Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Timpanogos Cave

A week or so after Julie (the Lehmitz's foreign exchange student from Denmark) arrived, we took her on an excursion to Timpanogos Cave. Will and I jumped at the chance because he had never been. Sad, really, to have lived in Utah all your life and never experienced Timp!
Will was a manly man this time and took Cole up to the top. Although it was only a mile  climb, the incline was quite steep. We nearly killed some members of Will's family. 
Just taking a break. 
This is one of my favorite pictures of the midget. You can see how sweaty his helmet made his head. I just want to pinch those cheeks!
Cole was a bit dumbfounded by the flash.
We took tons of pictures inside the caves, but most look like grotesque fungal growths. If you really want to see a show, go climb the mountain. It's worth it. 
The gang on the way down. I had to pause and nurse Cole by the bathrooms. Nothing like the aroma of pit toilets to excite a child's stomach. Mmmm... the trail was closed off there so it provided a little privacy. Ah, the joys of motherhood. 
We love National Parks and Monuments!

Epic Journey to King's Peak

Over Labor Day weekend, my dad planned a backpacking trip to King's Peak. I  really wanted to go, but was a little wary because Cole was only six months old and we had never left him. Also, Cole came down with a pretty bad cold and was feeling miserable. Despite these inhibitions, my spirit of adventure won out over my motherly instincts. (Cole did just fine without us.) So Friday, I packed our bags, making sure to include the electric breast pump. We arrived at the trailhead around eight-thirty p.m. and hiked four or so miles in and found a less rocky spot to lay our heads. 
I was surprised at my dad's cheery attitude in the morning. He forgot his sleeping pad, and was freezing all night in his sleeping bag. 
Our second day was a killer. We needed to take all day Friday off and hike in to base camp ten miles, instead of the four. 
My brother, Justin, and his wife, Mya. Mya was a real trooper. I think she carried enough food in her pack for all five of us to eat for four days. As a teenager, she worked in Yellowstone on the trail crew. The crew's were managed by college students. One week, she had the unfortunate time of being with a insane, hard-core crew leader who thought it would be a great adventure not to pack food for the crew and let them live off the land, fishing and eating dandelion leaves. Needless to say, they were starving. Mya and her friend found half a jar of peanut butter in one of the saddle bags and devoured it in the woods with their bare hands. Since then, Mya has been paranoid about starving in the woods. Mya generously shared canned chicken wraps with ranch that day for lunch. 
King's Peak is far ahead of us. The trail in was really quite easy and flat, albeit long. 
Justin was kind enough to pack a tent and his fishing pole in. Will and I are minimalist when it comes to backpacking, or should I say, I am a minimalist. I learned what really was essential after working as a wilderness therapy guide for a whole summer. 
I was amazed at the erosion on this mountain. It looks like a tiered pyramid. 
Waiting for the rest of the crew. We left our packs at camp and began the ascent to conquer King's Peak. (I was still lugging the breast pump.)
Gunsight Pass. You can either go around the backside for a longer, more gradual climb, or take the shortcut scrambling up the scree on the mountain. We opted for the shortcut. 
Before the scramble up the mountain.
Dad, pausing to get his breath before surmounting another large boulder. This was not his favorite part of the hike.

This is on the pass, looking over the valley  on the other side of the mountain that we did not explore. I love the purplish hue of the mountains in shadow.
Another shot of the high-altitude barrenness. 
King's Peak, just waiting to be conquered. At this point, it was about four-thirty in the day. We had a decision to make, Justin and Mya were behind us, and we knew that it was going to be getting dark. We had at least two more miles to the top, but didn't want to be caught on the scree with nightfall. I was confident that Will and I could make it, but was doubtful about  the morale of the rest of the party. Also, Cole's sickness was starting to assail me. My throat was sore and my head congested. I recalled my mountaineering class in college. It was there that I learned there is no shame in turning back when conditions were not right. Safety is paramount. We decided to head down the mountain and wait to conquer King's another day. 
The best view of Dad. This is after an emotional moment as we're coming down the side of the mountain. All of us were tired, and the trip was especially difficult for Justin and Mya because they had lost Mya's brother, Body, the summer before on a hike. We were just glad Mya and Justin decided to come with us and not let the tragedy of their loss stop them from having other adventures.
We got back to camp around dusk. I remember looking for firewood and never feeling so miserable and spent. I had a really bad cold, and my head was pounding, but I was trying to still remain helpful. I crawled in my sleeping bag under our tarp to pump and I never got out until morning. My wonderful husband was kind enough to bring me dinner in bed. 
On the way out Sunday. 
Through the mucky-muck. 
Justin, gracefully maneuvering on a log. 
Will and I created a toilet paper finish line for my dad when he got back to the parking lot. We all made it back safe and sound. Taking off my boots never felt so good. Dad treated us to some great greasy hamburgers and shakes. Until next year, King's Peak!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lake Blanche

In August, we hiked up to Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon with my dad to prepare for our upcoming ascent to King's Peak. 
The last time Will and I ventured on this trail was during snowshoeing in a blizzard a couple of years earlier. Needless to say, Will enjoyed this trip much better. 
This time Will could actually see the lake instead of me pointing to him and saying amid the fog, "This is where the lake should be," Will was much more impressed this time around. Dromedary Peak is right above the lake.  
I couldn't resist adding another shot because it's so great to see the reflection of the mountain in the lake.
Cole is happy after his feeding. There is nothing more comfortable than nursing on a rock. 
We did it! The hike up to King's Peak wasn't nearly as steep or strenuous.

St. Mary Lake

Our last hike in Glacier National Park was halfway around St. Mary Lake. Our picnic in the parking lot was a little windy, but the hike was fabulous. It was about seven miles round trip.  
This is the first of three waterfalls we saw during our hike. There were actually several more, but I learned that it is not technically considered a waterfall unless it is at least twenty feet high. 
There was this cool dock we were able to walk out on. When you jumped on it, the dock swayed back and forth. I pretended I was a pirate and for the rest of the hike started every sentence with "argh"... just kidding.
The second waterfall. 
Upon seeing the water in Glacier, I was  constantly reminded of Gatorade. The camera doesn't even do the color justice. 
I love this picture of father and son at St. Mary Falls. This was our final destination and the tallest one. It was definitely worth the hike. Cole's thigh looks massive in this shot. We can pretend that he has always been a chubby baby. 
The falls in all their glory. 
Cole was laughing uproariously on the way back. Every time we would try to take a video, he would stop. At least we got a photo to capture his love of hiking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Homefront

This is Sarah and Ben's beautiful house that Ben built by himself. They will never have a mortgage payment, just pay as you go. I wish we could do that. Absolutely astounding craftsmanship and creativity. 
This is their starter home. They lived in the tree house for three years as newlyweds. Now, Emily and her husband are living in it. Greatest feature is the zipline to the outhouse. Before Sarah and Ben were married, we were talking about how great it would be to live in a tree house and they actually made it happen.
Tifilia at dusk on the Henderson property.
Just taking a walk to see the dead cow house. 
The infamous dead cow house. This was one of the first houses made from lumber milled in Eureka. The Henderson 's took some of the wood and used it on the interior of their coffee shop. I loved the weathered wood painted light green. I want to do it in my house. 
Moshe and Emily.
Thanks for such a great time in Eureka! We always love coming to visit. 

Lake Koocanusa with the Cousins

So this post is out of chronological order. I realized there was more Eureka stuff I wanted to publish. 
Lake Koocanusa, really a giant reservoir straddling the border between Montana and Canada. The "Koo" stands for Kootenai River that was dammed, the "can" is Canada, and the "usa" is for U.S.A. Kind of fun to say, but I feel like I would have named it in second grade or something. 
We went up to West Kootenai so Will could see the Amish country, but the store and everything was closed, unbeknownst to us. It was a beautiful drive, however. 
The whole clan, minus Mindy. She was always taking the pictures for us. The Henderson's were fabulous hosts. I definitely gained weight due to Mindy's delicious cooking. 
Moshe in a cool log on our hike to see a little waterfall. 

Grandpa Gary with grandson, Emil. So cute. 
In January, Sarah and I took pictures with the bellies. This is the "after" shot. It's always a fun adventure to go on car rides with two nursing babies. We definitely made the trip longer.