While visiting my Aunt Karen we went and explored a lava tube - basically a long tube-like cave formed by lava. We were the first people in the cave that day, and it was the first day the cave was open this year. So we were the first of the first! It was really cool in there - I've been in a bunch of limestone caves, but a lava cave has a very different feel. And where it was just the four of us, it was really quiet and spooky.
We visited my Aunt Karen and her husband near Bend, Oregon and spent day five with them. It was great! We visited a lava tube, an extinct volcano, took a beautiful bike ride along a river. It was great to have a day to explore with someone who knew the area, and without having to do any driving myself.
This was a similar situation to the aquarium - we visited this museum, had a great time, but somehow neglected to take any pictures. So here you go - a porcupine. :)
The falls we were headed to visit in the last post was this waterfall - Toketee Falls. It's a two-stage waterfall, and only about half a mile from the road. We were the only ones there that day, and the falls were gorgeous.
While parking to try a hike to nearby waterfall, we saw this water pipeline cutting through the parking area. The most amazing thing about it? It's made of wood. The whole thing is made of wooden staves, with metal rings cinching everything tight. It was leaking in a few places, but the idea that this huge wooden pipeline was carry all that water under so much pressure was amazing. I read that it is part of a hydroelectric project.
In Winston, Oregon we did a drive-through safari park, but neither of us remembered to take any photos. My excuse is that I was driving, and didn't want to run anything over. I don't know what Carter's excuse was. Heh. After the drive-through portion we went to see their other exhibits, and one of us took this random photo of a flamingo and a duck, which is funny because we had just spent time driving among the rhinos, bears, and bison. But yep, here's a duck.
Before we turned north into the mountains of central Oregon, we dipped down into California to see the redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It's impossible to capture the majesty of those trees in photos - they all looked much less impressive than they did in person. Also having Carter in the shot does help give a sense of scale. I found out later that some of the Endor scenes from Return of the Jedi were filmed in Stout Grove, which is the part of this park that we explored.
I don't remember exactly where I took these two - somewhere on the southern Oregon coast before we turned inland. The arch was especially cool - at high tide the waves supposedly crash through the opening. We were there at low tide, so it wasn't quite so dramatic. But still beautiful.
Mingus Park in Coos Bay is a cool little Japanese garden tucked away downtown. We stopped just for a chance to stretch our legs and take a break, but it was a lot nicer than I expected. Very picturesque. I think I had read that people sometimes get married there in the springtime, and I can see why.
We stopped at Muriel Ponsler Memorial Beach, to do a little beach-combing. We had heard that this was a good beach for that, as lots of things wash up there but it isn't a very popular spot for other activities, because it's pretty rocky. We found a bunch of potential jaspers and agates (we'll need to run them through the rock tumbler to be sure). We also found some cool junks of driftwood. All in all, a nice spot.