My girls are very fortunate to have lots of cousins. Including all those on my mom's side of the family in New Jersey, they have more cousins than I can count. But all of their first cousins are here in the west. Some are really local and some live a little further away, but we always manage to see everyone at least once a year. Sometimes, between our ski trips in Oregon and their visits here, the girls see their Pacific Northwest cousins two or three times a year. Time spent with cousins is among the girls' favorite things, especially with any of the five older ones.
Our nephew Tim studies mechanical engineering in Oregon and was looking for some work to do in the last few weeks before school starts, so John and Jeff thought they could keep him busy down here. John had some LCD testing work in mind for him, Jeff talked about his dog walking, car washing, furniture moving, and weed-pulling needs. But fortunately for Tim I think John's idea won out.
Tim arrived last weekend and on labor day we all decided to go for a little drive/hike/picnic in the hills. The state park we chose in known for fun rocks to climb, and Uncle Jeff lead the way.
We found a big open cave which is popular for bouldering, with mats on the ground and climbing shoes and chalk. But Tim decided to show the girls how it's done without any of those silly safety measures.
The park was fun, though a little nerve-wracking as the girls scrambled quickly around large rocks with a huge steep drop-offs on nearby edges. And of course the girls were running and climbing in all different directions at once, so John, Jeff, and Tim mostly followed on one at a time while I wandered around taking pictures.
We had lunch on the rocks and then hiked down back towards the cars and then back up another trail to take us to a waterfall. The trail takes you to a platform at the top of an unexpectedly high waterfall, though it's about the height of the dry season now and the it probably isn't as nearly as impressive as it would be in spring. Still, it was a beautiful view up there.
By the time got back to the car again the girls were covered in a fine layer of dirt head to toe, sweaty, and tired.
"Those are some filthy kids," Uncle Jeff noticed.
"Yes, I might give them a bath as soon as we get home," I answered.
"How about bring them to my house and throw them in the pool instead!"
The only thing more fun than climbing and hiking with their big cousin is swimming with him.