Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cataract Falls

A long holiday weekend was all we needed to take off and go on a little day hike. Cataract Falls was on my California bucket list so we gave it a try. Brent and I read reviews and information on the hike. He kept seeing words like "steep" and "difficult" to describe the hike. I saw words like "beautiful" and "gorgeous". So with hesitancy if one would be worth the other, we set out. It was indeed both descriptions, and well worth it. The hike is low in a valley and damp and humid like a jungle so the trails were damp which is what made the hike difficult. But oh the hike was so green and mossy and there were so many waterfalls. It was just beautiful.

Banana Slug

Thursday, January 1, 2015

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

The Gate of the Year 
Minnie Loiuse Haskins

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas

   We try to be creative on our family Christmas picture we send out each year with our Christmas cards. It's tricky as we are a large family the majority of which are small children who have a hard time sitting still.
   I've always been a fan of Norman Rockwell's art, painting American life in all it's flaws and normality. I asked Brent to make a Norman Rockwell family photo for us this Christmas. We wouldn't aim for perfect, just us hanging out in our family room as we like to do. So here's the result, an imperfect, perfectly normal Peak family portrait. I love it.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Apple Hill Orchards

I'm trying to catch up on my sorely neglected blog and show some of the fabulous places we've visited in Northern CA. We live in America's Fruit Basket and something is always in season. There are farmers markets here all year long. which I happily take advantage of. Last weekend we visited the Apple Orchards of Apple Hill. It's a concentration of Apple orchards east of Sacramento and during peak Apple season it is a festival atmosphere as all the orchards put out there best. Each orchard begs to be visited for their fruit, baked goods, corn mazes, petting zoos and craft vendors. It's hard to do in one day with around 50 Orchards participating in the festivities. We spent most of the day there and visited 5 orchards I think. It was a beautiful day with glorious fall colors showing off. It was cold enough to enjoy a hot apple cider as we sampled and bought our way through the different novelties at the orchards. I wish I had bought that Banana Honey butter!

The apples here fall from the trees and roll into the flower beds.

Flat Stanley was visiting us from Oklahoma. Here he is in a pile of persimmons. 

Flat Stanley and a lot of apple goodness.

Natural Bridge State Beach

We had a couple days off from school so on one of those days we took a day trip to the Santa Cruz. Natural Bridge State Beach is one of the 4 places in America that monarch butterflies migrate to for the winter and we wanted to see them. It was cold and cloudy, so it was very hard to see them high up in the giant Eucalyptus trees, but they were there. We could see them fluttering around up high and what looked like leaves on the branches were actually clusters of butterflies.  The butterflies like this Eucalyptus grove because it's in a valley and the trees and the cliffs shelter them from winds and rain.

The grove is right on the beach and at the edge of the grove is a sandy beach with a natural bridge carved out of the mudrock cliffs. There used to be 3 bridges but time and erosion has carved away all but one of the bridges. The beach also had some fun tide pools to explore.

We spent a few hours with the monarchs and the beach, but the cloudy day just made it increasingly cold there so we left the beach and spent a little time walking up and down the historic Santa Cruz boardwalk. The boardwalk has the first and oldest beach amusement park, it was closed for the season, but it was still fun to explore without the crowds.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall trip to Lake Tahoe

Almost a year from our last goodbye trip to Flagstaff in the Fall we took a day trip to Lake Tahoe. the colors were gorgeous and all the pine trees reminded us of Flagstaff and made us a bit homesick. We visited Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe, one of the most photographed parts of Lake Tahoe and it's gorgeous emerald waters. a steep hike down to the shore is rewarded with a walk around Vikingsholm Castle. Built in the 1920s in honor of their Viking ancestors, some American millionaires made it their summer home.

Look at how clear and blue that water is! The bottom is probably 30 feet down from our feet.