Thursday, August 19, 2010

18 years

18 years ago yesterday, I became a mother. It was a great day. There have been many wonderful days and many days that I wonder what I was thinking and what I did wrong. But Peter is strong in the gospel, loves his family, cares for others and is great at choosing friends so I really don't have much to complain about. Now he's a man and time to see if I did an okay job.
Okay, so he was given a Japanese sword for his birthday so we'll see if he makes it to 19 . . .

Monday, August 9, 2010

Top of Timp

Hiking to the top of Mount Timpanogos has always been in the back of my head as something that I would like to accomplish some day. Last week Markee's best friend, Brittany Hanks, put together a hiking trip for Saturday and invited me. How could I pass that up?!
So, at 3am Saturday morning my friend, Tabitha (Brittany's mom) picked Markee and I up and we were off. We arrived at the Timpooneke trailhead and started hiking at 4:30 am; Tabitha and Brittany, Markee and I and five more of their friends, all excited for our adventure.

It was still dark and guess who chose not to search the whole house for a flashlight? I had to rely on those in the group that had flashlights and headlamps, but hiking in the dark is really pretty fun, I decided. It was a beautiful sunrise. That is the moon up in the top right corner.I am a fast hiker, not liking to stroll. I'd rather walk fast and then stop periodically to enjoy the scenery. I am also one of those hikers that people make fun of for taking pictures of flowers and rocks. I took well over a hundred pictures of our hike. This is one of my favorites because I looked up - and there was a pyramid! I made a couple of the boys go up the hill so they could flank my pyramid. This picture also captures a small bit of the fields and fields and fields of flowers. I have never seen so many wildflowers! It was gorgeous.
After running up much of the hike with one of the boys, we arrived at the meadow, waiting for the rest of our group, and someone coming down told us that we were only halfway there and pointed up at the very tip-top of the peak. We have to go all the way up there????! Yeah, I slowed down from there. Getting up to the "saddle" was pretty steep, but that was nothing compared to getting the rest of the way to the summit. Markee was scared to death and her ankles were hurting, but a really nice man asked how we were doing and took Markee by the hand when he realized what a hard time she was having. He guided us from the saddle to the summit, he and a couple guys with him. I am not afraid of heights, well, at least I never have been, but I have to say, that trail from the saddle to the summit was one of the scariest walks/climbs I have ever done. I could NOT look down - I was so intimidated - and I was very concerned about getting back down. Markee and I were so relieved to make it to the shack up at the top. Here are Markee and Brittany at the top and then our whole group just before we were ready to make the descent. It was so cold at the top because of the wind!

Fortunately we discovered that going down was MUCH easier and I had no fear of the height at all. Odd that what scared me so much as I was going up didn't even faze me at all going down. Hmm. Our whole group really scattered as we went down. I was with the front group at first until one of our boys decided he was going to scamper down a rock fall "shortcut" and ended up doing a somersault down the rocks. I stopped to do some first aid - he was remarkably unscathed - and we were left in the dust. We ended up in the middle group until we decided to sit and wait for the tail to show up. Finally Tabitha, Brittany, Bryce and Markee arrived at our waiting place. Markee was in excruciating pain - ankles - and Tabitha was just entirely done in. We let the others go ahead and we made our way down at the only pace Markee could endure - snail. I felt so bad for her! We didn't make it down to the trailhead until 4:30pm - exactly 12 hours round trip. We were all SO sore!
This adventure was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but so worth it. I fell, exhausted, into bed Saturday evening and my thighs are still tender, but I think now that I would like to do it again. Call me crazy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pioneer Day weekend

So, Pioneer Day weekend. This is our time each year to introduce our Japanese student (Yuki, this year) to a small-town Utah celebration in Beaver and a spectacular national park (Bryce Canyon). This year we were not able to camp due to timing and we were missing Peter because he was on a high adventure camping trip canoeing in Yellowstone. But we still made a great weekend, cramming our short time full of activities. None of us had time to get bored!
We started our adventure this year with a stop at Cove Fort to tour this almost 150 year old, well preserved, fort.

We arrived at Mom and Dad's house in the afternoon and, to fill the afternoon, we went swimming at the Beaver Pool and then went up into the mountains. The water was coated with algae so no one even wanted to wade and there were a lot of bugs, but Erik had to go explore halfway around the lake so we hung out waiting for him to come back. It was a beautiful evening and nice and cool up in the mountains - a nice reprieve from the heat of the valley.
Pioneer Day always starts with the Beaver 5K. In years past the route has started from the mouth of the canyon and ended in the center of Beaver - mostly downhill - so we have nicknamed it the "Beaver Downhill". Last year, if you will remember, I won my age category with my best time ever. This year they played a trick on us all. They changed the route and it was half uphill! I wasn't prepared and only came in 2nd in my age group. :-) It was a nice course and I will be prepared next year! Nicolas and Yuki ran it too. Yuki came in 3rd in his age group. Jared's broken toe was not healed enough for him to really run the race, but he walked/ran with Nicolas. After he took this picture he stayed with Nicolas while I ran ahead. And yes, Nicolas did run in jeans and watershoes. We can't get those articles of clothing off his body.

After the run is the parade. A great small-town parade, the kids end up with a shopping bag full of candy. The fire truck signals the end of the parade, spraying huge streams of water in the air for all the spectators to play in. I love this picture because it is so joyful. It was a VERY hot parade day and the water was much appreciated. Even Jared got into it with the kids.

After the parade we go to the park in Beaver and have lunch and then we always head to the Beaver Swimming Pool for the "free swim". It was very crowded and we didn't get to stay too long because they had to have people leave to allow more to come in. We all had a great time though - even Dad came in the water with us!
The next activity on the agenda was a "barbeque" in the park with Alison's family. We have always had activities with Alison's family too and since this is "their" town, they run the evening barbeque and invite us. I love family and extended family and extended, extended family!! Yuki discovered exactly how big we grow people in America. This picture is so funny; it looks photo-shopped with the huge discrepancy in sizes - and Yuki is standing on his toes!! Jared Lowe is Alison's nephew and he is 6'8" at the time of this picture. At the time that I'm typing this he might be taller. ;-)

This year the highlight of the barbeque in the park was taking rides in the antique cars. Kitty corner to Pioneer Park is a house that had about 10 antique cars parked along the road. Christie took her boys over to see the cars and soon most of the family trailed after. The guy who owned the cars was excited for the attention and gave everyone ride after ride after ride. It was great. Meanwhile, Dad played soccer with Yuki, Jared and Jeff entertained Christie's youngest, Jack and Erik, of course, climbed trees.

Pioneer Day in Beaver always ends with fireworks. Mom and Dad's backyard is the best viewing loacation. Alison's family comes over at dusk and we hang out waiting for the fireworks. This year Mom has a very friendly neighbor horse that the kids had fun feeding. Even Yuki fed the horse a carrot. Bet he's never done that before!

We played with sparklers and, of course, had to make a pyramid. That seems to be the new tradition.

Erik wanted to be part too, but we only had Kennedy to be on the top so the pyramid is a little lopsided . . .
Sunday we were off to Bryce Canyon. Another must do - everyone has to pull off and stop at Red Canyon to take a picture. It's kind of funny. It's a beautiful little canyon, but we are always on the way to Bryce and don't want to take the time to explore so we pile out of the car, pose for a picture and jump back in the care to continue on. Makes me laugh. So here's our funny picture of Red Canyon this year.

And then we were at Bryce Canyon. This is our favorite place to go in the summer because it is a high canyon and so usually cooler. Not this time. It was so hot! We hiked Navajo Loop and although it was Mom that we were worried about, with the heights, it turned out that it was Dad who scared me to death. Mom was fine with the heights this time, not even getting nervous, but Dad was really showing his age and had to stop so frequently to catch his breath that I was afraid I was going to have to carry him the rest of the way up. Note to self, don't let Dad do that again.

After Navajo Loop we picnicked at Sunset Point and then drove to Bryce Point. It is a beautiful lookout and one end of the Rim Trail. I love the Rim Trail and talked Yuki, Jared and Nicolas into doing one last hike while everyone else drove to meet us at Inspiration Point. I ended up piggybacking Nicolas most of the way, but really enjoyed the hike and we got this great photo on one of the fins.

Our day at Bryce was over and it was time to head home. One more tradition, stopping to take a picture at the entrance to Bryce Canyon. I wonder how many of these we have now?