Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy Father's Day...

Yes, I realize that the rest of the Known World celebrated Father's Day last Sunday... but on Father's Day proper, Shari was still flying back from Colorado & I was still "Mark Jackson, Bachelor Dad", so when a family from church invited the three Jackson men over for grilled steaks after church, I jumped at the chance. (Otherwise, our Father's Day lunch would have been Van De Kamps Crunchy Fish Sticks.)

So, Braeden decided that I should have a "real" Father's Day... in our house, that means that the person being celebrated (be it birthday, Mother's Day, whatever) gets to plan the day for the Jackson clan. I chose to take the family on a road trip up to Sequoia/Kings Canyon. We've been to the "big trees" parts of the park a number of times (it's a pretty easy 75 minute drive from our house), as a loop through those sections of the park make for a very nice day trip when folks visit from out of town.

This time, we stopped briefly at Grant's Grove so Braeden could make 3 trips through the Fallen Tree, then continued on down the winding road to Cedar Grove, in the middle of Kings Canyon. (Braeden & I also got to see a mule deer feeding up close - he was about 15 feet off the trail and let us stand there & watch him for 3-4 minutes.)

The road to Cedar Grove is only open during the summer... it's easy to see why. It's twisty & right on the edge of some pretty spectacular drop-off points. You drop nearly 2000 feet into the canyon, where the road runs right beside the Kings River. It's literally miles of stunning whitewater rapids in a Yosemite-like canyon... but there's a whole lot less people than at Yosemite.

We stopped at Grizzly Falls to hike and climb rocks... Braeden loves the whole rock-climbing thing. He's getting bettter at it, too - by the end of the day, he was scampering up some interesting rock formations without help - and celebrating wildly when he reached the top.

We stopped at the ranger station, where Collin was fascinated with the hands-on display of pinecones, rocks & animal skins... then walked over to the river and stuck our feet in the cold (read: snow melt) water at Cedar Grove. Collin loved the cold water... and kept his feet in it until we'd pull him out when they were starting to change color! Yikes!

Finally, we drove to Road's End (seriously, that's what it's called) and hiked a short ways to Muir Rock, a huge outcropping of rock sticking into the river. We watched a couple of teenage boys (read: lunatics with possible lobotomies) jump into the river & swim around the rock. And, of course, we climbed up & down a number of times. The pictures with this post was taken next to and/or on Muir Rock.

We drove back out of the canyon just before sunset... sitting next to my beautiful wife, exhausted & dusty & proud of our two young "men" in the back of the minivan. All in all, an excellent Father's Day.

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