Monday, July 6, 2015

Our July Fourth, 2015

I didn't mention it on the day, but on June 30th, it was the one year anniversary of our move to Wichita! In so many ways it seems like we've lived here for longer than that, and that it has always been home =) We are so blessed with our life here!

Our Fourth was Awesome!  

It started out like this for me =)
Red, White and Blueberries

At 9 am, we hit the road for the 100 mile drive to Elk City Lake State Park!   Boy, was it worth the drive!

Our first patriotic family picture of the day
(Thanks, Mom E for the kid's shirts!)

The lake was Huge!   It was hard to believe we were still in Kansas!

We drove on this road across the top of the huge dam

At the beginning of our hike


Check out this elevation!

Crazy boys

Just us girls =)

The point where the hike got REAL! =)  This is actually the way the path went

It was SUCH a gorgeous trail and the climbing and ups and downs were soo much fun!


Our little mountain goat

Love this one

Caleb chillin' during our snack break

Thanks for the photo, Keenan!

Our little poser

The kids and I in the narrowest part of the trail - wow!

I love this man!

Of course, we had to find a geocache while we were out there

So sweet

Seriously?  Kansas??  This so reminds me of Michigan
(It's only the 15th largest lake in Kansas!)

After our hike, we had lunch and then headed down to the bottom of the dam to see the crazy water flow...

It was actually rather terrifying to watch.   3,000 cubic feet of water was coming out per second!

It was soo crazy down there and huge splashes would come up over this wall!

The drain pipe is 16 feet tall but in this video the gate is only open 4.6 feet. At this rate of release the reservoir drops 6-8 inches per day. The reservoir is still about 10 feet above the conservation pool level (and significant areas of the state park are still under water) because the release rate was limited in June due to flooding in Oklahoma and Texas.

Next, we drove into the town of Independence (the Perfect place to be on the Fourth of July, no?) to Riverside Park where they had all sorts of cool stuff including a free zoo, a great playground, pretty gardens, a carousel, miniature train, etc..

I didn't take very many pictures at the zoo because it was hard to get good pictures through the cages.   They had deer, bison, macaws, several types of monkeys, snakes, a bear, a cougar, a donkey, tortoises, wallabees, emu to name a few...

These guys were on "monkey island" (apparently they don't like water, because it was a very effective enclosure)

Not sure what he is

The raccoons were super cute - Moriah could have watched them all day!

Gorgeous Bald Eagle

Cool stairs!

They had a totally retro play area with all different animals and nursery rhyme characters...



Riding bear back

Caleb in the web beside Little Miss Muffet

Rhino attack!

This fountain was pretty awesome

Oh, Snap!

Teepee Trio

Cutie on a Colt

Beautiful swan

The kids loved the giant playground...

Riah on the climbing nets

Caleb on one of the super steep, super retro (super dangerous) slides =)

Keenan and Moriah getting ready to race (I think Moriah got a head start)

The carousel was adorable (and cost only a nickel!)

There was also this cool, old steam engine:

Daddy photo bomber!

Thanks again, Keenan!

...and a smooch to wrap up our time in Independence...

The kids and I slept on the way home, and then we stopped at several different fireworks tents to buy some stuff, but ended up at a HUGE one (seriously, it was like a fireworks Mall inside), where I guess we'll go first next year!

Wichita is soo much fun around the fourth (I say "around", because they set off fireworks for a couple days before And after the fourth).    We could just sit in our driveway and see several hours worth of (really good!) fireworks, going off all around our house!

Not a bad view across the street from our house

Getting out our stash

Philip did a great job, doing our own little show in the driveway.

Sparkler fun

The colors here are super weird! =)

Another shot across the street

The fireworks were still going off in our neighborhood at midnight when Philip came to bed... but we were all so tired, it didn't even really bother us.


Mark and Rebekah said...

I love these pictures Joia!

I can't believe how much you fit into one day! That hike looks awesome! So much fun! I love the vintage playground too.

I'm glad you guys had such a fun 4th :) Looking forward to seeing you guys up here!

PS- The train pictures are my favourite :) It's so nice that Keenan can take pictures for you :)

Bethany said...

Beautiful pictures and looks like a fun, outside-filled way to spend the 4th!