The Bartholomews Brave Nature

  Back in January we decided to plan a few camping trips. We had not been camping all together since I was pregnant with Charles, so it was high time to plan a trip. We checked our options and decided to visit the Pinchot National forest. A while back I read a book about Gifford Pinchot and his contributions to the national forests and thought it would be fun to see his legacy. We chose Moss Creek and reserved a prime spot.
 Fast forward to July, Daniel and I got very excited to try out some dutch oven recipes that we had been saving on pintrest. We checked our gear and tricked out the big van for an amazing get-a-way, or so we thought. While I love camping, I was now nearly 8 months pregnant and the thought of sleeping outside was appearing less and less desirable. Call me a wimp, but sleeping in my bed is hard right now. Anyway I decided to go a head and I am glad I did. Of course the kids were excited, they had been asking when we could go for 2 weeks solid! So when we finally headed out we were too early to get to our camp site. Luckily we passed the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center and turned around to check it out. It was fascinating, but unfortunately didn't have many children's activities.





This is a fishing machine. The wheel rotates and scoops up the fish. It was quite impressive.




   We reached Moss Creek a little early, but the site was empty and had our name on it so we set up camp. It was a beautiful place, we were right off the creek and though if was quite swift, it was shallow so it was fine. There were a few trails to follow and amazing things to explore. I loved it. It was so peaceful and the temperature was perfect. 





 Nothing says camping like smores!






   This was our view from the tent. It was gorgeous! This is heaven to me, unfortunately this sit and enjoy or wander aimlessly discovering the beauty of  nature was not what Daniel expected for the next 2 days. He expected some sore of activity or itinerary. Google to the rescue! We were about an hour and a half from Mount St. Helens so we decided to go there. I had wanted to take the kids at some point anyway, so Friday morning we had breakfast and then headed to what I thought was the visitor center. The last time I was there I was on a girl scout wider op and it was on the east side of the mountain. I remember it being so cool. So we followed the ever infallible GPS and reached.... The base of the peak of the mountain. Not visitor center just a little pull off where you could hike 2 miles to reach the peak. Ha! like that was going to happen! We did find snow though so he kids had fun with that. We packed some in our cooler since our ice was getting low. Bonus! 



  After a little while we drove back and passed Ape Caves, another of my future take the kids to picks, so was turned around and went there. We didn't have our flashlights or lanterns, but they rented out Coleman lanterns so we paid and headed down. It was super cool! Lizzy had a hard time for a bit because she thought the bats and spiders were out to get her, but we never saw any. I went about halfway and then left Daniel to wrangle the kids on his own. 



   This is the entrance, there are stairs down to it and then a little ways in there are some more stairs to help you get down. Its easy going as long as you have a light.
  It was fun and I chatted with some nice folks as they emerged from the cave while waiting for my intrepid band. Then we headed back to camp for some dinner and more exploring. 
Proof I was there!




Charles made a bow and arrow.







  All in all I think it was a sucessful trip. We came, we ate, we explored and we survived! I can't wait to go back!


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