Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Westward Ho

C and I headed West this July for some quality family time. We spent a week in CA with the Conrads and a week in OR with the Bauer/Caldera clan. It went a little something like this:

Hours after arriving in LA we dunked in the pool,
and headed to swanky Laguna Beach for Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters.
The next day we drove North, toward the American River, where we would spend 2 days camping, swimming, and rafting some gnarly white water.

We warmed up with Class I-III the first day,
and braced ourselves for the real stuff...

Phoebe and Carl, still dry and blissfully unaware of their impending peril
Entering the first Class IV rapid of day 2, "Tunnel Shoot"

Dad, trying to explain the most complicated drinking game in the history of the world.
Campfire lounging
Our next stop was Sequoia National Park. The first day we covered Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow (one of my personal favorites), and the General Sherman/Congress Trail.
Brown bear momma with cubs nearby
Carl "loving" the wilderness...
Controlled burned near Lodgepole
Our second day in Sequoia was spent trekking up to the Watchtower, a granite spire that overlooks the Topokah Valley.
Campfire lounging
Evening bear hunt
On our last day, as we left the park, we stopped at a swimming hole and rope swing (found by Carl). It took some of us longer than others to brave the icy water.
We drove back home, enjoyed some more pool time, chowed on Volcano Burger, and caught a flight to Portland early the next morning.

Neena and Henry picked us up from the airport and chauffeured us down to Eugene, where we got our first look at the massive house and property recently acquired by Em and Keith.

We stuck close to the house for the first couple of days, but the boys needed to liven things up by going primal. Ignoring the lovely organic, store-bought chicken in the freezer, they decided to hunt for their dinner - and chose one of the Caldera's domesticated roosters as their prey.

Unfortunately, this video implicates me in the proceedings.

Live rooster
Dead rooster (before a barefoot Carl)
For comparison
Then we headed Southwest to spend a couple of days on the beautiful Illinois River.

Behold, the pristine waters of the Illinois
The heat was intense, but the water temps were just about perfect. We did a ton of swimming and took tubes down the sections near our campsite.
Plenty of jumping rocks
Campfire lounging
Best picture.
After 2 days on the water we headed back to the house for more good food and fun times. The boys built an awesome zip line in the backyard and we got some more quality time with the little one.
I left a little early to come back to Boulder for work, but the party continued with an epic pig roast. Here's a bit of the prep work and the results. I've included a detailed breakdown of the process for all you DIYers out there.

Step one: Dig a pig-sized hole.
**Caution: Men at work**
Step 2: Build a fire, heat up some rocks.
Step 3: Acquire a pig and get it to look like this.
Step 4: Do this awful thing.
Step 5: Put piggy on a bed of leafy greens on a bed of firey hot rock death coals.
Step 6: Cover with layers of whatever sorts of things you can find.
Looking around for things...
Examples of things
When at a loss for what else to add, go with more rocks.
Looks good.

Step 7: Get pumped.
Always use the buddy system when mutilating any pig...
...and remember to invite probably everyone you know because you have, after all, a whole pigs-worth of meat on your hands.
Fun trip. And a special thank you to everybody else for taking pictures because our camera was tied up with this (that is, taking pictures of the hummingbird/nest/egg action happening on our deck):

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