Summer Vacations and Life Changes

Oh summer, you come and go so quickly. It seems as though last week summer vacation began and the summer heat slowly made it's way in, prompting impromptu outings to ice cream shops and Perch Lake. I love long days and the freedom of comfy t-shirts and shorts. I love the feeling of being free of coats, boots, and cold hands. I heard that winter will be pretty cold this year... you know it's bad when you live up north and they say it's going to be "cold". Hmmm... enough said.

At this moment I prefer to reminisce about summer experiences. My husband and I took our three kids on a lengthy road trip across the west to the coast. We saw some beautiful sites and spent far more time in the car then I have in my entire life! Our first leg was to Colorado, 14 hours. We got to see and spend time with a close friend from college and reconnect. She showed us some beautiful places such as Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds (this was at such a high elevation that I kept getting light headed)!

Garden of the Gods, CO

Garden of the Gods, CO

View from up by Cave of the Winds

View from up by Cave of the Winds

We spent several days and then moved on. We stopped in Utah to sleep and then did another 14 hour stretch of driving to the Redwood National Forest on the northern California coast. On the way through Utah I saw the Bonneville Salt Flats for the first time. It was at sunrise and absolutely beautiful.

Bonneville Salt Flats, UT. 

Bonneville Salt Flats, UT. 

Salt.

Salt.

Once we arrived to the Redwoods I was absolutely awestruck by the beauty. I love trees, but I can being to convey the majesty of these ancient giants. I think everyone should go there at least once. Here are a few of my favorite images:

Circle of Redwoods growing out of one stump.

Circle of Redwoods growing out of one stump.

Fallen Redwood

Fallen Redwood

Fallen Redwood.

Fallen Redwood.

You couldn't see the top from the bottom!

You couldn't see the top from the bottom!

It was such a peaceful beautiful place and I hope to go back and see more of the forest some day. 

After several days we drove north up the Oregon Coast. It was gorgeous! We had the opportunity to see whales for the first time. They were magnificent and beautiful!

Scenic Oregon Coast

Scenic Oregon Coast

We beach combed for agates at Gold's Beach and explored other areas looking for what ever jewels nature had to offer. 

Panorama. Loved all the driftwood!

Panorama. Loved all the driftwood!

Stranded Jellyfish

Stranded Jellyfish

We stayed in Cape Meares, OR right on the border of Tillamook. It was a quiet and peaceful area, very little traffic and not many tourists. The ocean is such a magical place! We did go to some tourist spots naturally. The Tillamook Cheese Factory is the antithesis to any healthy diet, but I enjoyed my giant waffle cup and ice cream (wasn't hungry for a while after that)!

After completing our stay on the coast we stayed with family in Canby, OR. We spent a day exploring Portland by hiking the 4T trail. I won't go too much into it but it involves both hiking some beautiful trails and seeing Portland on foot and via public transportation. I loved seeing it on foot versus driving through. My kids were exhausted by the end, but they got to see and experience something they wouldn't have otherwise.

 

Portion of the 4T trail: Portland, OR

Portion of the 4T trail: Portland, OR

Portion of the 4T trail: Highest point in Portland

Portion of the 4T trail: Highest point in Portland

4T trail, headed to down town Portland

4T trail, headed to down town Portland

Waiting for food truck goodness before continuing on...

Waiting for food truck goodness before continuing on...

Waiting for the light rail. Starting to get hot and a bit tired.

Waiting for the light rail. Starting to get hot and a bit tired.

He probably won't remember this, I'm glad I have proof!

He probably won't remember this, I'm glad I have proof!

Voodoo Donuts... our destination, the thing that kept our kids going. Lol

Voodoo Donuts... our destination, the thing that kept our kids going. Lol

Perhaps he'll remember this carousel of goodness?

Perhaps he'll remember this carousel of goodness?

We loved Oregon.

We arrived back in Utah after our Oregon visit and stayed a while. We celebrated my son's 5th birthday with family. It was a fun way to spend his birthday amongst the people we love the most. 

5 years

5 years

We completed our visit and drove back to Utah, without stopping for sleep. It was a 22 hour drive and my husband and I took turns. After having driven so much already, we just thought, "Why not?!" Our kids were amazing travelers and I'm pretty sure additional road trips will be in our future!

Now that we are back it's been tricky trying to get back into a schedule of any kind. I've started to refocus on my photography business and wanting to be sure everything is in order before the fall season hits with all it's force!  

I have some big life changes coming my way, my youngest will now be in school which opens my schedule up for the first time in 13 years (I have three kids)! I have so much I want to do and am so excited to have some time to put towards things I have put off! If you took the time to read this whole post let me know what your favorite summer activity was in the comments below and I'll give you a $25 gift certificate to go towards print product purchases for your next session!

 

 

Rachel PaulusComment