So we helped John wash and hitch up the wave runners..
And said our goodbyes..
I figure Monkey and Squirrel would love this riverside lunch, wouldnt you?
And while I did my shots, O and Grandpa talked some soccer.
You dont see Dad smile much in photos, but if Olive is around, well thats different.
It was time to say goodbye to such a wonderful little cabin. I hope to return someday.
Dad and Jason ventured south, back to Moscow..
And we buckled up for a little northern sightseeing.
But one last goofy photo..
Ok! On the road again, heading for some local sites up near the Canadian border.
Our first stop was a fall area, where you had to hike to this very scenic spot. By the looks of it, we had a lot of ground to cover..
But first we prepared some lunch, and spotted a visitor. Olive was entranced.
So it was just us, a deer, and the cool breezy forrest.. Quite the lunch spot indeed.
I didnt realize it then, but Olive was probably marveling at all the giant trees everywhere she looked. She was having loads of fun.
So myself, Olive, and Rebecca (with her constant glowing smile) packed our bags and headed up the mountain. Thinking we had a couple miles ahead of us, we wanted to get this all done by sundown..
But within minutes the trail just ended and here we were. A complete misinterpretation of scale, that worked out to our benefit..
So we set up the tripod, and tried our first family photo. Understandably, with the squirrels, the gushing water nearby, and the roar of the forrest, the last thing Olive wanted to look at was my stupid camera.
It was pretty beautiful, and treacherous. Tree roots, jagged rocks, slippery sandy trails, but no one tripped, no cameras dropped, no babies went overboard.
Done a bit early, I recalled some locals telling us about a hidden, rare gem called 'the shoe tree'. It sounded just peculiar enough to garner my attention and our last expedition began.
So we drove around, and around, getting lost, re-checking maps, and tempers beginning to fray. Eventually I give up and we drive by some random unmarked dirt road, that Rebecca insists we take because of some 'gut' feeling she has..
I grumpily oblige, and just as Im about to say something stupid, we find the 'tree temple' to the gods of footwear..
The Shoe Tree!
Legend has it some loggers or settlers or someone decided to nail his clogs to the trunk of this young tree, and the tradition stuck. As you pan up the tree, the shoes get older and more decayed.
Of course one must pose with the 'shoe tree', but this was made difficult by an army of gnats, flies, and other creepy crawlies that were starving for human blood. Maybe these shoes are the last remnants of tourists they had devoured..
So we tried to get some nice shots but Rebecca was done with that, and I felt like a heel when I asked her to take a couple of me and monkey..
But to her credit, she grudgingly picked up the camera and braved the wild one last time.
Thanks honey for this great shot! Hope you didnt get bit too much.
And before the gnats could eat us alive we jumped in the truck and hightailed it out of there.
After a couple hours the mountains and forrests smoothed out to rolling hills and farmfields. This is typical of what Moscow is like.
Fields of peas and lentils as far as you can see. Soon we were rolling back into my hometown and off to Cathy and dads. They had pitched a tent for us so we could sleep under the stars tonight.
Excited (and exhausted) we rolled home and wearily crawled into sleeping bags as the crickets and forrest sang us to sleep.