Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kaspian Park - Lake Tahoe

Since Tim had to take off work to watch the kids for me to get to retreat on time Friday, we decided that we might as well have a family day together. There were difficulties getting there and my poor A started vomiting with a stomach virus. So we were late (3 changes of clothes later, poor thing!) and thought we might stop and eat lunch at Donner Pass (no cannibal jokes please!). You would think I would know, but maybe I have been living in California too long... but it was COLD and windy and we forgot jackets for the kids. So, we enjoyed the view, stretched our legs and took a potty break, then decided to keep driving to Lake Tahoe for our picnic.

Here is J, happy to be out of the car and running around, "Hi Grandma!"

D and A were inspecting bugs on the granite. Lately A has been afraid of bugs!

The starlings were disappointed we didn't stay for lunch. So was this little guy - a Lodgepole Chipmunk. The body, minus the tail, was about 3" long.
It was interesting to see spring in full force. These were woolly mule ears and they were growing everywhere! Usually we approach Tahoe from the south, but drove on the north side. It's really commercialized, which I hate, but one stretch of the Truckee River is absolutely gorgeous... and no place to stop and take pictures. The river always speaks to my heart and I think it is because of all the happy memories I have of spending time on the Skykomish River with my Grandparents growing up. These flowers were growing around the river area.
Because we got a late start we did not go to our favorite places on the California side of Lake Tahoe. But we did find this Kaspian Park with a bike trail running along the river and lake on the northwest California side. Not only was it beautiful but it was free!
There were many trees there - firs, Ponderosa pines, Aspen and others that were more shrub like. Yes, this moss is growing on the north side of the tree. I know this because I had my compass out. While it is generally true, it is not a reliable indication of north.
Does anyone know what this is? It was growing wild and crazy all over, mostly under six foot in height.
Here is a wider angle so that you can see the bush size better. I'd love to know what it is.
It was a great place to have a picnic. J, D and A sitting at the table.
This was the view to our left from the table area.

This was the view ahead and to the right. It would be difficult to find lovelier views to eat by!

Naturally the kids were up for an adventure! Here is Hubby, D and A, walking on the beach.

A and J throwing rocks in the lake. J accidentally hit A in the forehead. This reminded me of an incident when I was their age. My hand went back to throw and instead of releasing forward it went backward and nearly beaned my brother. I remember the scolding I got from my Grandma Johnson, probably because she rarely scolded me (she spoiled me!) and partially because it all happened so fast, that I did not get it at first. A was okay though.

We are beginning to nature notebook as a family. Hubby does pen and ink drawings with mechanical pens. Here he is sketching.

Since we are adapting Charlotte Mason methods in our home school, I bought the children Twistables colored pencils from Crayola to use. D has a sketch pad and the girls have these small coloring pads for now. This is J drawing. She loves to wear this crocheted hat from Thailand that my cousins gave me. The top is coming unraveled, thus the hole!

I had Hubby take this picture for my Mommy. Please excuse the dippy hat. I am bald on top of my head and need to protect it. Also I sunburn quite easily even with sun screen on. Recently I purchased a 5x7 sketchbook to use. I am going to start again. My Aunt Grace taught me as a child, but photography has taken over as my primary art form. Drawing and painting often frustrate me because I understand the principles well and could even critique others' drawings and give them pointers on what could improve it, but I cannot make what I know and see come out of my own hands! Hubby is an awesome artist, so that is also intimidating. I told him ahead of time that he is not allowed to laugh!

This is basically what I was looking at as I drew. In person, you could see the individual shapes and peaks of the mountains more clearly.

Hubby took this picture of my sketch. The colors are off because I had to rely on the colors I had. I have high quality art colored pencils, however, they have been mostly used in scrapbooking and other types of art projects, not landscape, so the colors are not as natural as I would like. Mainly I threw on a bit of color to give an impression and I wrote lots of notes around the page as this is mostly a nature journal, not an art book. After working on this, I sat on the ground and did some sketches of some of the other wildflowers, plants and trees. It was really fun to have our whole family working on things, separately but together!

Here is A with a pine cone. Hubby and I took our first trip together in August 1998 to Lake Tahoe. I was fascinated by the huge pine cones and we collected quite a few, which we used for table decorations at our wedding reception (we were married 12/27). Now, almost ten years later, my children share my fascination!

Just one more shot! Yes, I take too many pictures! LOL

This was a treasure from God. I have always loved photographing wildflowers as I hike and it is especially exciting to find a new one. This is a Snow Plant, which I have seen pictures of, but have never seen in person. They were growing all over the place, pushing their way through the decaying deciduous leaves, layered below the trees. They are kind of ugly but beautiful at the same time!

We drove around the Nevada side of the lake to get to Zephyr Cove, Nevada which is just across the state line by 4 miles. I love driving on the Nevada side as it is less commercial and you can look back to the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the California side.

Wouldn't it just be difficult to live in that house on the point! LOL

And this shot doesn't have the best composition but I took it to show you the beautiful color - this is all natural! No photoshop retouching!
When my family dropped me off at the retreat I cried. While I was looking forward to the retreat I really did not want to leave my family. It didn't help that D told me he was going to miss me and wished I wasn't going. My kids never look back when they are dropped off in SS or with a friend. They have never been "Cling-Ons", so when he said that, it really struck me hard. After I got settled into my room, it was better though and it was hard not to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. in the next couple days I will share with you some of my pictures from the retreat grounds.


Ruth said...

What memories you will have! Looks like you're all having so much fun together. Nice sketch, too!

Wool Winder said...

Outstanding photos! I felt like I was there with you. I have no drawing skills at all, but your nature journal makes me want to start one of my own.

knitnmom said...

As usual - SUCH pretty photos - both of the views and the family! Love the nature notebooks!! :)

Scrabblequeen said...

Gorgoeus photos, as usual. I need to talk with you about cameras before we head off to Ireland...soon!

Lynette said...

I just love the dippy hat!

Phro5gg said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time. I can empathise with your drawing frustrations. I have these great pictures in my head, but they just won't come out of my pencil! I think that's why I like photography so much.

Marci said...

WOW, what a great family activity. Looks like you all had a great time and came away with homemade treasures!!

Teresa said...

What a lovely time you all had! Thanks for sharing!