The ride down was pretty smooth. Aiden spent hours looking at books and coloring. We were the last ones to get to the house be we weren't far behind. We unloaded the car and the kids were already in the hot tub. They played in the hot tub and we also went on bike rides. We rode down to the rec center and signed up for a time to try the rock climbing wall.
The next day, our plan was to go to the Lava River Cave. With construction on Hwy 97 we ended up going the wrong way and changed plans on the fly. Instead we went to the Newberry Volcano Visitor's Center. We got passes to drive up the cinder cone but we had to go up at a specific time and only could stay half an hour.
There was a fire lookout tower on the top and great views of Mt Bachelor, Broken Top, and the 3 Sisters.
After the Volcano, we had to head back for climbing. On the climbing wall, we got almost everyone to try it. They wouldn't let me Belay or use the kids harness I just bought for Aiden. We had to use all their gear except for shoes. Aiden loved it although he would climb up a few feet and want down. Then when off the rope he would start climbing again. Everyone seemed to have fun and it was a great prep for Smith Rock later that week.
We then tried out the pool and hot tub at the Maverick Center. The kids had a blast.
The next day we tried the cave again. It is the longest lava tube cave in Oregon at almost a mile long. This time we were more prepared with warmer clothes. The kids were scared as we walked down into the dark cave. Aiden wanted to be carried. As we started down the cave armed with flashlights, headlamps, and 2 lanterns the cave was huge. At one point there is a sign that tells you that Hwy 97 is right above. We were under the impression that you can get out the other side and walk back in the warm sun. So we continued on.. and on and the ceiling got smaller and smaller.
Toward the end, we had to duck... then crawl.... and then it got smaller. I was at the head of the group. At this point Aiden was excited. He liked the small cave and he liked crawling. An older lady came back toward us crawling on her belly. She told us that she thought you could get through but she crawled until her boots would not fit through the cave anymore. (She was going feet first at that point).
That was enough for me to turn around and tell everyone else with us to turn around too. It was disappointing. It was cold in the cave and we were looking forward to almost being out in the sun and we had to turn around. After we made it back through the low ceiling area which seemed to take forever, the hike back was OK. We all commented on how the Park Rangers should have warned us or there should be a sign saying you can't get out the other end.
After that Traumatic experience, we ate lunch at the house and got ready to head to the lake. We went to Paulina Lake but ended up at East Lake which is right next to it. It was beautiful and the water was cold... but not as cold as I expected. We didn't bring canoes with us which I was regretting at that point but we had inner tubes and a small raft. We tied them all together and made ourselves a "hillbilly raft." We paddled but the current would bring us back to shore. Once I got use to the cold water, I would walk the raft out as far as I could reach and then we'd float back it. It was pretty fun.
My brother in law Chris heard about a waterfall near Sunriver that we could bike to. A guide book said it was a family friendly ride. We rode to the trail head and started riding on dirt trails. Aiden did pretty well. I decided to take a video of him riding off road since he had just learned to ride a bike. Not long after I started filming, he ate it. He jumped back up and started riding again. He crashed 3 times but told me it didn't hurt and he liked crashing. I guess with 12" tires he didn't have long to fall.
My pack was heavy. I had 2 ropes, 4 harnesses, 6 pairs of climbing shoes, 2 chalk bags, and about 3/4 of by brother's climbing rack.
Jeremy put up a couple of ropes on some easier climbs. I got ready to belay on "How Low Can You Go." It's a 5.6/5.7 depending who you ask. My brother in law Chris climbed first. He did really well. The trickiest part is the start where there isn't much to put your feet on. We got most everyone to try it, except for some of the kids. There is also an easier way to get up if you go off route to the left which the kids did.
|My Brother-in-law Chris|
Andrea tried hard to get up the first few moves. She did well but she was wearing her arms out trying to find foot holds. Exhausted, she went off route to the left and got a ways up. I think if she would have started on the left right off the bat, she would have made it to the top. I'm excited to get her on some more rocks. She said she had fun but she's not quite addicted yet. She was taking the pictures and I was on belay so I don't have any pictures of Andrea climbing.
Byron (my 5 year old nephew) climbed about half way up and seemed to be struggling on where to go from there. Jeremy was rappelling down the route next to Byron in his hiking boots. He went to help Byron come down and instead Byron climbed all the way to the top and wanted to go up over the edge. Jeremy took off his boots and climbed up barefoot to help Bryon down. It was pretty impressive for a 5 year old.
|My nephew Byron and my brother's climbing partner Jeremy|
By the time it was Aiden's turn, he had been playing a ton in the dirt and hot sun so he was tired. He got up on the rock but didn't make it up too far. He seemed to enjoy it though so I'm excited to take him someplace closer to home.
On our way home we hit up Sonic and stopped in Troutdale to show Papa how Aiden can ride a bike without training wheels.
It was a great trip!