S: 2012 WEST COAST TRIP
BC: RETURNED | LEXINGTON | JULY 17 2012
FC: 2012 | WEST COAST TRIP
1: West Coast Trip | VANCOUVER | ARRIVED 26 JUNE 2012 | was the second Trip Out West, which took place from June 26 to July 17, 2012. We visited ten national parks, six major cities, and made thousands of memories.
2: One of my favorite stops on the trip was the very first--Vancouver. We stepped out of the country for two nights as we explored Capilano Suspension Bridges, Stanley Park, and a bike ride around Vancouver Island. All parts of the city had spectacular photo opportunities, and no one wanted to leave. -Ben | V | ANCOUVER | BRITISH COLUMBIA
4: Capilano Suspension Bridge Originally built with hemp ropes with a deck of cedar planks in 1889, it has since been replaced with a wire cable bridge in 1903. The bridge stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River. The bridge swayed as we walked..a little scary!
6: CAPILANO: TREETOP ADVENTURE After we got across [the bridge], we went up to the Tree house Adventure, where we ventured across many little suspension bridges taking us from a Douglas fir tree to another that were up to ten stories above the forest floor! This gave us all great picture-perfect opportunities.
11: CAPILANO: CLIFF WALK This was an amazing walk that gave us a view that previously only eagles could capture. Everyone was a little scared, but the amazing views took the scary side away!
12: CAPILANO: CLIFF WALK This is the newest of the activities at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This heart-stopping cliffside journey takes you through rainforest vegetation on a series of unobtrusive cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River to previously unexplored areas of the park. Not for the faint of heart, it is high and narrow and, in some sections, glass (very strong glass!) is all that separates guests from the canyon far below. What a fun day!
14: Stanley Park After we stopped for lunch, we rented bikes and went on a two-hour bike ride around Stanley Park. We rode on the perimeter of the island along with runners and people on roller blades. The island is absolutely beautiful this time of year with roses in bloom everywhere we turned. The sun provided the perfect temperature-perfect that is-for a run through a sprinkler park for Christian, a tree climb for Jeremy and ice cream for all at the end!
16: NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK One of the first big waterfalls that we saw along our long drive was one of our favorites. There was a large bridge over the end of the waterfall, and on the sidewalks of the bridge were neat walkways where we could look straight down as if the sidewalk was not there. The waterfalls were spectacular and the views even better. The North Cascades N.P. has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park in the lower 48 states. More than half the glaciers in the 48 states are concentrated in this mountainous wilderness region called the Norht Cascades.
17: N | ORTH | C | ASCADES | NATIONAL PARK
19: (Left) This is a photo of us on the rocks near some white water rapids in the blue-green river at the base of the tall mountains and the open sky.The water was very calm, but then suddenly became extreme and turned into white water rapids. -Jeremy
22: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON The largest city in Washington, Seattle is home to many tourist attractions that we visited, including the Seattle Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Seattle Science Center, the Seattle Aquarium, the first Starbucks store, and much more.
23: S | EATTLE | WASHINGTON
25: Wow!!! What another great day in Seattle!!! We saw the Space Needle nice and early at apx. 9am when it opened; we were the 2nd people in the Space Needle! The view was foggy but good! After the Space Needle we went to the Public Market (a market where the people who get/ make the item sell it) and the original Starbucks and got some drinks and were happy!! We also saw the fish market where they throw fish. Then we went on the Spirit of Seattle which is a cruise ship where they show you around Puget Sound. We went to the next pier which was the Seattle Aquarium and saw jelly fish floating about, puffins swimming, and sea otters playing. After ice cream, we went to the Science Center and saw some exhibits. -Christian
26: S E A T T L E
27: A Q U A R I U M
30: O | LYMPIC | NATIONAL PARK
31: With three major ecosystems and almost a million acres, Olympic National Park is abundant with mountains, glaciers, termperate rain forests and wilderness coasts. It is one of the nation's most diverse parks. The wonders of the rainforest surrounded us all day as we drove through the park.
32: The trail to Marymere Falls was a beautiful 1.5 mile hike into the forest, for a jaw-dropping view of the 90-foot waterfall. Throughout the hike, people claimed that this was their favorite hike so far in the trip, and I agree with them. The views were breathtaking.
33: We drove out to Sol Duc Valley, where a 14-mile road lead us to our next hike. We left for a 1.6 mile round trip hike to Sol Duc Falls--a big waterfall in a small canyon. The rain didn't stop us from getting all the pictures and fun we needed. -Ben
37: OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK: RUBY BEACH Absolutely stunning! With unique rock formations, cliffs, tide pools, driftwood, crashing surf and smooth pastel stones framed by coniferous rainforest- the beach is really remarkable. Mounds of bleached driftwood seemed tossed on shore, along with a few remnants of debris from the Japan tsunami (which occurred months earlier in March). We felt like we were in a dream. Because the beach is off the beaten path, there was hardly anyone there. The beach felt alive, yet peaceful at the same time. -Mom
38: M | OUNT | R | AINIER | NATIONAL PARK
39: Mount Rainier | MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano (last erupted aprox. 150 years ago), Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous country, spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier's lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park's ecosystems. The park is approximately 97 percent wilderness.
44: This was our last hike of the day, and was our favorite one, yet. The 1.5 mile hike across the river for some up-close pictures of some of the trees of the park. Crossing a suspension bridge (see right) to get across the river, we looped around the wide variety of tree species. -Ben
46: After we wrapped up Washington, we crossed the border on the Columbia river into the wonderful state of Oregon. In this state, we visited many important parts of the trip, including Voodoo Donuts, the World's Largest Sea Lion Cave, and Crater Lake National Park--the family's favorite national park. -Ben | O | REGON | A DAY IN
48: Mom with her doughnut, called "Original Voodoo". Mom and dad got the Origional Voodoo where you can stab a pretzel through the heart in the middle where you find the blood colored- jelly inside. Ben and Christian got the Tex-ass, a HUGE doughnut about the size of an adult face! And I got the Dirty Bastard - peanut butter with chocolate! -Jeremy
50: This is a picture of the sea lions in their cove sitting on some rocks as we viewed them. The closest viewing spot, and also the best was one filled with Sea Lions! We watched them and heard them as they seemed to make groaning noises (Jeremy says that they are groaning because they are too lazy to get off of the rocks.) -Jeremy
54: CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK The family's favorite national park! No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color, sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violet volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty.
55: C | RATER | L | AKE | NATIONAL PARK
56: WOW!!! What a breath-taking day! After a breakfast for the day, we broke off right away to Crater Lake! After seeing AMAZING views we saw even better views (which is very hard to do) and better ones!!! We went around the lake as much as possible until the road was blocked off due to the 50ft of snow they get every year!!
57: The water is so blue! The water is so deep, it takes out all the other spectrums so only blue is present to the eye. Also, there are no contaminates from people or animals, and is the deepest lake in the US. -Christian
59: Dad | July 3
62: REDWOOD | California | July 4, 2012 | R | EDWOOD | NATIONAL PARK
63: REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK Redwood National Park is home to 39,000 acres of the tallest trees in the world. Redwoods can grow up to 125 meters, and 45% of the tree population is located in this park.
65: We started our exploring on Howland Hill Road which weaves a path through the center of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, showing a remarkable cluster of monster trees. The one-way, mostly unpaved road is cut into the hillside and provides a meandering drive with some nice views of the lushly-vegetated ravine below among some of the tallest trees in the world. In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the CA coast. Only after many decades of unobstructed clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began. Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90% of the original redwood trees had been logged.
67: The trees towered above our heads like skyscrapers in New York. After leaving the park, we started our three hour car ride to Redding, California. We went on many little hikes, but that was just enough to get our fill on the Redwood trees. These are the tallest trees in the world, and I'm definitely not surprised. -Ben
72: LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK The family's favorite hike--the Bumpass Hell trail--a 3.0 mile path with bubbling mud pots, sulfur vents and boiling pools. We all enjoyed the hot springs and geysers that reminded us of Yellowstone National Park last summer. | L | V | ASSEN | OLCANIC | NATIONAL PARK
74: Our first stop was at Hot Rock (below), where we saw a large rock that was carried from the explosion of a volcano! Our next stop was at Devastated Area, one of the few areas in the park where giant mud flows came down the volcanoes.
75: We went to Kings Creek where we took a 1.6 round trip to the Cold Boiling Lake. To our surprise, it was not even boiling. We decided that the park did not have much to offer, but then saw a picture of the lake and saw it bubbling! -Jeremy
76: Here is Helens Lake! (right) We saw this beautiful lake on our way to Bumpass Hell and we just had to stop to take a look. The lake was full of thin floating ice and the blue water as beautiful as ever. We took many pictures with Lassen Peak in the background.
78: We took a 3.0 mile round trip hike to Bumpass Hell next. We had to climb along the mountain-side paths, weave between trees, and climb up and down the snow piles just to follow the path. Our hike was definitely worth it for some (Jeremy, Mom, and Dad), but not to others (Ben and Christian). We came to a smelly boardwalk path that took us over hot rivers, hot springs, and mud piles. The walk was amazing and reminded us of our first Out West Trip when we visited Yellowstone, although there wasn't as many hot springs. -Jeremy
82: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA The family's favorite city on the trip had a lot in store for us, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable car museum and ride, Ghiradelli's chocolate store, Pier 39, Dad's performance debut, Lombard Street, feral parrots of Telegraph Hill, and so much more.
83: S | F | AN | RANCISCO | CALIFORNIA
87: The hills are amazingly steep!!! And Lombard St. was just uncomparable to anything else!!! Then not to mention that delicious meal of ice-cream!!!! Above is Dad in a performance. He is on the right. Dad got selected from the audience to hold up this performer; what an amazing show! Go Dad! -Christian
88: SAN FRANCISCO: CABLE CAR RIDES | We walked a few blocks to get to the cable car turnaround station, where we boarded a cable car (after a 40 minute wait). Mom said that no visit to San Fran would be complete without a cable car ride, and she was right; it was worth the wait! Jeremy, Christian and I held on to the side, while Mom and Dad sat down. When we got off the cable car, we walked uphill a lot to the Cable Car Museum. -Ben
94: YOSEMITE | National Park | July 9, 2012 | Y | OSEMITE | NATIONAL PARK
95: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK First protected in 1864, Yosemite N.P. is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias and much more. Yosemite is home to more than 400 species of vertebrates, including the Sierra Nevada red fox, black bear, and bobcat.
97: When we first entered the park, we had to cross two bridges to get back on the original road leading to the park. After we had crossed the first bridge, we realized why we had to take a detour. There was a landslide blocking the original road. -Jeremy
98: This waterfall was very tall and seemed like the waterfall turned into mist before the water touched the ground. Although we could not walk up the rocks to get a better and closer view, we still came to wonderful pictures and an enjoying time. -Jeremy
102: SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS Sequoia and Kings Canyon N.P. lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada. This landscape testifies to nature's size, beauty, and diversity - huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world's largest trees.
103: S | EQUOIA | AND | K | INGS | C | ANYON | NATIONAL PARKS
107: BOYDEN CAVERN Located roughly halfway between the Grant Grove and Cedar Grove sections of Kings Canyon, Boyden is a giant underground cavern featuring a wide range of breathtaking geological formations. Popular features include The Pancake Room, Bat Grotto, and the Drapery Room. | We got to go in a real cave! We heard about and saw lots of rocks including marble and schist. We also learned about stalagmites and stalactites. -Christian
110: The waterfalls in Sequoia National Park were incredibly gorgeous. They weren't too tall, but that's what made them incredibly easy to get lost staring at. -Ben
114: M O R O
115: R O C K
118: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA The second-largest city in the country, the City of Angels, brought a day of entertainment to the family--Cirque Du Soleil, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Boulevard, Walk of Fame, and more.
119: L | OS | A | NGELES | CALIFORNIA
120: Christina Aguilera | Whoopi Goldberg | Britney Spears | Walt Disney
121: WOW! This was probably my favorite day so far on this trip! Mostly, because we visited my (second) favorite city in the whole world--Los Angeles! Getting a late start in the morning didn't stop us from having a blast in this city. The two-hour car ride was defiantly worth it, as we started right away with the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We found so many stars; Whoppi Goldberg, Britney Spears, Elton John, Betty White (shoutout to Memere), and even Michael Jackson. After the walk of fame, we walked to the venue of the Academy Awards, for an amazing show by Cirque de Soliel, called Iris. It was very, very funny. -Ben
124: D | ISNEYLAND
125: Thanks to Mom and Dad, we were able to squeeze an extra day into the trip for Disneyland; everyone had a blast. From Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to the Jungle Cruise; from Space Mountain to the Haunted House... every part of this day made it one to remember.
132: With all of our big National Parks to visit, this National Park was probably one of our favorites. (No, Disneyland is not actually a National Park, but we are pretending it is one...we had to convince Dad...) After we went on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, one of our favorites, Splash Mountain, and more, as we were waiting to go on Space Mountain, we decided to eat by the entrance, and we got some pretzels.
136: J | OSHUA | T | REE | NATIONAL PARK
137: Joshua Tree, California | JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK The rock formations of Joshua Tree N.P. were formed 100 million years ago from the cooling of magma beneath the surface. The park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, conserving two separate desert ecosystems at different altitudes. The name of the park is derived from the distictive Joshua Tree, a tall growing variety of the yucca plant that grows prevalently within its boundaries.
140: Today was a great day!!!! Today we went to Joshua Tree National Park. It was a lot of fun. First we went to the visitor center. We then went into the desert region and saw the Joshua trees.
141: The Joshua trees were in a funny shape. We got to climb some rocks near a trail. We saw some quails, lizards, and coyotes, but sadly, no roadrunners. -Christian
144: California | SAN DIEGO
145: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA Our final stop on the three-week West Coast Trip, San Diego brought tons of fun in our last few days in California.
148: We had a great day seeing the exhibits at the zoo. Christian got his face painted and we moved on to the panda exhibit. We saw some unusual birds in the aviary and then took a double decker bus tour around the park. -Mom
150: The polar bears were very active as we saw them diving from above. The koala bears were very cute and the cheeta mom had two adorable cubs. -Mom
155: Ben got to visit his friend from sixth grade, Emmy, who moved to San Diego after sixth grade. They got to spend the day catching up on each other's lives...
156: LA JOLLA | California
160: We decided that today we would tour San Diego. We started out our touring by going to a church and taking a tour of what the religious men did back in the days to support their country by fighting Mexico in a war. The tour was spectacular and it informed us a lot. Christian volunteered to dress up like a soldier back then (right). At the end of the tour, we got to feel what it was like to search for gold in a river. To our surprise, we found a lot of actual real pricey.......FOOLS GOLD! Yes this was pyrite, of course.... but it was a lot of fun and informed us more. We then took a trolley tour all around San Diego. -Christian
162: At the end of the day after our 2 tours, the Mormons and the trolley tour, we set out for the beach. Christian and Jeremy decided to go out into the ocean and get knocked over and over again by the big waves at Mission Beach that were as tall as us. We had a lot of fun, and got sand all over us! (this was not fun). We swam at the hotel at the end of the day to celebrate the end of our West Coast 2012 Trip and we had more fun than we could ever imagine. -Jeremy