Blankenship Meadows

July 18-20 brought our crew to a 21 mile trek from Soda Springs, up Summit Creek, across the meadows, and out Indian Creek. Brooklynn was visiting from Utah and joined the fun and the Hartman crew also joined us for the adventure.

A big thanks to Nana Penning for helping us set up the car and dropping us off at the trailhead. After realizing I left my much-loved Leki poles at the house, we began hiking up Summit Creek to Jug lake and had a great lunch by the lake. We continued on and spent the first night at Fryingpan Lake. The lake was beautiful, but the site a bit gross; because of the allowed use of stock and relative proximity, it is a garbage dump for some. Despite that, we had a great time. Just as Price was about to jump in the lake for a brisk swim, we found leeches in the lake. Between that and the fact that any exposed skin immediately led to scores of mosquito bites, no swimming was attempted.

Shortly after taking off the next morning, we came to our short section of the Pacific Crest Trail, breaking off again after a mile. Well… there was that extra half mile unplanned when we missed the turnoff. But, we thought an extra half mile in 3 days was OK; it also led to our only encounter with another hiker on the trip, a PCT section hiker travelling from Chinook to White Pass. We had lunch at the smaller of the Twin Sisters lakes. The breeze kept off some of the mosquito hordes, but the relief was short-lived. The second night was spent at a beautiful spot next to the largest of the Blankenship lakes. As it cooled down at night, the bugs were slightly bearable, and the kids spent some fun time down by the lake.

The third day brought a return of mosquitoes, with a vengeance! We could scarcely move without another bite. We hustled through some gorgeous meadows and next to Indian Creek, as it tumbles down the mountains toward Rimrock Lake. The kids crashed as soon as they got in the car. We’re ready to plan next year’s summer trip. Suggestions?

Lots of pics below, all of the photos are in the Blankenship Meadows album.


Round Mountain Lookout

On June 28th, I took several of the kids to the site of the former fire lookout on Round Mountain, just south of White Pass. Although the lookout is no longer there, you can get views of both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams from the top, as well as several peaks in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. It was a simple out and back, but lots of fun. We hit patches of snow a little above 5,000′ and the kids had a blast with that. Snow in the summer, who knew?!? Another fun plus for Washington!

On the way home, we did a little exploring on Summit Creek, scouting out our next adventure.







Fall Sports 2012

Ezzy and Danny had a great time in sports this fall. Danny played in the Henderson United soccer league on the Rebels, and Ezzy played with the Transformers in the National Youth Sports league. They both made great improvements and had a lot of fun.




Chain Lakes Loop

During our trip to Washington, I took the 3 oldest kids on a short backpacking trip I’ve been looking at for a couple years. Papa Penning, Uncle Brian, and Brooklynn came with us too. Much of the Chain Lakes Loop is in the Mt. Baker Wilderness. We spent two days camped between Hayes Lake and Arbuthnot Lake. Weather was great, and the area is beautiful, with views of both Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan along the trail.

More photos in the gallery.


grandparents the great


Meet great-grandparents Penning!

The whole Penning tribe made a very special day trip to Point Defiance Park in Tacoma to spend some time with them. I am so glad we got pictures. Let’s face it grams and grandps…you’re no spring chickens anymore. :)


We also celebrated Danny’s birthday…the Nerf bow-n-arrow is something Danny’s has been asking for for 18 months. he LOVES it.

We all had a great time. Hopefully, the kids will remember the experience for a long time to come.

JULY 2010

White Pass


Tio Brian and I took Danny, Ezzy, and Brooklynn up to White Pass on our Christmas vacation. It was the first time for the whole McFamily. It was Brooky’s 2nd time and about the 10,000th time for Brian :) We had a blast. Danny was a natural – he went with Brian and Brooky on a longer, higher run, while Ezzy and I got lots of practice on the lower slope.

Brian got some pictures also that can be seen on the Hirschi’s blog. Stay tuned for more Christmas adventures!


Thanksgiving Hiking

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I took Ezzy and Danny to one of my favorite places – the hike to Bridge Mountain in Red Rock. It’s far enough out of the way to have a little less travel than the more popular hikes that are closer to the loop. It was a little bit cold and windy, but the cooler weather was nice. We made it out to the sandstone and stopped for a lunch of Jetboil ramen and oranges, a true culinary delight!

Click here for more photos.


On Saturday, we got together with the Moore family for a trip up Icebox Canyon. Juan Pablo talked everyone’s ears off and everyone hiked, ducked, and scrambled their way to the top. Once again, temperatures were just right for hiking.


“peep show,” anyone?


The boys had surgery a month ago–I am sure you can guess what they had done. They came through unscathed, and bounced back rather quickly. We had a little scare with Danny up at Zion, but we got through it. And now, everything looks great. The sisters were by their sides the entire time, except during surgery of course. They were very good little caretakers for a couple of days.


All I know is that I am ready for the nightly bath/vaseline routine to end. We have our final check-up this week sometime.

Mother’s Day 2009

So, the plan was for all of the kids to help make breakfast for mommy and deliver it to her in bed. Mom tried to pry the secret out of them during the day on Friday, but they stayed strong! Saturday night trouble landed the girls in their bedrooms though, so it was just Daddy and the boys; they were super excited to help with Mommy’s special treat. We made French Toast and eggs, with juice and some strawberries. Bon Appetit!