Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 4th Fun In The Sun!

After such a rainy June, we were thinking that maybe the sun wasn't going to make an extended appearance, but it did!  Perhaps we shouldn't have worried, and then it wouldn't have gotten so hot!  Now, the temps are rising up into the high 90s each day, and no sign of slowing down, so in retrospect, getting all the cool weather, and rain in June was something we needed.

Before July 4th weekend, comes the big weekend in Newport with the Rodeo that comes to town, and the Rodeo parade.  This year, our kids rode their horses in the parade.  Since it was still June, the skies were overcast, and threatening rain.  It did rain during the parade, but nothing that an umbrella wasn't able to take care of!

The street of downtown Newport lined with folks waiting to see the parade.

Finally the parade began, and all the kids were excited, waving their bags around hoping to catch lots of candy!

And finally, here come the horses!

I don't think a parade is a parade unless there are bagpipes playing!

Well that ended our involvement with the Newport Rodeo this year.  My husband wasn't home, and I decided to skip going to the rodeo, even though we have gone every year in the past.  And, what helped my decision to not go was the fact that rain was imminent - in fact, a mighty downpour took place during both nights of the rodeo, and I was told the mud splattered high into the bleachers as the horses and bulls kicked up their heels!

The next weekend, our friends from Texas flew in to spend the 4th weekend with us.  On Friday, July 4th, we took them for a bit of sightseeing.  We drove out to the caves on the Kalispell Indian Reservation.

There is a trail that takes you into each cavern.

After we left the caves, we traveled north and took a forest service road that looked interesting.  We had never been down it before.  It was a good road, and immediately began to climb into the mountains.

We crossed a bridge with this little stream flowing underneath it.

We turned off another road that appeared to lead to a campsite, and sure enough, it did.  The road ended at this lovely old wooden bridge, and the forest service had the road blocked from here, as apparently motor vehicles were not supposed to cross it, so we didn't.  We parked the car, and got out to explore.

It was a lovely creek bed camping site.

The flowers were blooming gloriously all around in the fields nearby.

We found a campsite that appears to be used by hunters, as there were several areas for hanging animals spread throughout the site.

And there was even a makeshift potty, and a dried-out roll of toilet paper!

We turned around and came back down the mountain, and followed the road north until we came to a bridge that crosses over the Pend O'Reille River at Ione.  It is a beautiful bridge, bright red in color! You can't miss it!

We made it back to the Kalispell Indian Reservation in time to watch the fireworks show.  We chose to watch it from a little rest area that was across from the reservation, instead of having to deal with all the traffic at the reservation.

It turned out to be a perfect spot to watch the fireworks without dealing with massive amounts of people! There were quite a few people here, but certainly not the hundreds that were just across the water from us.

It was so beautiful to watch the sun go down as we waited for the fireworks to begin.

My camera wasn't doing a great job of capturing the fireworks, so I didn't take many pictures.

The fireworks show lasted at least 20 minutes!  That is a very very long time! In fact, I felt myself wondering "how much longer" lol! The fireworks were beautiful and magnificent, and wonderful to watch.

It was a beautiful ending to a great day.  We were all ready to get home though, as we were leaving to go camping out at Priest Lake the next day.

Cosmo was pleased as he could be to be out at the lake with us.
The boys thought they would try the water out.  They tried to get the rest of us to join them, but after we stuck our toes in, we ran back to shore... it was a bit too chilly yet for us!

As it was, the boys eventually just had to dive in and stay in the water with just their heads showing... the water and wind were pretty chilly!

But just to look out over the water, it sure was a gorgeous sight!

There was a beautiful canopy of trees overhead.

Since it was a bit too cool for swimming, we decided to go hiking instead.  It was such a gorgeous day, with the bright blue skies, fluffy clouds and cool breeze that made a perfect day for hiking.

Our son found a comfy place to rest as we came to this beautiful overlook of the lake.

Annie doesn't like water, except to drink it.  She doesn't want to get in the water with any amount of coaxing.  The closest she will get to the water is to get a quick drink, and then she backs away.

I never tire looking at this lake.  It is simply beautiful with the backdrop of the mountains all around it.

We hiked up to where the throughfare joins Priest Lake with Upper Priest Lake.  I caught this beautiful picture of serene beauty here as we watched a few boats pass slowly up the throughfare to Upper Priest Lake.

It was so calm and quiet here, and gorgeous.

It was time to check out of the campground in Priest Lake, but we weren't ready to head home  yet.  Instead, we headed north to show our friends Huff Lake, and the Granite Falls waterfall.

Huff Lake was quiet and serene as usual.  We always enjoy stopping here and just soaking up the stillness, quiet, and peace here at this lake.

We headed north to the Granite Falls waterfall, or Stagger Inn Campground to show our friends the falls, and the ancient cedar groves there.  A bit of history, this campground was named Stagger Inn after it was first set up as a fire camp set up in 1926.  The firefighters weary from battling fires would stagger into the camp, and thus it became known as Stagger Inn.

At any rate, a terrible storm came through this campground last fall, and a man was killed in his tent when one of the trees toppled over onto his tent.  The campground had been closed since last fall, and just reopened the end of June, as crews had to take their time to work through the trees inspecting for damage, before it was deemed safe to open again to the public.

The Granite Falls creek wanders through the campground, and the lovely noise of the water rushing over the rocks fills the air as you walk around.

From our visits in the past, it was obvious that there was a lot of tree damage from the storm.

Such a beautiful, serene, and incredibly gorgeous place here.

A picture of one of the trees that had downed in the storm.  You can tell by the base of the stump just how large this tree must have been.

It was sad to see so many beautiful huge trees that had come down during the storm.

We walked over to the Granite Falls, and immediately the temperature dropped about 15 degrees, just because of the coolness of the water coming down the falls!  It was a hot day, in the high 80s, and it felt so nice to cool off closer to the falls!

After we explored the falls for a while, we decided to try to get up to the old Roosevelt Grove of cedars.  There were parts of the hike with really steep inclines, but even in the heat, it wasn't too bad.

Finally, we reached the sign telling us that we had "arrived"!  This old grove of cedars is estimated to be approximately 800 to 2000+ years old!  Pretty amazing!  As we walked through the trail that weaved through the trees, it was incredibly quiet, and cool!  What a nice break from the heat of the day!

We all took a nice water break here, and enjoyed the quiet and stillness of this ancient forest.  It really was worth the climb to see!

We were all pretty hungry after the several hours of hiking, and so I prepared a tailgate lunch for everyone.

After our hike, the lunch was a perfect end to the hike, and our July 4th weekend!  Soon after the lunch ended, we packed up, and headed back home to rest and recuperate from the exciting weekend.  Our friends were flying out Tuesday, and my dad was flying in the same day.  It was a wonderful weekend and we all had a great time.  We were looking forward to seeing Dad fly in on Tuesday, so it gave us something to look forward to, as we said goodbye to our friends.

I'll be back soon to show you some pictures that we took with Dad visiting.  Until then... we are trying to stay cool! We are experiencing a heat wave here, with temperatures hitting 100 degrees!  Thankfully our house is staying cool, despite the heat with the help of a couple of air conditioners.  At night, the temperatures cool down, which makes for great sleeping, and the house cools down during the night, so we really don't experience heat in the house until late afternoon.  So... staying cool is our objective for the next few days!  Stop by again soon for more pictures and updates!