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.

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service project…ensign ranch

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A little bit of work.

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Then a little bit of play.

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Equals another McCracken Camping Adventure!! We headed up Snoqualmie Pass to camp and work at one of our church’s camps a couple of weeks ago. We picked up debris on the trails, prepared tee pees and tents for upcoming girls camps, and had a lot of fun with new acquaintances. We are loving camping near rivers and trees. It’s pretty amazing up here. I grew up camping and exploring in the Northwest. And, yet, the beauty and grandeur of this area of the country still blows me away now that I am back…experiencing it through my children’s eyes.

As we speak, the kids are in the backyard playing in a rainstorm. Even though we still get 300 glorious days of sunshine a year, here in Central Washington, we also get plenty of moisture and lovely spring rain, summer thunderstorms, and rain and snow in the winter. A perfect four seasons of balance, if you ask me.  Ezzy and Nikki just came to me and said, “mom, it smells SO good outside. Like real rain.” :) They are loving exploring every bit of their new version of the outdoors.

*And can I get a shout out for camping two weekends in a row while pregnant. Thank you!!

poulsbo, wa….the leas new home

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The start of our Memorial Weekend 2013 actually started in Poulsbo, WA. We traveled to see Rob and Jaime’s new home. They were all very gracious allowing us to inundate their home for two nights and taking us around the town. We played in their backyard, found crabs at the beach, went to the aquarium, checked out a local ice cream shop, ate pizza, walked down the pier, went on a date without the kids, and of course, Jaime and I sneaked a lunch in while the guys entertained. :) We packed in as much fun as we could before heading out for camping. We had a great time. And we hope the Leas are happy in Poulsbo for a long time to come so that we have close access to them. They are only a few hours away now. Way better than 17!!!

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book bistro, anyone?

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Brian’s second grade teacher, Mrs. Dobie, put on a “Book Bistro” for the parents. Brian was our waiter. Adam and I got to order from a “menu” of writings that Brian created, which he then read to us. So cute. There was an appetizer, main menu, and dessert section. The dessert section had pictures and prizes for the kiddos. Loved this idea!!!

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memorial day lives on…geocaching 2013

We have celebrated Memorial Day in Zion National Park, UT with friends since 2005. Although we no longer live near Zion, we hope to carry on the camping tradition with our children and friends…new and old…for a long time to come. This year we celebrated near Mt. Rainier. It was wet and green and completely different than what we have grown used to over the years. I missed the warmth of Zion and all of the familiar surroundings. But I also loved being “home” and showing my kids what it was like to camp near real trees. Rob and Jaime joined us, which was awesome.

Instead of hiking on Saturday, the guys took the kids geocaching. They have explored many geocaches all over Las Vegas and its surrounding desert.

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They love looking for “treasure.” Adam loves using his GPS. And I love sitting in my camping recliner. So it’s win-win for EVERYONE! :)

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We had several cousins join the fun. Everyone had a great time!! Despite being homesick for familiar faces in Las Vegas, I love being home.

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family pictures 2012

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Thank you Logan, UT for providing non-desertish backdrops. :)

The whole family

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The kiddos

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The Girls

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The Boys

(Daddy, why didn’t you download the picture of you with your sons???)

Individuals

Annie:

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Nikki:

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Ezzy:

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Brian:

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Joseph:

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Juan:

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Daniel:

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Growing. Growing. Growing.

Hopefully, our family will soon grow some more by one or two or maybe more.

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.

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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.

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Geocaching – Mountain Springs Peak

After trying out a couple geocaches here in the city, we decided to try our luck on a little longer adventure. Mountain Springs Peak is a less-traveled peak in the southern part of Red Rock National Conservation Area. It does not have a maintained trail, but there are several use paths. Altogether it was about 5 miles and 1,100 feet of elevation gained to reach the peak at ~6,600 feet.

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We found two caches and lots of cool logs from previous hikers. The earliest note was from 1970. A fun outing for all!

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All of the photos are in the Mountain Springs Peak photo album.