It's October 31! That means it's Halloween! This year, I decided to do a group costume with my friend Brooke. We are Octonauts! The Octonauts is our favorite show and one of my favorite series of books. I am my favorite character, Shellington! Shellington is an otter professor. Brooke is Tweak, the bunny mechanic.
I wanted to paint my face to look more like an otter, but my moms said no! Still, I think I look pretty cute. I am wearing brown pants and a sweater, both by Dynamite Threads. My moms specially ordered my Shellington accessories and a friend lent me the magnifying glass. Cool!
Brooke also looks super cute as Tweak Bunny! She has a carrot and a hammer so she can eat a "buncha crunchy carrots" and still fix the Gups (the ships that the Octonauts use).
In my neighborhood, we have a Halloween parade for kids. Brooke and I are so excited to participate and also trick or treat for lots of candy!
Do you celebrate Halloween? Are you wearing a costume this year?
The same day that my family hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail at Mount Rainier National Park, we camped at the Ohanapecosh Campground with my friend Brooke and her family! The Ohanapecosh River also runs through the campground, so Brooke and I decided to play on the rocky shores.
It was out first camping trip together! Brooke lives in New York City too, so we see each other fairly often. Still, it was really fun to see her in a new environment. We wore our matching Camelbak backpacks and carried binoculars so we could look for wildlife.
Brooke and I had a great time climbing around and exploring until our parents called us back to our campsite.
I was pretty excited to pitch our tent because it was a brand new tent! It was also Brooke's first time camping, so she was excited to learn how to put the tent together.
My family brought our camp stove and camp cookware! The speckled blue chocolate pot has been in my family for a long time. I loved helping to warm up the pot of cocoa from our campsite overlooking the river! Brooke seemed to be having fun too.
I was happy to bring Brooke a present to celebrate her first night sleeping in a tent - her own headlamp! It's the same one I have. I love mine and I hope Brooke loves hers too.
That night, we slept really well! We were tired out from climbing and playing outside. Brooke and I have a great time together when we hang out. It even turned out that we had identical pajamas! The next day we had more adventures, but that night, we dreamed good dreams.
Have you ever gone camping? Where did you stay? Did you sleep in a tent, an RV, or under the stars?
Hello my friends! Even though I have been home from my trip to the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks now, I love looking at the photos my family took. Today I am going to share some photos from a hike my moms and I took at Mount Rainier National Park. We hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs trail in the Ohanapecosh section of the park.
The Grove of the Patriarchs trail is special to my family; my Mama hiked this trail with her summer camp when she was only a little older than I am now! I have heard a lot of about this sacred place and I was very excited to hike there. The Grove of the Patriarchs is a grove of very, very old red cedar trees along the shore of the Ohanapecosh River. The trees are called patriarchs because they are elders. The area is sacred to the local Native people, so it is important to be respectful there and not make a lot of noise.
Summer is a beautiful time to visit Mount Rainier! The Ohanapecosh area is green and peaceful. One of my presents for the trip was a special backpack that holds water. I was able to sip the water through a tube as I hiked. So cool!
Part of the hike goes along the banks of the Ohanapecosh River! The river begins as runoff from the Ohanapecosh Glacier, so the water is very, very cold. My Mom stuck a toe in and warned me not to do the same, so I didn't! The river is very clear and blue and you can see the stones so clearly at the bottom. It's beautiful!
Along the rocky bank of the river, you can sometimes see cairns. Cairns are stacks of rocks that guide hikers' way. Aren't they beautiful? I made sure not to knock them over as that would be very disrespectful. One of the things a Junior Ranger always remembers is to "take only pictures and leave only footprints."
Our hike lasted about an hour. I'm glad I had some time to spend with my parents! After my hike, I met up with a friend to camp at Mount Rainier! That's a story for my next blog post.
Have you ever gone for a hike in a forest? What did you see?
Hello my friends! On my last day in Vancouver, I was able to visit the University of British Columbia! My parents and I took two buses to get there and then a shuttle bus to get to our destination - the Museum of Anthropology! It's a great museum on campus that has a wonderful collection of items from the Pacific Northwest (and other places too!)
The museum is bright and airy. I really enjoyed exploring it. One of my favorite pieces is this carved bear. I love its teeth!
This is a beautiful sculpture called "Raven and the First Men," which was created by the famous Haida sculptor, Bill Reid. Isn't it gorgeous? I stood and looked at it for a long time. The sculpture shows the Haida story of the first men. One day Raven saw a special clamshell with tiny humans emerging from it. Raven encouraged them to come out and those people became the first Haida people!
This is me with another bear sculpture. I think Northwest Native art is beautiful. I am so lucky that I go to visit the Museum of Anthropology! I have seen some Northwest Native art at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, but it is much nicer to see it in the place where it's from!
The last thing I looked at before leaving the museum was the Open Storage section. This part of the museum has lots of glass cases (vitrines) and glass-topped drawers so that you can see all the items that are not on exhibition. I was really enjoying looking at pottery from New Mexico with my Mama with my Mom called me over to see something special! It was a beautiful salmon skin robe from the Nanai people near Khabarovsk, Russia! I was very happy because I am Nanai! My parents adopted me in Khabarovsk when I was little.
For the rest of the day, I had a big smile on my face. I wonder if I am related to the person who made the robe so long ago? Wouldn't that be cool?
Have you ever been to a museum? What kinds of things did it have in it? Did you enjoy yourself?
On my second full day in British Columbia, my moms and I did something really special! We woke up very early to ride a train and then a bus to catch a ferry to Salt Spring Island! Salt Spring Island is the biggest of the southern Gulf Islands. I had been hearing some cool stuff about it, so I was very excited that my parents agreed to take me.
The ferry we rode went from Tsawwassen to Long Harbour. It was about a 3 hour ride with a few stops on the way. The ferry ride was so beautiful! My friend Léonie, who had to ride a ferry to get to Vancouver, told me she sometimes sees whales on her ride! I didn't see any whales, though I had wanted to see orcas, but it was still such a gorgeous trip.
Salt Spring Island is a really neat place. One of my all time favorite artists, the writer/illustrator Nick Bantock, lives there! We took a bus from Long Harbour to the little town of Ganges. Ganges is pretty cute! There is an adorable ice cream shop (yummy!) and Black Sheep Books. I bought some postcards at Black Sheep Books to send to my friends from the little post office.
After we did some shopping in Ganges, we went on a hike! It was a very hot day. It was so green and beautiful.
After our hike, we went to a restaurant by the water called Moby's. It was so delicious! Then, we walked back to the main part of Ganges. The boats were so festive looking. I felt like I was walking around in a postcard.
I really loved my time on Salt Spring Island. Before long, it was time to go back to Long Harbour to catch the ferry to Tsawwassen. The taxi driver let me know about a special little place I could go to explore, which is where this photo was taken. I was so sad that we only got one day on the island, but now I know for myself how beautiful it is in the Gulf Islands!
Before long, the ferry pulled up and it was time to board. We took a much smaller ferry back to Tsawwassen, but it was still lots of fun!
As the ferry moved away from Long Harbour, the sun was setting. There are houses all along the harbor and it was fun to wave to other kids from the deck of the ferry. Before long, Salt Spring Island was out of sight and a big full moon rose over the water. It was so beautiful! I took some photos but they did not look very good because the moon always looks much smaller in photos.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit Salt Spring Island on my trip to British Columbia! Have you ever visited an island? Where was it? Did you have fun?
The same day that I went to the aquarium, I also had the excitement of meeting a new friend! My friend Léonie, or Léo, lives in Victoria, a city near Vancouver here in Canada. Léonie suggested that we meet up at Lonsdale Quay to do some exploring and hanging out. It was really cool! I took the Seabus across the harbor to meet her.
Léonie was waiting for me at the Quay. We hugged right away and started talking about how cool Vancouver is.
This is me with Léo outside the Lonsdale Quay market. Can you see the faint skyline of Vancouver in the background? The locks on the fence represent true love. A lot of couples come with a lock, which they attach to the fence and then throw the key in the water. It represents eternal love! I have seen these locks in Ukraine and London as well. In fact, there is a bridge in Paris with so much love locks that they almost broke the bridge. Yikes!
Léonie and I liked being outside more than being indoors, so we took a walk around the park. It's gorgeous there! The park comes right up to Vancouver Harbor, so you can see the beautiful skyline. It looks nicer in this photo than the previous one! Léonie says the water is very cold!
Léonie is an excellent tour guide! I'm really glad I got to hang out with a real Canadian while I was in Vancouver, instead of just my family. I mean, my family is nice! But having a local friend show you around is awesome sauce.
The two of us found lots of cute mosaics on the wall that keeps the harbor water from the park. Léonie liked this butterfly/firefly/dragonfly best; so did I! What do you think it is?
Léonie and I discovered this cool statue thing in Waterfront Park! I think it looks kind of spidery. I pretended I was a dwarf or hobbit in Mirkwood Forest, trying to escape giant spiders! I forgot to ask Léo if she likes Tolkien! Do you think she does?
I loved Waterfront Park. It was cool thinking that just a few days before, I was at home in New York, which is also a harbor city - just on a different ocean. I love the West Coast! The East Coast is home right now, but someday it would be so cool to live in the Northwest.
This beautiful statue was a gift from the port city of Incheon in South Korea to Vancouver! I wonder how old it is? I know it's Korean, but it does remind me a little of Easter Island's moai.
Léo and I also found this giant red buoy! Wow, I love the ocean! Léonie does too. We had lots of good talks on our day together. I encouraged her to watch The Octonauts, my favorite show. It's all about animals in the ocean! Plus? The creators, Meomi, are from Vancouver!
I had a wonderful afternoon with Léonie. It's always fun to meet friends that you know online, but haven't met in real life. I really, really like Vancouver and I hope to be back to see Léonie again soon!
Have you ever been to a harbor or waterfront? Where was it and what did you see?
Hi everyone! It's me, Inky! I am home from one of my latest adventures - a trip to British Columbia and the west coast of the United States! My family decided to visit the Pacific Northwest because my Mom had a conference there. Plus, my Mama has wanted to visit British Columbia ever since she was a little girl, younger than me!
We arrived in Vancouver on a Tuesday night. The very next morning, it was time for our first adventure- the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park! Do you like this giant globe behind me? See how it's south-side-up? Isn't that cool? According to the aquarium, it's upside down to make visitors consider the oceans first when looking at our Earth, not the continents. Cool, right?
The very first thing we did at the aquarium after visiting the globe in the rotunda was see the belugas! There are two belugas at the aquarium- Qila, the one in the photo, and her mama, Aurora. Qila is so funny! Belugas are extremely intelligent and you can definitely see that with Qila.
I loved the show. I learned so much about belugas! Did you know that Greenland sharks, orcas, and polar bears are all predators of belugas? That made me sad, but it is all part of the circle of life. Beluga whales are awesome. They have big round middles and a big bump, or "melon," forehead. I'm really happy I got to see Qila and Aurora!
This is a photo of me with the penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium! Do you see them just to the right of my head? I love penguins too! The penguins at the aquarium are African penguins- did you know there are penguins in Africa? Awesome! While belugas are from the Arctic Ocean, penguins live in the Antarctic Ocean. Good thing I came to the aquarium so that I could see both in one day!
Wow! Aren't these guys amazing? They are jellies, a type of invertebrate. They have no bones, no heart, and no brain. Yikes! They are so beautiful swimming around their big exhibit.
Check out these fish! Isn't their exhibit cool? It's got urchins in it, lots of fish, and lots and lots of rocks! I am a little afraid of fish, but in a good way. My friend Maiki, who lives in Hawaii, has invited me to come snorkeling with her if I visit her! I am a little afraid though, because fish seem so slippery and scary! Are you afraid of any animals?
Clownfish Cove is a neat part of the Vancouver Aquarium that is aimed at kids. It's a room full of different activities, such as touching different things and looking in smaller exhibits. I liked these crabs and sea stars!
Here are some more jellies! I could not stop watching them swim; they are so mesmerizing! Still, the Vancouver Aquarium wasn't the only item on my family's agenda that day, so I had to move on.
The last place we stopped before leaving the aquarium was its gift shop! I really, really wanted one of these narwhal plush toys. I love narwhals! My parents reminded me that we hadn't seen narwhals that day. Plus they were so big that they would never fit in my little suitcase, especially with their long tusks! I ended up getting a magnet instead.
I loved visiting the Vancouver Aquarium! I really recommend it if you go to Vancouver. Plus, Stanley Park is full of big, beautiful trees. The walk from the bus was really nice. I'm happy we got to visit.
Have you ever been to an aquarium? Where was it and what was your favorite animal?
August has been a busy month for my family! In fact, it's been a very, very busy summer. We've gone to the beach here in New York many times. We went to England and Ukraine. We visited New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. And now it was time for another adventure to somewhere we'd never been! It was such a big adventure that I needed to pack a lot of stuff.
This trip would take me to some very exciting places. I needed to pack my red REI packing cube full of different clothes, bring a camera, hiking boots, wellies, Keens, and of course my trusty passport! This would be our last big trip of the summer.
Did you go anywhere exciting this summer? What did you do?
Hello my friends! I'm reporting from New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford is famous for being an important location in the whaling trade. I know, whaling is so, so sad - but it's still important to learn about the history of the whaling industry.
This summer is an especially important time to visit National Park Service sites because this August marks the 100 year birthday of the National Park Service! My first park this August was New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. It's a really cool park! The park is in historic New Bedford, Massachusetts. There is a visitor center and a bunch of buildings you can visit.
After picking up my Junior Ranger booklet, my parents and I began our walk around New Bedford. Just outside the visitor center, we encountered these two nice ladies! Their husbands are whalers and they told us what it was like to be women back in the whaling days. They were very vocal about women's suffrage- or the right of women to vote! I loved meeting them, but I'm glad I don't have to wear so many clothes in the heat!
One of the stops on the tour of New Bedford that Junior Rangers take is the New Bedford Whaling Museum! The first photo in this post- me with the white whale- is outside the museum. This photo is at the museum too! There is a giant squid climbing the front of the museum! Inside, you can learn all about the whaling industry and whales themselves. There are even really huge skeletons of whales! One thing I learned is that whalers were hunting whales to make products from their body parts. Before electric power, many people lit their homes whale oil lamps! Whoa! Some women wore whale bone corsets. Finally, a third thing people used whales for was ambergris, which you can sometimes find in whale intestines (Yuck!). Ambergris was used in perfume and in wine.
The ships that carried the whalers were pretty large with lots of men and boys aboard. Women and girls only rarely came along. In fact, the only job a woman could do on a whaling ship was shout "There she blows!" when a whale was spotted! Whaling ships killed whales by launching harpoons at them from whaleboats, which were smaller boats carried along on the ship. The whale would pull the whaleboat along until the whale was exhausted- the process was sometimes called a "Nantucket Sleighride!" It was very sad, I think.
I loved seeing all the older buildings in New Bedford. I imagine that many of them were built with funds from whaling. I asked my moms to take me to New Bedford because of a song by my favorite band, The Decemberists. The song is called The Mariner's Revenge Song and it's about a young man seeking revenge for his mother's ruin and death.
I really loved going to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park! When I finished my self-guided walking tour, I headed back to the Visitor Center to receive my badge! (You can also take a guided tour, but we arrived just a bit too late for it.) After giving me my badge and helping me take an oath, Ranger Andrew and I posed in front of this whaling ship for a photo! I was so proud.
I think whaling is really sad, but in the past, I don't know if people realized how dangerous it was to kill so many whales. Whales reproduce so slowly that it is very difficult for their populations to recover. Today many whales are endangered or extinct.
If you'd like to learn more about whaling and New Bedford's role in the whaling industry, check out their website at www.nps.gov/nebe! What do you think, would you want to visit this National Historical Park?