Sam & Ben's Visit

07-29-10_1358 At the Seattle Children's Museum
DSC00890.JPG Other people feeding the giraffes.
DSC00892.JPG Sam watches the lions sleep today.
DSC00893.JPG Ben finds a lion willing to let him sit on it.
DSC00894.JPG Sam and Ben checking out the Komodo dragon, just after seeing the live ones.
DSC00951.JPG "Meer-cute"
DSC00948.JPG Meer-cuter?
DSC00895.JPG Grandma and Sam check out the bald eagles. There's no glass.
DSC00902.JPG The bird house sells little sticks with birdseed on the end. Grandpa sets up the boys with one each.
DSC00953.JPG Penguins! In the end, this zoo trip was mostly about birds.
DSC00909.JPG We stayed for the raptor show. It started (I think) with this hawk, the only bird in the show not native to the Pacific Northwest.
DSC00912.JPG Another northwest native is the ginormous turkey vulture.
DSC00914.JPG This turkey vulture, like all us northwesterners, is a big believer in recycling.
DSC00926.JPG Back to the perch to take a bow.
DSC00930.JPG Red-tailed hawk, I think.
DSC00928.JPG We learn that while a cheetah can reach a trivial 60mph, peregrine falcons have been clocked going more than 200mph when diving down to catch something.
DSC00936.JPG The barn owl only came out for a brief swoop around today for some reason.
DSC00945.JPG We learn that while a cheetah can reach a trivial 60mph, peregrine falcons have been clocked going more than 200mph when diving down to catch something.
DSC00939.JPG We get to see the peregrine falcon in action.
DSC00942.JPG Snatching its prey in mid-air. Darn perch got in the way.
DSC00943.JPG Although it catches airborne prey, it's also happy to sit down to eat. So to speak.
DSC00956.JPG What will they think of next?
DSC00959.JPG After the nephews, grandparents, and Miss Rita visit the aquarium, I join them at Ivar's on the waterfront, where the seagulss do a great impression of peregrine falcons by catching french fries in mid-air.
DSC07339 We visit the Museum of Flight. (I actually took this picture from the open cockpit of a biplane the previous summer.)
DSC00960.JPG While we're walking in, a 787 lands after taking a test flight.
DSC00961.JPG Sam has aspirations to be a jet pilot. Grandpa agrees to let them try a simulated flight. First, potential pilots get used to the controls on the warm-up simulators.
DSC00962.JPG Then it's time to get strapped in to the 'real' simulator. Belts, check.
DSC00963.JPG Restraint harness/roll cage, check.
DSC00964.JPG Controls, check.
DSC00966.JPG Take-off. Apparently somebody's executing a barrel-roll.
DSC00971.JPG Flying upside down and backwards.
DSC00974.JPG Grandma is concerned about the shrieking coming from the simulator. Miss Rita (left) enquires of the operator, who assures her that the test pilots are actually doing surprisingly well.
DSC00975.JPG White-faced? Nauseous? Shaking in fear? Hardly. "Oh, man, that was so cool!"
DSC00976.JPG Time to check out the SR-71 Blackbird, Air Force One, and the Concorde.
DSC07342 Another shot from the biplane, showing, clockwise from top right, the Concorde, the first jet to be Air Force One, a 747, a 737, and I *think* an early 707 which NASA used as a test plane for many years. We only got to see the inside of the first two.
Map1 I hope that the Big Event for the trip was going to see a real live volcano: Mt. St. Helens. The logistics were . . . interesting, in part because I thought the boys might enjoy at least one night Camping in the Woods. I am, however, not really much of a tent camper. (Egregious understatement.) However, Uncle Eric spends at least two weekends every year out in the woods teaching students about medicinal plants. In fact, Eric had left two days earlier for eastern Washington to teach a different class, so he couldn't join us for the beginning of the trip. Instead, he joined us on the second day. I would have just let him go home instead of coming all the way down to the campground, but without his help, I'm sure we would have starved.
DSC00978.JPG Our trip to Mt. St. Helens starts at the Silver Lake Resort. Sam turns out to be an enthusiastic angler. His first fish wasn't all that big, but since he'd only been fishing for about 10 minutes, it was a promising start.
DSC00984.JPG Sam and Ben get their first good look at Mount St. Helens at the Forest Ridge Center. The facility itself was closed during weekdays due to budget cuts.
DSC00985.JPG Ben. Sam. Grandma. Volcano. What more could you ask for?
DSC00989.JPG "Oh, no, my hand covered the T!" We have driven to the end of the road.
DSC00987.JPG Clouds? Snow, blowing off the dome in the crater? Oh, please, it's a volcano! That's steam!
DSC00988.JPG Sam & Ben on the right hand side of the crowd.
Map2 You can see how the area around Silver Creek is fairly flat looking. Silver Lake Resort was beautiful, but it wasn't exactly "wilderness." As you can see by the deep green color and heavy ridges, Iron Creek Campground was deep in the woods. Real, serious woods. The kind where you might find nephew-eating bears. All of us drove from Johnston Ridge to meet Eric at the campground for dinner.
DSC00992.JPG Dinner in the Woods: Step 1, start a fire.
DSC00993.JPG Ya gotta blow on it a bit to get it going.
DSC00991.JPG Setting up their tent.
DSC00995.JPG We were lucky enough to land the best camp site on the grounds; the one right in the bend of the river, furthest from the entrance. Sadly, nobody'd managed to bring the ingredients for S'Mores, but we all marvelled at the amazing flavor of campfire-roasted hot dogs. Absolutely no need for condiments. After dinner, the older folks headed back to the resort, leaving the uncles and nephews to avoid bears. Ghost stories were told. (Ask Sam about the Scary Noises during Uncle Dave's tale.) Afterwards, the nephews decided that they needed to relocate their tent to, say, a spot Right Next To, Nay, Practically Touching, the uncle tent.
DSC00997.JPG The next morning, Uncle Eric is back at work, sylvan setting notwithstanding. I set out to take some pictures in the morning light.
DSC00999.JPG Pictures of things like . . . moss!
DSC01001.JPG The trail to the river.
DSC01003.JPG And the aforementioned river.