Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

The only blog that you really want to read…or ignore.

Tag Archives: swimming

Back to School and a Ruined Labor Day Weekend

Here in Washington State, our school kids don’t go back to school until the last week of August or the first week of September. In fact, my kids went back to school on August 28. In comparison, the Seattle School District started yesterday September 3, 2014. This makes a heck of a lot more sense than starting August 28, going to school for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off. It puts a bitter taste on the last week of August and Labor Day. You can’t milk summer out for a bit longer. Instead, you must think of getting your kids back in time for starting school on Thursday before Labor Day weekend.

It isn’t like anything is done the first two days of school when you have Labor Day weekend right there. Everyone knows that Thursday and Friday (before the Labor Day weekend) are “throwaway” days of education. You might as well let the kids watch TV because they sure aren’t paying attention to the teachers during those two days of school.

Labor Day Weekend wasn’t ruined for me. I always have fun. This year instead of heading to Anderson Island for the three day weekend, we went camping at Sun Lakes State Park. It was a good choice because we left the rain behind. Sun Lakes is located on the eastern side of Washington, roughly three hours away from our house. While western Washington might be experiencing rain and misery, the eastern side of the state will have sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Well, maybe not unicorns and rainbows but you get the idea. The weather is nice. We don’t have lots of rain and huddle under blue tarps. In eastern Washington, we don’t do the “blue tarp” camping made famous on the west side of the state. In eastern Washington, you slap on the sun block (SPF 45) and a big hat

.3962 3972

What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

3980

It's all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

It’s all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

4018 4023 4025 4028

On the negative side, it was windy in the evenings and the state park was full. Truth be told, it was very windy and miserable in that respect. The first night was bad. The tent was flapping around, keeping both myself and my wife wide awake. You would drift off to sleep, and then a gust of wind would pop up and wake you up. The second night, the wind was just as bad but I wore my ear plugs and I enjoyed the evening a bit more.

Sun Lakes State Park has a few different lakes within the park boundaries. On Sunday, we hiked along the Deep Lake Trail which was about 2 to 2.5 miles round trip. It goes right along the lake and is an easy hike. There is an opportunity to do some cliff diving or jumping off the cliff edge but we didn’t do it this trip. Perhaps next time we can jump off some basalt rock cliffs into the water below, have a scary monster grab us and drag us under.

I did manage to get some swimming in Sun Lake itself with my daughter and her friend. The weather was a bit cloudy, the wind was blowing, and the water was a little colder than I would have preferred. However, it was probably going to be the last swim of summer so I toughed it out. I’m not a little baby (well, I really am but I try to act tough).

My son and I also did a twilight walk where he was almost hit by a bat. Lots of bats on the Park Lake Trail, however I can’t complain about the bats because they keep the bug population down. Go bats!

Overall, the camping trip was a good one. No flat tires, no lost sleeping bags. The drive home wasn’t too bad. I’d go again but probably opt for a RV campsite further and with less wind.

 

Thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome!

Advertisements

Loon Lake Vacation: A week of our family together and we didn’t kill each other!

Loon Lake Vacation: A week of our family together and we didn’t kill each other!

This summer, instead of spending a week on the Oregon Coast, our family went to Loon Lake in Eastern Washington.  Sure, it isn’t Southern California with Disneyland but I wanted to go somewhere to read a book, play some board games, swim, canoe, and just plain relax.

Eagle on our lawn!

To be honest, I have never been to Loon Lake but with the handy dandy internet it appeared to be a good choice. 

Where the heck is Loon Lake?  Loon Lake is about 26 miles north of the city of Spokane and an easy drive north from the downtown Spokane area on U.S. Highway 395.  As I said before, we have never been to Loon Lake but I did do some research on the internet, asked a few friends (who where from the Spokane area), and it turned out to be a good choice.  We rented a house right on Loon Lake with the thought that we would have another family come with us.  As it turned out, no one else could make it (or maybe they just didn’t want to spend a week with me?).  Nevertheless, we had a nice family vacation with just the four of us.

The other bonus (of Loon Lake) was our mobile phones didn’t work (no cell signal) and we had no wi-fi/internet at the house we had rented.  We were disconnected and it was very nice to be out of the loop.  No Facebook, no Google searches, no email; just books to read, games to play, canoes to paddle, and a warm lake to swim in.

Our house was located on the east shore of Loon Lake so we had a sunset to admire every night.  The weather was a mix of sunshine, rain, and thunderstorms.  We had some awesome lightening storms a few nights while we were at Loon Lake.

The wildlife around Loon Lake is abundant.  We had a bald eagle that landed on our lawn with a huge fish one morning, lots of ducks, loons, etc.  The fishing is Loon Lake is supposed to be very good as well.  They stock it with silver salmon in the spring and our neighbor mentioned several other kinds of fish.  I’m not much of a fisherman, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the list of fish mentioned.

One drawback to our vacation house was the lake was a bit shallow off our beach and dock area.  You could swim but it took a while for you to get to a deep enough spot to swim.  It was only five feet deep 50-75 yards off our beach and it was very mucky (if you put your feet down and tried to touch the bottom).  If we come back to Loon Lake, I would like to have a vacation house with a beach with a steeper slope and less muck off the beach.Loon Lake house

We brought a canoe and this allowed us to paddle out to a swim dock (that one of our neighbors had anchored in deeper water).  We had a great time jumping off the float and swimming in the deeper water.  In August, the Loon Lake water is very clear and warm.  It was warm enough that I wish I had brought along my snorkel gear; I’m sure I would have enjoyed myself for a few hours swimming around.

Loon Lake is a fairly large lake at 1,100 acres.  It is about 2 miles long and 1 mile wide with a depth of 100 feet at its deepest point.  You will see jet skis and water ski boats driving around, but it wasn’t too busy during the week we stayed.  I wasn’t annoyed by the noise and most of the time; you can’t hear a ski boat on the other side of the lake.  I’m not sure that Loon Lake has a public boat launch or a public beach.  Perhaps the lack of a public boat launch keeps the crazy boaters off the lake?

loon Lake, Washington

If we come back to Loon Lake next summer, we will most likely come a week or two earlier in the month of August and look for a smaller cabin/house if it just the four of us again.  The house was too large for us.  We will look for a smaller house, maybe one with a hot tub.  We would also be nice to have a water ski boat (but I haven’t been waterskiing for about 18 years or longer).  Or some loud jet skis!  So if you have either, you are already invited for next summer’s Loon Lake vacation.

Excuse Me, Is it Time for Spring Break?

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we love our vacations and breaks from work and life. We don’t get lots of sunshine (we get about 200 days of clouds and rain a year) so we like to leave town for long weekends and spring breaks. In fact, earlier this year my daughter and I took advantage of our school district’s Mid-Winter Break (President’s Day week) and did a California Roller Coaster trip. So you bet I’m excited about Spring Break because we aren’t going anywhere!

What? No sunshine for Kevin? Yes, sadly that is correct. Since I’m a school photographer, Spring Break is a mixed bag of work and a few days off. All the school districts in the Seattle area like to take different weeks off for spring break. This is a major pain in the butt because I have to work during my kids spring break. This year I have a few days off so I’m hoping we can do a couple of fun adventures in Seattle. Maybe go out swimming at Tahoma Pool or even over to the Federal Way Community Center and partake in their swimming pool and lazy river. I wouldn’t mind even staying in a hotel for an evening and enjoying the hotel swimming pool and getting a pizza for dinner!

So tomorrow starts the Spring Break week for our family. My wife and I are headed out of town to the Eastern side of Washington State in the hopes to find a little sunshine and relaxation. I’ll make sure to give a full report of my trip to Winthorp, Washington and let you know how things are there. We get back on Monday. My son gets a little longer vacation with his friend’s family to the Oregon Coast.

The Oregon Coast is an excellent vacation but it never seems to be sunny (even in August). Honestly, we once had better weather in December than we did in August on the Oregon Coast. Nevertheless, the Oregon Coast is a beautiful vacation spot for scenic views and gorgeous beaches. Just plan to enjoy your hotel’s indoor pool if you want warm weather.

Thanks for reading. As always, leave those comments and snide remarks below!

Hawaii Life TV Show

Yesterday, I managed to watch another episode of the TV show “Hawaii Life”.  This one involved a former pro surfer who was moving back to Oahu (Hawaii).  Oahu is called the “Gathering Place” island and roughly 85% of the state’s population lives on Oahu.  That is about 850,000 people.  As you can figure out, the State of Hawaii has about 1 million people.  This doesn’t include the tourist population that is coming and going throughout the year.

Now, you might now that my parents still live on the island of Kauai (know as the Garden Isle) and that I lived there for a while in my youth.  I attended Kapa’a High School on Kauai.

When you tell people you went to school in Hawaii, everyone thinks it must have been totally awesome.  Warm weather, the beach, the kick back lifestyle.

As a teenager, it wasn’t as fun as you can imagine.  I’m a haole boy (a Caucasian) so I got picked on.  Part of the problem I was a big kid, not fat mind you, just physically big.  I swam, mountain biked, and lifted weights (me Incredible Hulk, me strong…not really).  I was a pretty good target for local boys that didn’t like haoles.

Not all of my experience on Kauai was bad.  I did have some great friends and did a lot of fun activities.  I was just careful on where I went and who I was hanging out with.  If I had my big Hawaiian friends, I was able to go to some rougher areas.  If I was with my haole friends, we went to the more public beaches.

When I watch the “Hawaii Life” show, I enjoy it.  The show “Hawaii Life” is well done.  It is fun to see sunshine, surf, and the beaches here in the comfort of my Seattle home.  Hawaii is a wonderful place and after watching this type of show I get a bit homesick.  The weather looks wonderful, the beaches look inviting, and the family (buying the house) appears to be very happy.

SAM_1334kevin

To combat my feelings of moving back, I quickly watch a few episodes of “Dog the Bounty Hunter”.  Nothing like Dog chasing down some meth head or bail jumper to snap me back into reality and wake me up!  The reality being that Hawaii is like everywhere else.  Sure, you have great weather but you also have drugs and crime, good times and bad times.  Life is what you make of it.

In the meantime, I plan to whine about not living in Hawaii and not buying a house like the folks on “Hawaii Life”.  Boo hoo.  Poor me!  What am I going to do.  Perhaps I should start a donation site in which people (like yourself) could contribute to my family’s move back to Kauai.  What do you think about that?

making peace with the wrong side of 40

My midlife crisis made me want to live simply. Unfortunately, there isn't much simple about it most days.

New England Nomad

All Things New England

Evil Squirrel's Nest

Where all the cool squirrels hang out!

Abbey Co.

Restaurateur, Big-Time Foodie, Baker of Too Many Sweets, and Total Northwest Lifestyle Fanatic

missdreamymarie.wordpress.com/

Writing | Books | Caffeine | Life

The Tawdry Tales of Tess

Memoirs, Musings and Advice from a Very Naughty Girl

The Phil Factor

Where Sarcasm Gets Drunk and Let's Its Hair Down

The Brasharian

style and culture blog

Appetite for Sexual Destruction

Welcome to the Jungle that is online dating in your 30s...

Everything Southern

lifestyle blog

joeyackles2

Hopeless & Waiting

Kristina Gallo - Broken rules

psychology, society, relations, business, sarcasm

UpChucking Words

Puking up Poetry, One Verse at a Time

Rebel Housewife

Wife. Mother. Employee. Blessed, stressed, living the real {good} life.

minmylife

Minimizing in your life to achieve your dreams!

Letters From The Sky

a personal journal

Alex Lehman

Her work. Her thoughts. Her life

%d bloggers like this: