Fort Stevens Historical Tour

This week, we take you on a tour of the Batteries at Fort Stevens and learn how the enemy targets were found, how the guns were aimed, and the steps taken to fire the guns.  We also walk through the batteries to learn their history and some of the stories of the men that served here.

Our Video

For more information about Fort Stevens, watch our two other videos – the History of Fort Stevens and Stories of Battery Russell.

Weblinks

Much of the information, photos and videos used in this video came from the Costal Defense Study Group.  They have information about forts all over the country, how they worked and declassified historical documentation.  Very interesting stuff if you want to take a look:

For more other information on the history of Fort Stevens, visit the sites below:

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

History of Fort Stevens

During my research for our guided tour video, I was amazed by the history of Fort Stevens and decided to make a historical summary.  After way too many hours of research, finding photos and editing, this 3 1/2 minute video is the result!

Our Video

For more information about Fort Stevens, watch our two other videos – a Historical Tour of Fort Stevens where we talk about how the guns were fired, tour the batteries and talk about their history, and Stories of Battery Russell where we talk about its unique history as the first mainland military installation to be attacked since the war of 1812.

Weblinks

For more information on the history of Fort Stevens, visit the sites below:

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

 

This week we take you on a guided tour of the Portland Children’s Museum to explore its activities, see the new outdoor area and help you plan your visit.

Our Video

Our Tips for Visiting

  • All of the parking spots at Washington Park are Pay to Park – with fees ranging from $4-$6.40 per day depending on the season.  You pay our parking at the machines located throughout the parking lot – just remember your parking spot number before heading over to pay.
  • We prefer to park in the smaller parking lot to the South of the museum because it is easier to get in and out of and you don’t have to cross the street to get into the museum.
  • We normally arrive shortly after the museum opens to avoid the crowds and head over the the exhibit area first, so our boys can have first pick of the activities.  As people start to arrive, we move through the museum just ahead of the wave so that we see all of the sights without the busyness.
  • Because most people going have kids, half-day visits (3 hours or so) seem to be a perfect amount of activity time.  For older kids, you can drop them off in the maker studio to work with nails, glue guns, wood and cardboard and come back a few hours later to find some really nifty, really large creation he had made.
  • The food at the cafe is great, but the seating areas fill up quickly close to meal times.  Arriving early allowed us the option of just leaving before lunchtime and getting something at home or eating out at our leisure.
  • The main restrooms at the front can get busy as well, but there is a second (and nicer) set of restrooms through the doors in the middle of the exhibit hall or down the winding hallway past the clay studio.

Weblinks

For more information about the Portland Children’s Museum, events or camps, visit http://www.portlandcm.org.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

Best Sledding Near Portland

This week, we explore your options for sledding near Portland and take you to our favorite place with advice on how to make your trip a memorable experience for the whole family.

Our Video

Getting There & Advise 

Aright, so you want to go up to the mountain for an awesome day of sledding.  But first, there are a few things you need to take care of:

First, you need to get a Sno-Park parking pass.  These are required for parking in any of the Sno-Parks in Oregon between November 1 and April 30.  They cost $4 per day or $25 per year and can be purchased at REI (click the link for more places).

Next, you will need to check the weather.  Mt. Hood Meadows is right up the street from Little Jon, so I use their weather forecast.  You need to find a weather window that will have good snow on the ground for sledding, but a clear/partially cloudy day.

Heading up to the slopes, make sure you bring chains – and if you start to feel nervous, put on your chains at the CHAIN UP AREA.  Don’t pull your car over to the nonexistent shoulder and try to chain up.  It is a recipe for an accident or someone getting hurt.

As for clothing, in my experience, my day on the slopes lasts as long as the boys can stay warm.  The moment someone has cold feet, hands or ears, no amount of standing next to the fire will make it bette.  Come with good hats, boots, gloves and glove warmers if you want to stick around for awhile.  And once your kids are done, cut your losses and leave.  All those happy memories you are trying to make will disappear with you yelling at your kids while they are crying about their one cold finger.  I’ve been there… I understand you want to stay for just 30 more minutes, but it won’t be fun for anyone.

For food, simple is better.  Sandwiches, fruit and a warm drink in a thermos are your best bets.  While cooking hot dogs in the fire seemed like a great idea, they take forever to cook through – and squatting next to the fire holding a pole still for 5 minutes at a time wasn’t worth the effort.  S’mores though are easy and a great end of day treat (or a great incentive for kids good behavior).  If you are going to use the fire, bring some logs along for the pile.  There aren’t any rangers or day use fees here, so if there are no logs, there is no fire.

With only one restroom at the park, the line grows longer as the day does.  Plan on giving yourself 15 minutes just waiting in line (hint: take your kids to the bathroom every few hours so there is no emergency).  It is also a good idea to have an extra roll of toilet paper in the car in case all the rolls get used up (protip – it is ALWAYS a good idea to have toilet paper, paper towels and a couple of trash bags in the car.  When you need them for any reason, you will not regret having them).

Last, be safe.  Wear a helmet, don’t go over the large jumps and avoid the tree line at all costs.  It is always two seconds after a injury that you convince yourself you really shouldn’t have done that – and now you are broken or gimpy for days, weeks or months.  It’s not worth the video/bragging rights.

Thanks for coming along with us and we hope you found all this information helpful.  If you have any comments or suggestions on other great sledding sites, feel free to post them in the comments section of the video.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

Little Crater Lake

In this short video, we make a quick stop at Little Crater Lake south of Mt. Hood and learn about this unique little wonder.

The trip out to the lake is great if you are already in the area, but I wouldn’t make a day trip just to see it.

Access to Little Crater lake can be from the trails while camping at Timothy Lake, people hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, or using a little parking lot in the Little Crater Lake Campground off of highway 26.  Little Crater Lake Campground is a small, but nice place to stay and is less busy than Timothy Lake.  However, the road to get there is full of potholes, so drive slow and have a vehicle with good ground clearance.

Here is the link to get there: Little Crater Lake.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

Backpacking Lookout Mountain

This week, we take the boys on a backpacking trip up to Oval Lake and Lookout Mountain to see the Perseid Meteor Shower, test out using Hyperlapse and Night Lapse, and see one of the best views in Oregon.

Our Video

Getting there:

  • First, you will need a NW Forest Pass or equivalent before heading out.  Visit the link to see where you can purchase them.
  • Set your map to Fifteen Mile Creek Campground.  Keep driving 0.3 miles past the campground on Cold Springs Road until you cross Fret Creek and see the gravel pullout.  The trailhead is on the southwest side of the creek.
  • For a KML of the hike from the trailhead, past the lake and up to Lookout Mountain, visit Lookout.kml.

Lookout.jpg

This hike is great for kids for a couple of reasons:

  • The drive to the trailhead is on paved access roads.  No gravel trekking required.
  • Only 1.3 miles up to the lake.  There are some steep climbs, but if you leave yourself enough time, most kids over 6 could make it.
  • There is water from the lake.  Sure, it will clog your filter, but it is better than having to haul water with you.
  • There are developed campsites on the south (and apparently one or two on the north) that are not frequently used.  If by chance there is a group up there, there are plenty of level spots to camp.
  • There are two optional trips from the lake – one to the Flag Point Lookout and the other to Lookout Mountain.  If your kids are up to the challenge, both are interesting to visit.  During the summer, the Flag Point lookout is staffed, and you can try your luck at being invited up to see the view (Ranger discretion of course).  During the off season, you can rent the lookout here (book early, it books up a long time in advance).

 

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

 

This week, we take you on a guided tour of OMSI to see the exhibits, attractions, food options and help you plan your visit.  OMSI sits right on the bank of the Willamette River in Portland area and has several exhibit halls, hands on laboratory areas, and special features like the USS Blueback Submarine, a panoramic Theatre, a rotating exhibit hall, a Planetarium, an excellent scientific gift shop and more.

Our Video

Currently updating this page :-/  Sorry!

Weblinks

For more information about OMSI, events or camps, visit www.omsi.edu.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

USS Blueback Submarine Tour

This week, we take you to explore the submarine USS Blueback, docked next to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon.  This Barbal-class diesel electric submarine was first launched as SS-581 in 1959 and was in service until decommissioning in 1990.  In 1994 the submarine was docked alongside of OMSI and has been available for tours since.

 

Our Video

 

Information

There are several tours per day and tickets can be purchased at the OMSI ticket counters.  At your tour time, you will be asked to demonstrate your nimbleness climbing through a replica watertight door.  After that, you will head down to the docks for your tour to begin.

The actual tour takes an hour and a half, so there is a lot more than what was shown in this video.  There is also a technical tour for those interested in learning about the technical workings of the Blueback – or you can even arrange to spend the night on the sub -sleeping in the bunks and eating in the crew’s mess.

Weblinks

More information about touring the USS Blueback,  visit https://www.omsi.edu/submarine.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

Astoria Riverwalk Hyperlapse

This week, we take you on a 4.8 mile Hyperlapse bike ride of the beautiful, but surprisingly hazardous Astoria Riverwalk.

Our Video

Information

I am always on the lookout for a good scenic dedicated bike path.  With the boys, it’s always good to have a path safe from cars or other readily hazards.  On a previous visit to Astoria, I remember noticing the Riverwalk path and added it to my list of future rides.  I looked up the path on Google maps for bike paths and was pleasantly surprised by the 4.8 mile path.  What I failed to realize beforehand was the pitfalls of the trail for bikes – regular railroad crossings and frequent vertically spaced boards – the gaps between being the perfect size for skinny bike tires to fall into.  My idea of a beautiful scenic ride soon turned into an intense effort to avoid wood gaps and railroad crossings.  Would I bike it again?  Probably not.  Or at least not with the kids.  But its namesake – a river WALK – that I might consider with more enthusiasm.

riverwalk2

While we started at the west most end down next to the piers, it was not very scenic, so I cut it out of the video.  There is a small parking lot down on the west end, but it looks infrequently used and looks like an easy target for a car break in.  Down the road there is parking for the marina at a steep cost of $10 a day.

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Before the ride, we stopped of at NW Wild Products located right next to the marina.  The view were amazing, the food was incredible and the freshness can’t be beat.  We highly recommend stopping by if you get a chance.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

Visiting Fort Clatsop

This week, we take you to learn about the Lewis & Clark Expedition, hear stories of their adventures from actors in costume and see a replica of the fort they built after reaching the Pacific Ocean – all at Fort Clatsop.

While visiting a replica fort may not sound like an exciting morning, the rangers made this a very enjoyable experience  They were interactive, knowledgeable and engaging for kids and adults alike.  At the end of the gun demonstration, there was a guided walk to the coast, a nature walk with a ranger and a kids craft activity lined up.  In the end, both of the my boys were begging to stay, and I was the one dragging them away for lunch.

Our Video

Activities

  • Visit the museum with exhibits about the Lewis & Clark Expedition
  • Watch one of the movies in the theatre that explain the Expedition and the history at Fort Clatsop.
  • Tour the replica of Fort Clatsop and talk to knowledgable rangers in costume.
  • Listen to dramatic stories from the Expedition including a demonstration of how their guns were fired.
  • Stay for kids crafts and activities.
  • Go on a guided hike from the Fort down to the ocean and learn about the plant and animal life in the area.
  • Visit the gift shop for books, souvenirs or stuffed animals.

Our Tips for Visiting

  • Come early before the crowds arrive – which makes finding parking and interacting with the rangers easier.
  • Pack a picnic lunch if you want to stay all day – there are plenty of areas to explore and learn about.
  • If you are in the area for awhile, ask about the Jr. Ranger program at the gift shop.

Weblinks

More information about Fort Clatsop can be found at the website for the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

Fishing at Horning’s Hideout

This week, we take you to Horning’s Hideout to experience the easiest fishing near Portland, learn how to clean a trout from a professional, and see the other offerings around the private lake.

Hornings hideout is a private lake nestled in the mountains north of North Plains, a 25 mile drive from Portland.  It is the perfect place to take kids fishing because no license or gear is needed – just show up with your kids!  Our first experience at Hornings hideout was with a first grade field trip and the fact that every first grader caught a fish that day gives you an idea of the difficulty level here.

Before you head out, check their website or call ahead – sometimes the entire place is booked out for concerts or other events.

When you arrive, there is a $4 per person fee for using the grounds – which includes fishing rods, bait and supplies.  Find a place to park in the ample parking area.  To go fishing, stop off at the trouthouse to pick up your supplies.

While we started fishing from the island, we weren’t catching anything so we moved next up the lake next to the bridge – and that’s when things go exciting.

Once you have caught your fill, take your supplies and fish back to the trouthouse to have your fish weighed.  You pay by the pound before cleaning.  We caught five fish totaling 3.4 pounds and were charged $24 (that $7/pound – prices may change).  Then clean your fish at the fully equipped cleaning station.  We were fortunate enough to have the owner present to give us a professional lesson.

To make your trip easier, we recommend bringing a cooler with a picnic lunch.  There a picnic tables located around the lake.  You can also use the cooler to keep your fish cold on the drive home.  We also recommend bringing along some extra rags for fishing (or ask for them).  Their staff is supportive and knowledgeable, so if you have any questions, just ask.

After our lunch, we decided to rent a paddle boat and tour the lake for $5.  At the end of the day, we paid $41, took home five fish and had a great day.

Our Video

Weblinks

Besides fishing for small to large groups, Hornings hideout has many other offerings as well such as areas for picnics, disc golf, camping, weddings and concerts.  For more information, please visit their website in the description.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

Exploring Ape Cave

This week, we take you to explore Ape Cave just south of Mt. St. Helens.  Ape cave is located 75 miles from Portland, about an hour and a half drive from Portland.  Ape Cave was formed over 2000 years ago when a rare lava flow pulsed through the tunnel for several months creating a deep and wide tube.  When the eruption finally came to an end, it left spectacular 13,042 foot long lava tube – the third longest in North America.

Our Video

Ape cave was discovered in 1947 by a logger and first explored by a group of Boy Scouts in 1950.  The name Ape Cave is loosely tied to the local Native American tales of Sasquatch sightings in the area.

Head down the trail and make sure your lights work while learn about white nose syndrome.  It is a disease that is rapidly killing bats across the country and the USFS has special instructions on preventing it if you travel to different cave systems.

When you get in the cave, continue straight to hike the 0.75 mile lower cave.  It should take around an hour.  To hike the upper cave, turn around at the bottom of the stairs.  The 1.5 mile trip takes around 2.5 hours to complete – returning on a paved trail above ground.  This section of the cave is less travelled due to rockfalls and a 8 foot tall lava rock wall.

For maps of the cave systems, visit: http://www.mountsthelens.com/ape-caves.html

This episode was one the the first ones we made, and it shows.  We have gotten a lot better, I promise.  This video is one of three slated for a makeover before we start our next season. 

Our Tips for Visiting

  • After finding parking, make sure to use the restroom – as there are no places to relieve yourself in the cave.  You will need a jacket, because the cave is a chilly 42 degrees year round.
  • Even if you brought your own headlamp, we recommend renting a gas lantern for $5.  It will give off much more light, you will be able to see in all directions and it will add some warmth to your trip.  Plus you’ll get the feeling of being a real explorer.
  • Also in the same area, just 10 miles away is Lava Canyon –  a family friendly hike with a suspension bridge over a large waterfall.  Many people will visit Ape Cave and Lava Canyon together making a fun day trip.  To see our adventure, visit Hiking Lava Canyon

Weblinks

More information on the fees, passes and other information can be found at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recarea/?recid=40393

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

NW Corner of Oregon

On a lot of our adventures, we stop off at some random spot that I spotted on a map.  I wonder what the view is like from there… or …it would be cool to say I stood there.  This was one of those trips.  What would it be like to stand on the very northwest corner of Oregon?

Our Video

To visit yourself, drive to the Jetty Observation tower and walk your way up to the rocks 😉

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

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Hiking Lava Canyon

This week, we take you to explore the Lava Canyon Suspension Bridge near Cougar, WA.  Located 75 miles away from Portland, Lava Canyon and Ape Cave are often hiked together for a family friendly day trip.

Lava Canyon was formed over 3500 years ago when a lava flow descended down the Muddy River Canyon from a Mt. St. Helens eruption.  Over time, the Muddy River cut a channel in the lava rock, creating the canyon.  For centuries, the canyon filled with sediment until the 1980 eruption, when the Shoestring Glacier quickly melted and roared down the mountain in a gigantic lahar flow cleaning out the canyon sediment to show the canyon in its present state.

There are three difficulty levels to the trail.  The first path leads 0.4 miles down a paved path to an overlook with interpretive signs.  The trail then transitions to a rocky 0.5 mile loop that crosses a suspension bridge over the canyon waterfalls.   This 1.3 mile loop is perfect for families.  The third option is for experienced adults and takes hikers down a narrow path next to cliff edges for a view of the waterfalls cascading through the canyon.

Ten miles away from Lava Canyon is Ape Cave, another family friendly adventure, and most visitors will do both activities on the same day.  Ape cave has a 0.75 mile hike from the main entrance to a dead end.  To view our adventure visit: Exploring Ape Cave

This episode was one the the first ones we made, and it shows.  We have gotten a lot better, I promise.  This video is one of three slated for a makeover before we start our next season. 

Our Video

Our Tips for Visiting

  • The parking lots fill up quickly during the summer months or warm weekends.  As always, I prefer to go on the off-season or during the weekdays with the decreased crowds.
  • As seen in the video, there are numerous warnings about deaths from leaving the trail.  Keep your kids close and follow the posted signs to stay safe.
  • A recreation pass or day use fee are required to visit and park here.
  • Check the website link below to check the road and trail status.  During the winter, the roads may be closed or the trail may be shut down due to fallen trees or rocks.

Weblinks

More information about Lava Canyon can be found at USFS.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC

 

Astoria-Megler Bridge

This week, we take you on a relaxing drive and enjoy the beautiful views crossing the four mile Astoria-Megler Bridge across the Columbia River.

The Astoria-Megler bridge was opened in 1966 and at 21,474 feet (4 miles), is the longest truss bridge in America.  It is only one of two bridges that cross the Columbia River west of Portland, Oregon.  The $24 million cost was paid for by tolls, of which were removed in 1993 when the costs had been paid.  The drive itself costs nothing and has easy access from the Astoria waterfront.  It is easier to turn left on the Washington side as there are several easy turn around spots.

Our Video

Our Tips for Visiting

  • If you are interested in visiting a military fort, Fort Columbia is right down the road on the Washington side of the bridge.  One of the three defensive forts of the Columbia River, it is a great place to stop off and see the gun pits and one of the guns installed during WWII.  You can learn more about the Columbia Forts in our history video.

Weblinks

More information about the Astoria-Megler Bridge can be found at the Travel Astoria page or Wikipedia.

If you enjoyed our video and think your friends would like it, we would love for you to share it using one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in coming along with us on all of our travels, you can join us on FacebookYouTubeInstagramWordPress or via e-mail.  Thanks for exploring with us!

© Divergent Life Media, LLC