaper. Since Peregrine had shed a layer, I made her an improvised outfit from his button up shirt. (This isn't the first time big brother's extra shirt has come in handy. I was reminded of this time I used one to make a diaper for Poppy!) |
|The kids were fantastic hikers. We took turns carrying Pearl along some parts of the trail, but everyone else scampered along the whole way with great enthusiasm.|
|The hikers triumphant! (Yes, the kids started out wearing matching shirts. By the time we got here a couple of them had changed into drier duds. Thank you Nana and Papa for these shirts! We felt so "homeschool" with all the kids matching.) |
|Hanging out in the observatory with my Pearl Girl and the Photographer Husband. I chose to leave my camera at home, and was very happy to not have it with me. Thus, all photos on this post courtesy of Erik! |
(And why yes, that is a Texture Comfy Skirt. Of course! Lives up to its name in every way, perfect for, well, pretty much every occasion!)
|My kiddos with Mount Washington in the background. I love them. (The kids, that is. I love mountains too, but this time I was talking about the kids.) |
|The lava fields are stunning as they stretch across the valley. We even spotted a couple lava tubes as we drove, but left them to explore another day.|
|I love the contrasts of this one, sunbleached tree against the dark lava field.|
We rustled up a simple dinner from the grocery store in Sisters before heading west toward home. As we drove the clouds turned orange and pink and the McKenzie River accompanied us back to the valley. We had our share of kids fighting and whining after our long day out. (I'd like to say the parents maintained perfect patience and grace in all of this, but we had our moments of frustration as well. Just to be honest.) It was dark and way past bedtime when we rolled back into our driveway, and thankfully most of the kids fell happily into bed. It was a lovely day sharing a favorite place with my "little people" and making memories we'll hold in our hearts for a long time. I was reminded of what a beautiful place Oregon is, and thankful for these days of exploring it together.