Tag Archives: halloween

NOCtoberfest – what a hoot!!!

NOCtoberfest at the Nantahala Outdoor Centre is a great FREE community event held on the Saturday before Halloween. There is pumpkin carving, halloween costume contest, face painting and the culminating event – the great pumpkin chase!

385 pumpkins are loaded into three NOC rafts, each one with a number on it. The rafts are paddled from the concrete beach down to the take out beach while tossing the pumpkins out into the river.

Keen pumpkin hunters in kayaks, inflatable kayaks, canoes and rafts chase after the rafts and collect as many pumpkins as they can fit in their respective crafts…

It is absolute chaos – in a really fun way. All is fine and dandy in the first few minutes of flat water. It’s a bit like kayak polo where everyone is chasing after the pumpkins bobbing along in the river. Kayakers have their skirts off and are frantically stuffing pumpkins into their boats. If all goes well, you manage to pull your skirt over your pumpkins before heading through the Falls rapid.

If it doesn’t go according to plan, you end up with a swamped boat and shortly after that pumpkins and people are swimming down the river. Now you are frantically trying to catch your stray pumpkins and get them back into your kayak, which is full of water…

Tim definitely mastered the activity and filled his boat to the max. Between the three of us we managed to collect 33 pumpkins!

Once everyone ends up at the bottom of the river and gets their pumpkin hauls organized, there is the prize giveaway… NOC generously provides over $400 in prizes (as well as the pumpkins). The darn Canadians were pretty successful and came away with a new Watershed Drybag, a long awaited Foamy Boater and a glow in the dark nalgene (doesn’t everyone have one of those?).

We definitely recommend this as a family friendly event. It was cool and pouring rain all day today and yet still so much fun. Kids were in and out of the water all afternoon – like anything, just dress for the occasion and get outside and have fun!



Halloween in Sacramento… “Best Halloween Ever!”

hunter ninja

Although we are away from home right now, we are doing our best to still recognize the important rituals in life… like Halloween!

We picked up a pumpkin to carve at the Legacy Ranch in St. George and spent the morning of Halloween carving it in our campground on the picnic table. It was half Frankenstein (to match his face painting from Legacy Ranch) and half Pirate (carved out as this is what we do every year at home).

We headed into Sacramento mid afternoon to check out Fairytaletown and then head over to the Sacramento Zoo for Boo at the Zoo. It was a beautiful fall day with temps around 23c and the two sites are right next to each other so it was really convenient.

hunter fairytale town

Fairytaletown is all about creating a space to imagine, play and learn for kids. We were near the top end of the age bracket but still had fun. It would be perfect for 4-8 year old kids. There are over 20 “attractions” to stop at and you can buy a key to insert into each stop and it will tell you a story and sing you a song. For the 3 of us and the key, total admission was $16.00 so it’s quite a bargain!

Boo at the Zoo was a new experience for us and it was great fun. The Sacramento Zoo was all decorated up for Halloween and the front half of the zoo had 22 different booths that you stopped at. Some had games to play and some just gave out candy. There were also magic shows and Zoo staff showing off spooky animals.

Our favourites for the night were Pumpkin Bowling, Raptor House and the train ride where Hunter saw a snow lion.

A weekend off in St. George, Utah

hunter tim minigolf fiesta funworld

Hunter hit the wall last week and announced that he was exhausted and needed a day off! His request was at least a day with a) no driving b) no biking and c) no hiking or walking… Geez – you’d think he wasn’t on vacation or something!

He announced this while in Zion and we weren’t willing to give up on hiking there so we negotiated for a weekend stop in St. George, Utah which is just down the road.

We rolled into the campground in St. George at lunch time on Thursday. It is a full service commercial campground at the south end of downtown St. George. It has a heated pool, hot tub, recreation room, shuffleboard and a whole lot of seniors that live here all winter! Either way, it fit the bill as a great place to pause for 4 days and regroup.

Hunter was happily into the pool Thursday afternoon and then into the trailer to play lego and watch movies. He then began busily planning the itinerary for his official “day off” on Friday…sleep in, pool, shuffleboard, skateboard park and sessions of play time and movie watching with dad in between.

hunter dentist broken tooth

The day started well with the sleep in part, and then he woke up and announced to Tim that he dreamt that he had lost his front tooth cap (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152108133720082&set=a.10150715435285082.711133.515250081&type=1&theater) that had been put on September 17th, 2012. He then pinched himself to see if he was still dreaming, put his finger in his mouth and launched out of bed to look in the mirror to discover that YES, somehow in the middle of the night, his tooth mould had come off… MOM!!!! Next step – scrap original plans and find a local dentist. The great news was we found one a few blocks away that could get us in that morning. Total cost $200 US, which is cheaper than the $350 we paid last year in Whitehorse!

New plan for the day – DENNY’s for lunch, which just happened to be down the block on our way home (impulse cravings by 2 boys…). They are both busy chatting about what they are going to order as we are just about to get there and Tim turns to me and asks “is there anything you can eat here? just wondering how much of a jerk I’m being pushing for lunch here”. I answer “Yes, I’ll find something but thanks for thinking about me” and Hunter says “you’re not a jerk, you’re my DAD!”… what do you say to that???

Next impulse change to the plan was walking by Fiesta Funworld on our way to check out the local skateboard park – how can you say no to mini golf, bumper cars and arcade games? The only disappointment was that Hunter isn’t big enough to drive the go-cart cars. Hunter had mini-golf/go-carts on his trip wish list so it was win/win.

It was a fabulously hot day so we all happily headed back to the campground and into the pool for a refreshing break before getting in the truck and heading out to Western Legacy Farm & Ranch for their Sleepy Hollow Halloween event – corn maze, pumpkin catapult, headless horseman,petting zoo, face painting, cow roping, pumpkin trains and more! It was another tick off Hunter’s wish list as he’s never been in a corn maze before. It ran from 5:30 to 8:30 and was a great family event run by a local family farm.

Saturday was another sleep-in for the boys as I got up and went for my first run in 2 months (ouch running muscles vs biking muscles!) and hit the local farmers market. I brought home yummy baked goods for breakfast which helped to get the day started and some school work done. We then wandered downtown to check out the St. George Spooky Town Fair – a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce & the Washington County School Foundation. It was a kid centric fair in the main square downtown with halloween games, halloween activities, contests and lots of food and other booths.

hunter carousel st. george

We started off with a trip on their historic carousel and then checked out the Haunted House before taking a wander around the entire site. We enjoyed the bouncy castle, got some giveaways at the booths and had fun at most of the games booths. The big hit of the afternoon was the Hamburger eating contest, which was sponsored by McDonalds! It started with a Big Mac eating contest between 4 highschool boys, then moved into a second Big Mac round of general public volunteers. Hunter had decided earlier that he wanted to do this but was a little put off with the Big Mac idea as he can’t get one in his mouth to take a single bite! There were enough kids in the crowd that were interested that they ran a Hamburger eating contest – how many hamburgers can you eat in one minute? Hunter came in 2nd (there was a tie between the 2 older boys for 1st) and was thrilled with his performance and the experience as a whole. We were proud of him for choosing to participate (another first!).

After a very hot and exhausting afternoon at Spookytown we wandered around to a few more stores, saw some cool sights, bought some more mountain bike gear and then headed home for another refreshing jump in the pool and some more down time in the camper/trailer.

hunter tim old firetruck st. george


We finished off our weekend with an adventure day on Sunday. We got up early and rode our bikes to Pioneer Park, just north of Downtown. It is a 52 acre rustic community park that is climbers/scramblers paradise. Full of sticky slick rock and well worn routes with hand and foot holds, we spent 2 hours just playing on the different rock formations. We explored on our bikes on the way home and ended up with a 17km ride round trip. This was capped off by a well earned swim in the pool.