Wednesday, June 24

Clarno Unit Camping

We had such a great time exploring the fossil beds in May, that we decided to go back again and camp at the Clarno Unit this time so we can see parts of the National Monument that we didn't get to last visit.

On our drive there we passed hundreds of these huge windmills. I have never seen such big ones before, and when we rolled down the window to take the picture, we could actually hear the arms moving through the air!

We had a very nice site at the almost-abandoned campground. Ryan got right to work destroying a tree stump (ah, boys!) while Abby explored the local flora and fauna.

We took it easy the first afternoon, just settled into our campsite, made some Ziplock ice cream, stocked up on firewood, and explored the meadow and woods and campground.

Ryan was so excited because he found a knife while he was playing in the meadow! We decided he was old enough and responsible enough to keep and use it, and he spent quite a bit of time whittling.

Right after breakfast the first morning, we headed to Wheeler High School in hopes of being able to dig in their fossil bed. The weather was a bit drizzly, and we weren't sure we'd be able to dig or not.

However, when we arrived, we found the paleontologist was there, and she invited to come up by the dig. Because of the damp conditions, we weren't allowed to go into the dig itself, but we hunted for fossils on the hillside. The kids found fossils right away and were so excited.

The paleontologist brought a chunk of rock out of the dig and over to a tarp for us. She showed us how to break away the layers to expose the fossils. But before we could really get going, the rain picked up and she had to cover the dig and we had to leave. However, she was kind enough to give us several big chunks to take home, and the kids had a bucketful of fossils they had found on the hillside.

Since our digging was cut short and it was raining, we decided to tour the Wheeler Courthouse and hope the rain would let up. It was a beautiful old building, and we all enjoyed the tour, which included seeing the jail!

It was about lunch time, so we headed out to some hiking trails and had our lunch by some gorgeous rock formations. The hikes here were really neat because if you looked carefully, you could find fossils embedded in the rocks along the trail.

We tried to keep the hikes shorter than our last camping trip, and I think it was a good choice. The kids were happier with the shorter hikes, though they were still fairly strenuous since they went right up the side of the hill.

It was really neat to see this fossilized tree trunk just sticking out the side of the hill! It was just one of many fossils we saw on the trails.

On our way back to the campground, we did a couple of geocaches. One of them gave us an incredible view of the Clarno Valley.

The next day we explored the town of Wheeler a little bit more. We visited the museum and really enjoyed the schoolhouse portion. We ate our lunch at the picnic table by the schoolhouse before heading back to our campground.

When we got back to our campground we were dismayed to find that it was no longer quiet and empty. Instead a large boy scout troop had arrived, and we were sure it was going to be a long night. Ryan and Abby had fun army crawling through the meadow in order to sneak up on the boys as they were playing football.

Before long Ryan was dying to go play with the scouts. I was hesitant because they were so much older than he, but Daddy thought it would be okay so we told him he could to play. The scout leader graciously allowed him to join in (after getting our permission), and the boys completely altered their game just so Ryan could play.

I just can't tell you how incredible they all were with him! They included him and encouraged him and they were very gentle with him and each other while he was playing. After 20 minutes or so our dinner was ready and Ryan had to leave the game, which then got a lot rougher!

Abby wanted to play too, but she had to content herself with watching from the grass.

That evening I was sorry I had misjudged the scouts so much. At 9:00 it got quiet and we didn't hear a peep from them the whole evening! We found out the next day that the scout leader had made a deal with them that if they would settle down when they were told that he would allow them play football beforehand (which is apparently against the rules for the scouts these days). They were true to their promise, and we were very impressed!

The next morning we had to pack up and go home, but as we were having breakfast the scout leader came over to our camp and surprised each of the kids with a gift. Ryan was given a necklace with a Webelos medallion and they gave Abby a handmade cap, which she looked adorable in. It was such a thoughtful gesture, and we told them how impressed we were with the boys. It was a great way to end our camping trip!

No comments:


designer : anniebluesky : blogu