I meant to get this up right after our July vacation, and even loaded up the pictures... but lost traction. That pretty much sums up my summer, now into Fall.
We visited my family in Oregon over vacation, which always has its eating challenges. My parents eat pretty well, but now always have dessert (sweets are my weakness). My sister in Portland eats out a lot, and is still on this Atkins kick that hasn't helped her or her youngest daughter, but is probably putting her cholesterol through the roof. And in addition to the eating out, there's the eating dinner way later than my blood sugar will last.
I managed to gain only a pound during the vacation, though I've gained a few more since then, so that's something. I got a lot of exercise in, despite an unexpected assault of rain. We've never been hit with that in July before-- it rained every single one of the 4 days we were in Portland! Killed off a few plans, but we still had a good time.
At the end of our vacation, we added some sight-seeing, since the kids are older. So instead of hanging around Eugene (my parents' house) and then driving home for 8 straight hours, we went over to Crater Lake and visited that, then stayed in Klamath Falls.
And the next couple of days we visited Lassen, before coming home from there (4 hours' drive. Much better).
Lassen wasn't quite what we expected, thanks to the Winter That Would Not Leave. Our winter ran clear up to June in Northern California, including some late snow showers around June 24th. That cancelled out my son's July trip to camp, and it also changed the Lassen landscape a little.
Our plan, when we drove into Lassen the first day, was to hike Bumpass Hell (a volcanic wonderland) the following day, and then my son and I would hike Lassen peak the day after that.
Here's what Bumpass Hell (one of the highest points at Lassen) usually looks like in the summer:
Here's what it looked like on July 23rd this year:
That sure changed our plans! So instead, we hiked the Cinder Cone the following day. That was a surprisingly strenuous hike. Only 7 miles round trip, but the ascent up the side of the cone is steep, and the surface starts out being like deep sand and finishes with cinder rocks. Both are awful-- you can't push off, or you just slide backwards. You have to step forward and pull your weight up over the front leg instead. Incredible view from the top, though, in all directions.
The Cinder Cone (those antlike things are other hikers):
The top of the cone:
My son (he just turned 12 in August) is great at hiking, but not so much when there is climbing involved. Yikes. More on that in another entry...
The next day, we hiked to Devil's Kitchen. Most of the hike is meadow and forest, and then Devil's Kitchen (steam vents, mudpots, etc.) is at the end. All of Devil's Kitchen is right along a creek, and you have to wonder if anything survives downstream. It smells disgusting, and goo bleeds into the water from the geothermal emissions:
We added a spur over to Boiling Springs Lake at the end. The lake is a very placid green (except for the gray mudpots at the edges), and some areas DO boil. The trail goes all the way around the outside:
And then after that, it was into the car to go home.
I love the "getting away" part of vacations, and the lack of deadlines... but after awhile, I miss being able to have salad on demand, or eat something simple that does not come laden with a bazillion extra calories. I really envy people who don't have to worry about that, but that'll never be me...