Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Goodness.

Saturday morning, Russ and I were both up and at 'em earlier than normal, both feeling like we should "do" instead of "lounge" on this particular day. We'd thrown around the idea of going camping, but with not having registered the trailer in CA But the weather was supposed to be nice, and we wanted to hike and be outside and have a fire... I know, let's just chuck the tent and sleeping bags into the van and go. Okay.

2 1/2 hours later, we were loaded up and on our way to the grocery store for some grub, then headed up to Mount Diablo, the highest point in this area. It was about a half hour to the base of the mountain, then a little less than that to the ranger station part-way up the mountain. The biggest obstacle wasn't the windy, edge-of-the-cliff roads, it was the many MANY crazy bikers!! They were either riding up the mountain at an incredibly slow pace, or zipping down it at a way too fast pace (in fact, we were PASSED by bikers as we were leaving Mount Diablo!). It was just couldn't see around any of the turns, I can't believe more people haven't died there.

Anyway...once we checked in at the ranger station, it was another half-hour drive up to the Juniper Campground. It was a pretty decent campground. The views were amazing, the camping spots fairly secluded, clean restrooms and a shower.

We got to our site around 11:30am, and decided to explore.

Before we knew it, we started hiking along the Summit Trail, headed to the top of the mountain.

I realized that it was almost noon and we hadn't brought any food or water with us, so Russ turned back while the kids and I plodded on (very slowly...). This was Stop #1, "Take a picture of us with this tree, Mom."

This was a little ways up--that's the parking lot there at the bottom, and that's right at the entrance to the camp sites. We are around at around 2900' here.

We were headed up to the Summit Visitor's Center, which is located up past the big tower on the right, and up to the skinnier tower on the left. When we first set out, I didn't think we'd actually make it the entire way (round trip was just over 3.75 miles!).

Stop #2--Russ caught back up with us and we needed a snack. Here is where we observed the mass amounts of what we assumed to be bobcat scat. Awesome.

Stop #3--getting closer!! We're about maybe halfway there?

Stop #4.

Stop #5--the large, square tower is directly to our left in this photo. As in, I can reach my arm out and touch it. This was a pretty sweet place to eat a few bites of granola--felt like we were on top of the world!

Not too much further was the actual summit. I was impressed with the kids--2 hours, 1.75+ miles, ~1,000' elevation gain...and with minimal whining. Not bad.

The tall skinny tower is directly to the left of that van on the left. This is the Summit Visitor's Center.

Inside is the actual tip of the very very top of Mt. Diablo (which the kids are standing on).

The kids enjoyed the exhibits more than I thought they would. They learned about the tectonic plates, some of the animals in the area, the tarantulas that are around here, about tracks...not bad.

Then they went in and started watching this video.

We headed back to camp, which was all downhill, and made it in approximately a half hour. Awesome!

These two have literally never camped in a tent. Needless to say, they were excited.

Mr. Man in the Moon and I have not been on speaking terms since this was such a big, bright, gorgeous moon...that inhibited any chance of sleeping I would attempt that night. I eventually overcame it by pulling a hat over my eyes, but that didn't help with the rocks grinding into my back, as we don't have any padding to go under our sleeping bags...

I got some crocheting in while the kids ran amok.

The kids weren't the only thing running amok...this family of raccoons (SEVEN in total, that we could count) was not shy in the least. They are a bit intimidating when all seven of them walk right up to you to see what it is that you're holding in your hand.

This scene seemed inspirational to me.

Monkeys in the trees!

I've been wanting to give P90X another go for awhile, and when I saw this, it made me want to try more. Have I done it yet? Nope.

The kids made me a bit nervous by following the raccoons everywhere. "MOM! Come quick! They're getting into the garbage cans!" No joke, about 1.5 seconds after I took this shot, all 4 (there is one in the garbage can already) raccoons were in there.

Russ brought the remains of a stump he dug out of the backyard a few weeks ago to was a still a bit wet and we had more smoke than fire for awhile.

The day had started out really hazy, but cleared up towards the evening. You can see out to the bay there, in the top right.

And a little bit later.

The kids had the best time collecting these gigantic pine cones from the Coulter Pine trees.

Granola!! It made me a happy momma to hear, "Mmm, this is good granola, but I like yours better, Mom." Yeehaw!

I round this rouge pair of glasses in the brush the previous night and wondered if the raccoons had had anything to do with them...

We went hiking down a closer trail for a bit, but Russ and I were so exhausted from an incredibly restless night that we were ready to go. The kids wanted to see the Visitor's Center one last time. They meandered while Russ and I curled up in fetal positions in the corner and waited.

When we got home the kids and I went straight to our beds and passed out. After we woke up and showered, the kids got busy playing outside with the neighbor kids and Russ decided to dig the other stump out of the yard. That sucker is HUGE. He worked for hours on it--chopping with his axe, pushing it, pulling it with a rope...he barely got it out. You can see the hole that it was in to the right of Sam. Goodbye stumps, hello garden bed!

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