Friday, July 4, 2008

The Mountains, the Beach, and the Zoo

On Monday my parents, my sister and her family from Montana, and the kids and I all drove up to Julian via Mount Laguna. Julian is fun, with storefronts dating from the 1880's and the smell of Julian's famous apple pies wafting along the covered sidewalks. Most of the storefronts now house interesting shops, including one that sported a bird theme. On our way home, we drove through what's left of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, including the view above from the Stonewall Mine, the richest gold mine in the area. From the mine area we took photos of Stonewall Peak (above photo) which burned in the Cedar Fire of 2003. We used to climb it at least once a summer when we stayed at the horse camp as kids.

On Wednesday after Anglican chapel and a chiropractic visit, we headed down to the beach. It was very cloudy along the coast all day, a bit too cold for swimming, so we took a walk down the beach to the tidepools near Bird Rock. All eight cousins were together today at the beach, so it was fun to watch them run along the beach, gathering shells and interesting rocks. My brother Tom took the kids over to the tidepools where the kids examined crabs, hermit crabs, lobster and stingray carcasses, and sea urchins.

Then we braved the evening commute traffic to the San Diego Zoo which is now open in the evenings after dark for the summer. The eight cousins all posed for a photo in the Children's Zoo before twilight claimed decent light; it's not often we have all eight of them together.

T took my camera several times and took photos of his favorite animals: otters and meerkats. He did a very nice job with the photos in poor light. We stayed until after 9:00 PM after enjoying dinner outdoors. We explored the Children's Zoo, monkeys, tigers, hippos, pandas (no line for once!), lions, bears, elephants, and giraffes.

It's been a busy few days, but the kids are really enjoying the time with their cousins, both the two cousins who live in San Diego and the two Montana cousins. I'm looking forward to a few days of finishing up the kids' school grades and perhaps getting some writing done on my book. And also relax a little, too -- something I have had little time to do over the past few months.

A few extra photos will be posted on my photo blog if you're interested.

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