Deschutes Falls

We finished our first week of official school!  To celebrate we had to check out the new park, Deschutes Falls,  just down the road from our house!  What a great way to end our week, exploring the great outdoors with the great fall weather.  The added bonus was we shared the adventure with great friends!  Although I was hoping for a little bit longer of a hike, it was a great place to explore Deschutes River.

We’re off!
The Mommas!
Our exploring children!
Rock jumping
Strike a pose
We did it!



TL Larson’s Ranch

  Our last stop in this road trip was the TL Ranch in Almont, ND! This has been in my family since 1881! Being able to have my Grandma Lois there as a tour guide was perfect! She was born on this property! The land has changed over the years, but it hasn’t! The highest spot in the county lies on their property. Jay Larson currently owns the ranch. He is the son of Grandma’s brother Jake Larson. The ranch is beautifully maintained by Jay and his wife Tracey. They raise Black Simmental cows. Their hospitality and company is top notch! We appreciated them opening up their home, ranch, and home grown food for us! What a special treat!

  Growing up my family would visit the TL ranch. One of the most memorable times was going during branding season. What an exciting and learning curve that was on the ranch! Especially for this ND city girl! Not that much excitement happening on the this trip! Perfect for us to walk around and hear the stories from Grandma! We went up the hill where you can see most of the ranch! We could see the path Grandma would have taken from her home to school. None of these buildings are still there but you can image it! 

Grandma showing us the history

  Jay and Tracy’s daughter, Amanda, and her three kids were there for short time as well! It was great to see her! We haven’t seen each other for 10 years. In fact we have a picture of us 10 years ago with our oldest daughters. Of course we had to reenact the picture with our grown 10 year olds! Fun memories! Hopefully it won’t be another ten years till we see each other!

10 years ago!

  After the Ranch we headed to Sims Church. So much family history here! It is the oldest church west of the Missouri. It is in the National Register of Historical Places. My Grandma and her sisters helped restore the parsonage! It was amazing to walk through and see all the hard work they had done. Seeing pictures of family members over the years, and hear the stories of Grandma remembering when she went to church in the parsonage home, because the church wasn’t built yet. She attended bible school up stairs, but not in the winter because there was no heat upstairs!

Outside the church!
Grandma Lois’ confirmation class
From the balcony
Out houses! These were fully functioning when I was a little girl!

100 years celebration! I’m in the green circle on the right

Grandma’s Grandparents were charter members of the church and helped build the church. In face both set of Grandparents attended the church. It is crazy to think of how many years, around 130 years, our family has been attending that church and continues to attend. We have deep roots there! In fact, another family member, Jay’s son, will be married there next fall!  

  Going to Sims church was my favorite growing up. It’s a quaint country church! Every time we would go the family would sing for church. The pews would be half empty because there were so many of them. It was Grandma Lucille’s, Grandma Lois’ mom, favorite when her grandkids would sing at church. Every time I sing hymns I image this country church.  

Country church! Sims Lutheran
Great Grandma Lucille

   We headed up to the Sims cemetery. Fascinating to see all the history on that hill. Walking down memory lane with Grandma Lois was priceless. Hearing the stories of so many family members. So much history recorded in a cemeteries all over the nation. Couldn’t help but wonder if my current generation will use cemeteries to preserve the history for centuries to come.  

Brand for the ranch on Great Uncle Jays marker

View from the cemetery

   Our last stop before heading west, was a stop at a family, fun tradition! Salem Sue! She is the world’s largest Holstein cow at 38 feet high and 50 feet long! Doesn’t get any better than this!  

Prairie with Salem Sue in New Salem, ND
Worlds largest cow! Right off of I94!

Chris Ireland

Medora, ND

   I have been wanting to take Greg to Medora, ND for 14 years. This weekend, September 2nd, we finally made it happen. Well, actually Greg did! He planned an amazing cross-country trip that ended in Medora! Thank you Greg! My parents and Grandma Lois met us in Medora. What a treat it was to have them with us! Mom worked in Medora 40 years ago at the Cowboy Cafe. The place hasn’t changed she said, except the guy who owned it is no longer living. Such good food, oh, the caramel rolls!! YUM! Touring this quaint cowboy town was such a treat! Lots of original buildings and a true small downtown feel! The history of the cowboys in embraced everywhere! Love it!


My sweet Grandma!
Ready to adventure in Medora!
Eating at the cowboy Cafe!

      We also toured the Cowboy Hall of Fame. What an experience to go through that museum with Mom and Grandma. We were standing there looking at all the pictures of Cowboys in the hall of fame. Mom and Grandma start talking about when they saw that one in the rodeo. ‘He and his brother were so amazing! I remember watching them!’ Comments like that just kept coming! Makes going to the museum come alive with the stories behind the pictures. We also found my Great Uncle Jake on the wall! In fact that was the last time I was in Medora, was when he was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame, ten years ago.  

Cowboy Hall of Fame
My Great Uncle!
Cowboy Hall of Fame

   We took the scenic drive around Theodore National Park. I didn’t realize how much Greg knew of the history of Theodore Roosevelt or that it was his favorite president! The park is one of the best kept gems in the United States. Part of me wants to encourage everyone to go, but the other part says stay away! Too many tourists will ruin that place! We hope to come back and really explore that national park!

Wild horses!
Whole crew in Medora!
Love my dad!
Touring the Badlands
Ugh! Prairie Dogs everywhere!

   My favorite part about Medora is the Medora Musical. It’s an outdoor amphitheater that seats 3,000 people, facing the Badlands! The view is incredible, the history is rich, the singing and dancing is topnotch! Oh so funny too! The wit these writers have is incredible! The co-host of the show was a neighbor to another Great Aunt and Uncle! We also, got to meet one of the Burning Hill Singers, Misty, earlier in the day. Looking for Misty on stage was a highlight for us all! After the show we got her autograph and a picture. She even remembered the kids from earlier that day! How cool is that!    

Getting ready for the show!
Amphitheater in Medora
Enjoying the show with my Grandma!
Super Heroes! The kids up on stage!
Enjoying the show with Greg!

   Oh Medora! The sweet treasure of Medora, ND. My home state! Thankful I got to share this gem with my family!

Unspeakable beauty

Chris Ireland

North Dakota is Fun

   We went to North Dakota. We went to Medora, ND. We went to the Medora Musical. I really liked it. I thought it was fun. We also went to a ranch. There was some cows 🐂. We also went to the biggest cow 🐄 in the world 🌍. My favorite part was seeing the biggest cow in the world.

On the TL Ranch
Participating in the Mistified Show!

Climbing around Salem Sue

Jadon Ireland
     I had a really fun time in Medora, ND with Grandma and Grandpa Barrus and my great Grandma Lois. Medora is a very small and pretty town in the Badlands of ND. The badlands are very pretty with all the different colors. My favorite color of the rock is the color red it looks like dust, and it looks like pizza grease when it gets on your hands. We drove though Teddy Roosevelt National Park and saw lots of prairie dogs we drove in the badlands. We also saw Teddy’s cabin that he lived in. We went to chimney park there was a chimney in a middle of a field. In the old days they would burn what they did not want to keep. We walked all around Medora and went in all the little shops. We went to the amphitheater in Medora. There we saw the Medora musical. It was really cool with all the dancing and singing. We all wanted to go back again. After it got done we all went to bed.  

Meeting Misty!
Medora Amphitheater
Teddy Roosevelt’s cabin
The Badlands
The chimney
Medora weather station

   The next day we went to the ranch where Grandma Lois grew up. Grandma Lois was with us. She told us all the things. Like where she lived and the path where she walked to school. And all those types of things. She also told us about which grandpa built things. It was really hard to think about all that. After the going to the ranch, we went to the church her grandpa built. The church was really pretty. Grandma Lois told us all the things about it. Then we went into the parsonage. In the parsonage, she told us she went to Sunday school there when she was a little girl. Parsonage was really cool and you could see how they lived in the olden days. There was some really old books there. That daddy and me looked at. Most of the books were from late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Some of the books were written in Norwegian and Swedish. After we saw the parsonage and the church we went up to the cemetery. We saw Grandma Lois’ mom and dad were buried. And a bunch of other people that she knew.  

Learning how to use the phone 🙂
Books at the parsonage
Playing music at Sims!
Antlers found on the ranch!
Cattle and the girls
Playing on the ranch

   After that we went up to New Salem. There we saw the biggest Holstein cow ever. It was so big I could barely touch the utters. We ate dinner there. Then we went to bed.      

Salem sue

We went to the Cowboy hall of Fame there we saw my Great Great uncle Jake Larson picture. Grandma Lois and Grandpa Becky were there also at the Cowboy hall of Fame they were saying things like do you remember this guy or this guy that guy was in the rodeo, he was really good that year.

Ireland cowboy & cowgirls!

   The End

Esther Ireland
   We went to Medora Musical. Me and momma went down to the stage. Misty was in the musical. Her danced and sang and her was in a super sandwich. I loved the musical. We got cotton candy. Before the musical we had pizza.         

The stage!

   We walked around Medora, that was the boring part. I will tell you about the cowboy cafe. First, we got caramel rolls. Then we got pancakes and french toast.  

Cowboy cafe: kids lunch!

   We went to the ranch we saw cows and sunflowers. Grandma Lois was born at this ranch.  

Grandma Lois on the ranch

   We went to Sims church we saw the bell and the balcony. I liked the upstairs of the house. We saw some dresses. They were pretty. They were like baptism clothes. I liked the church.  

Sims church in the background
In the parsonage
In the balcony

   I loved Salem Sue. It’s a cow that never returned. It’s a statue. It’s the biggest cow on earth.  

Salem Sue

   I drove around with Grandpa Tim, Grandma Becky and Great Grandma Lois.  

   The prairie dogs build holes and then pop up. They looked cute! I wanted to take one home! The Grandma’s didn’t like the prairie dogs. We saw them at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We got another ranger book.

Miles of prairie dogs

Rahab Ireland

*Rahab picked the title!u

Adventures at Yellowstone

  We spent the last few days exploring the great park of Yellowstone. We didn’t get to drive the whole park but much more than I have seen in the past! We all enjoyed watching Old Faithful go off. In fact we watched it twice! It’s so amazing what happens under the crust of the earth that we cannot see. I loved going up to Midway Geyser Basin. The colors up there are phenomenal! The kids were working on their ranger books which taught us that the different colors means different temperatures, blue being the hottest. My favorite part we explored was the to Boiling River entering the Gardner River. The contrast between the water temperatures is amazing. I could heat my back and ice my ankle all at the same time!    The other highlight for me was watching my kids work hard on their ranger books. They did a great job trying to learn all they could. Watching them receive their junior ranger badges was a very proud moment! They wore their badges with pride! Love it! All the science and history the kids have learned from our travels this summer is quite amazing!  

   We were in Yellowstone 7 years ago exactly! We saw the Lower Falls last time from a distance. This time we hiked all the way down to watch the water drop off. Watching the incredible amount water fall off the edge in such a powerful way was amazing. I love the imagery of water. It’s quenching, peaceful, and yet so powerful. It reminds me of our Lord. He is the quench of my thirst, provides peace in my life, and his power is unimaginable.  

   Our quick 2 day exploration of Yellowstone Park went way to fast! Loved how much we saw in the park in such a short time. I do hope to go back or maybe check out the Grand Teton next time!

Lower Falls at sunset!
The stone was such a pretty yellow
Powerful water with my best friend!
Boiling river and Gardner River meet!
Picnic lunch at Gardner River!
At Artists Paint Pots
The colors are incredible!
Grand Prismatic Spring
Love Old Faithful
Fountain Paint pot
Beautiful geysers!
Blue stars show the stops we made!

Chris Ireland


We went to Yellowstone National Park. It was really fun we saw bison, deer, elk, pronghorn sheep, and lots of birds. You could almost always tell when there was some animal around because people were parked on the side of the road. We spotted some animals by our selves also. We went to a ranger talk and learn about some animals. I did not know that bison could jump about six feet high they look like they can barely jump a inch. Rahab Jadon and me each did the junior ranger program and got a really cool badge. We went and saw old Faithful it shot up really high it shoots up about every 68 minutes. What I thought was really cool abut the hot springs was all the different colors, it was really pretty. One of my favorite things that we saw was flying mud. The mud was an interesting color a creamy or a light gray color. The mud would bubble and then pop right up in the air so it would look like it was flying. We saw one of the hottest hot springs in the world and one of the biggest hot springs in the world. We saw three big waterfalls up close and one far away. The waterfalls were called Gibbon Falls, Tower Falls, Twin Falls (upper falls and lower falls). Then we went to a place where a very small river called the Boiling river (its really hot) meets the cold Gardner river we made chairs out of rocks. When you sit down you get this really weird feeling because one river was cold and the other hot so you get an icy and hot bath all at once. The funny thing is that the water mixes but the Gardner river stays the same cold. We saw Mammoth hot springs some of it was dried up. Mammoth hot springs was like a hot tub at the top and then some steps going down with water going down, it was really pretty. I really liked Yellowstone and would go back, it was really fun and there is so much to do.

Lower Falls
Ranger talk: holding an elk skull
Mound springs on Mammoth springs
Mud Pots
Gibbon Falls!
Biggest hot spring
Old Faithful!

Esther Ireland

We went to Yellowstone. We had a great time at Yellowstone. I think Yellowstone is the best! We got one book about Yellowstone and a badge. I had to finish my ranger book to get my badge. I think the rangers are the best. They keep the animals safe in the wildlife. When we were headed on the road I spotted a whole herd of bison. I learned bison can jump 6 feet. I think Yellowstone was very nice. We hopped in the pool and mommy did laundry. We went out for pizza, its a family tradition to go to The Gusher! We saw lots of hot springs. Old Faithful was the best! It was a great time watching it explode really high. I thought it tricked us because it starting shooting out water and then stopped. We saw the Yellow Stone River. 

Getting the junior ranger badge
Learning at one of the ranger talks
Working together on their ranger booklet
Wow! Old Faithful!
Waiting for old Faithful
Exploring with the binoculars

Rahab Ireland

   We went to Yellowstone National Park. We went to Old Faithful Geyser. We also saw the Grand Geyser go off. We also went to the visitor center, Old Faithful Inn and Old Faithful Lodge. The next day we went to Gibbon Falls. We went to Beryl Hot Springs. It was one of the hottest ones in Yellowstone. It was really blue and bubbly. Then we went to Mammoth Hot Springs. We drove down to the Boiling River. It was really hot! We sat right where the Boiling River flowed into the Gardener River. We saw some elk. We also did a ranger talk and completed our ranger books. I learned from the ranger talks that bison can jump 6 feet! I was excited to get my ranger badge. I never knew that a stream could be warm. I felt it. It was coming off the Mammoth Hot Springs. Then we went to Tower Falls and Twin Falls. There was an upper falls and lower falls. We went to Excelsior Geyser. Years ago it stayed on for 400 hours. Somebody had put a tripod in it. Some people lost their hats on the ground. Somebody’s also lost their map. We saw flying mud at the mud pots! We saw Mr Gloopy’s mud factory from Candy Land. I loved watching the mud fly. Then we went swimming at the KOA camp.  

I loved Yellowstone!  

Lower Falls
Junior rangers at Tower Falls
Trying on the different horns
Looking for elk! See it?!?
At Boiling River
Mud Pots
Jadon’s favorite geyser!
Old Faithful Inn
Watching the geysers!

The path to the warm stream

Jadon Ireland

Whitewater Rafting

   What a fun adventure we all got to do as a family! I was thankful Greg found a place that would allow all of us to go rafting. It was a pretty easy rafting experience. The kids always impress me with what they can accomplish. They did a great job listening and doing the instructions our guide shouted out. They each sat on the ‘bull’ and rode the rapids. Watching their faces light up as they would hit a wave, was priceless. Full of excitement!     Rafting down the Payette River in Idaho was quite incredible. The beauty on the river is amazing. Taking these adventures with my family has made this summer unforgettable. I know the adventures will continue!      

Sunset at our campsite
First rapid!
After our adventure rafting!
Loving their adventure
Enjoying the ride!
The beginning!
Playing on our personal beach at the campsite!

Chris Ireland

Payette River Rafting

We drove to Idaho. We parked in Crouch. There is a little creek that flows through our camp ground it is called the Payette River. We built a sand castle Cair Paravel. Then we went river rafting. There is a white bus 🚌, 4 boats 🚣, and 7 rapids. The deepest part of water 💦 was 80 feet deep! 3 people rode the bull which was the front of the boat 🚣. Then we had pizza 🍕 on the campstove for dinner 🍴.I liked the camping trip!

Riding the bull
Ready to launch
Our private island
Building the castle: Cair Paravel

Jadon Ireland

Going white water rafting list:

1. We got ready

2. Then we waited

3. Got on the bus.

4. Got the rafting boats ready

5. Then sailed away

6. Then we paddled some more

7. I sat in the middle

8. Esther rided on the bull

9. We went over rapid 1, then 2, then Mike’s hole

10. There were 9 rapids 

11. Jadon and I ride the bull like Esther

12. I sat in the front of the boat and I saw some little rollers coming towards me 
I just like rafting so much!

Doing some paddling
Riding the bull
Loving the ride!

Our camp site had a stream in front of it. We played in the stream. The stream was warm and cold. We played house and we built a sand castle. The castle’s name was Cair Paravel. I was the queen of the castle with a stick. I told Esther and Jadon what to do.

Cooking with Daddy

Rahab Ireland

   I thought that the white water rafting was super fun. The types of rafting that we did were class two and three. We got on a bus and went 8 miles up river. Then we got off the bus and into the rafting boat. You put your feet in the boat and you sit on the side of the boat everyone had a paddle except for Rahab. Our guide’s name was Gary we were the only people in the raft but in a group of four rafts. When we went down the first rapid it was the biggest. Nobody fell off on our boat, but the boat behind us three people fell off their boat. I never fell off the raft, but on some slow spots I chose to jump in (it was really cold). Our guide asked if anyone would like to sit on the front with there legs hanging out. Which is called bull riding. I did it first it was really fun and I got really wet, but it was fun. Some rapids were names like white water 101 and others like Mike’s hole. I really like river rafting. I think that I would like it even if I did fall off, because it is just part of the fun. But I can’t say that because I have never fallen off.

Riding the bull
Taking a swim
Enjoying the ride

Esther Ireland

Fishhook 2017

   I went tubing! It was so fun! So, so, so fun! It was easy to hang on. I liked it when they went fast and turned corners. I first went with Daddy. Then I went on a girls ride. I just liked the tube ride!

My first tube ride with Daddy
Girls’ ride!

   I played a lot in the water and on the park. I liked playing in the water. I liked seeing the Tidewater. It’s the best. The Tidewater is a barge that comes up and down the river. I liked seeing the Riverboat. I liked playing with Cora and Wyatt.  

Beach bums

   Cora made me a anklet, bracelet, and a necklace with her string. It was beautiful.  

Rahab Ireland

We went to fish 🐟 hook there are 2 playgrounds. We only went to 1 of the playgrounds. We also went tubing and swimming 🏊 and knee-boarding. Knee-boarding was really fun and exciting! I deep watered started with daddy helping me. I went knee-boarding for a really long run. Esther water 💦 skied.  

Deep Start!
Beach Start! Exciting!

   We, also, saw the Tidewater barge come up and down the river. We also saw the barge that carried baby fish up. There was also a barge full of grain. We also saw a coast guard boat and a river boat, called the American Express.

   I loved FishHook. We go to it every year!   

Jadon Ireland

We got to Fishhook really late at night. Then we went to bed. Next day it was really windy. So we played lots of games and went for a short tube ride. Then we had s’mores and went to bed. The next day the water was completely flat, but daddy didn’t feel that good. We went to the sandy beach. Cora and I knee-boarded and looked for shells. Then we went back to our campsite. We got the tube and went for a crazy tube ride. Then I skied all by myself without any help. It was really awesome when I came up out of the water. I really liked going outside of the wake because it was so flat. Then we had s’mores and went to bed. The next day we went tubing, Jadon knee-boarded, Rahab tubed, and Mommy, Daddy, and I skied. Then we had dinner and mommy made apple crisp. Which was really yummy! We saw barges pass and lots of other big boats. We went to the park. At the park we played games like tag and what time is it mr. fox. I had a really fun time.      

Tube riding!
Boat Gals!
Soaking in the sun!
Early morning games!

Esther Ireland


   This is my favorite camping spot tradition. It was a great time to catch up on some dearly missed friendships this summer. We played hard but with lots of relaxation!  

Beautiful sunsets
Cherished friendships

   All of the kids tried something new for the first time. What a confidence booster! Esther got up on skis, Jadon rode the knee board, and Rahab rode behind the tuba! I think next summer may be an expensive summer for the Ireland kids with all the new toys they want. 

   I love watching my kids find things to do in the down time at Fishhook. They were always the first ones up playing a game together. Waiting for breakfast to be ready. One afternoon Jadon and Wyatt took apart Rahab’s bike and set up shop selling parts! It got run over before we arrived at Fishhook.

Morning games!
For sale!
Taking apart Misty
Poor Misty

   Thanks Hobbs and Tucker family for making us feel included in your family tradition! We hope to keep joining the camping tradition in the years to come!               

Kids at play!

Chris Ireland