Saturday, August 23, 2014

King's Peak

Kirk and I helped the Fallentine's lead a group of 9 older Scouts of Troop into the Uinta's to King's Peak, Utah. We had to drive through Wyoming only to get into Utah again. The plan was to backpack in about 8 miles and camp at Dollar Lake which is at an 11,000 ft elevation. Then we were to day pack 13 miles round trip up King's Peak which topped out at the highest peak in Utah at 13,572 ft. Then backpack out the next day another 8 miles coming back down in elevation around 7,000 ft. 
That was the plan.
 Hiking in was really strenuous with the elevation change. If you felt like you weren't out of shape, you would now feel that you don't exercise a day in your life. Kirk had been in Seattle all week doing 12-14 hour days and then flew in at midnight the night before we set out. He had packed his backpack with the boys checking to see that he had everything. But with only 4 hours sleep and being exhausted to begin with, among other things, he felt like the oldest one there.....even though he was. It was a little scary.
 Everyone hiked at their own pace. Kaleb and Jared were in the front of course with the Fallentine's who have a very fast pace. I could never keep that pace. I am some where in the middle. Kirk took of the rear of the group with a couple others who actually wanted to hike that pace. We all hiked where we were comfortable. No pressure. We had some pretty interesting conversations in the back as we hiked. The boys talked about what their plans were for college, what games they like to play, what type of vehicle they want to drive and ammunition.....It's a boy thing.
 This place is absolutely beautiful. It was hard to take it all in because our goal was to get to Dollar Lake and set up camp, rest and hike up to King's Peak, early, early in the morning. With the elevation change I was very wobbly on this bridge. It was so hard taking secure steps with the water rushing under. Visually it was extremely disturbing. (I met a robust guy who had troubles coming across on our way back down who had the same trouble. So I didn't feel so bad.)
 We must have passed about 100 hikers coming out as we were coming in. Each of the scouts had a topo map of the area so they could see where we were. I didn't want to be a typical "girl" on a Boy Scout High Adventure so I carried my own pun intended. I am fully capable. No worries there until I picked up my 28 lb pack one of the times we rested. I was okay until I went to sling it onto my shoulder. Oops. I pulled a muscle right over my hip. I didn't make a peep about it. It didn't start giving me problems until about an hour later when it began to creep around the front of my leg. I started having trouble bring my leg forward. Oh great! Not quite what you want to happen out on the trail with two days of hiking ahead.
 We finally got to Dollar Lake and set up camp. It had been raining/sprinkling off and on, on the way in. I think almost everyone went to bed before 7 pm, except Jared of course. He was one of the last ones in his sleeping bag. (It is amazing how he is always the last one since he was a newborn!) I guess the best way to wear out a group of Scouts is to hike the daylight out of them. This was definitely a strenuous hike.....but I loved every bit of it.
 Unfortunately, I was the only one who didn't make it the next day up to King's Peak. I stayed behind to rest my pulled muscle, take ibuprofen and watch the peak from the foothills. I was really disappointed and could easily become teary eyed thinking about being left behind until I realized that God had had other plans for me. I needed the break. Really? Out here where there was not another living soul...unless you count the moose. All the other hikers in the area had left for home or were on the peak with Troop 1. I spent 10 hours all by myself. And I wasn't scared being alone in the wilderness. The chipmunks kept me company. They are quite bold. I spent the day lying on flat boulders taking naps. My back was painful but I felt like it was on the mend by the afternoon. I was relaxed until I saw an afternoon storm rolling in with a vengeance. I was hoping that they had made it to the top before it came in. They should considering that they had left at 6am to make it to the peak by 11:30.
 This is proof that they made it up there by the time it started thundering and lightening. I was so nervous. I sat in the rain for an hour watching for signs of life coming off the mountain. My Mom instinct was on high alert. Kaleb said that there was finger lightening all around them as they were coming off the peak. It was really scary for the boys. One of the boys had altitude sickness and was rushed down the trail as fast as they could get him. Remember, the peak was over 13,000 ft. He recovered quickly just being down off the mountain and at 11,000 ft. Whew! Kirk said it was difficult with sore legs to scale the boulder size shale. I am glad that I rested my back.
 I am really proud of this group of Scouts, my Hubby Buddy whom I called "Bubby" everytime we did a buddy check. The Fallentine family is amazing with all their planning. There was never a moment that I didn't trust Mark. He had this trip so well planned out, there was never a moment that I felt like any of the boys were in danger. Maybe except for the lightening. There were a few hikers who didn't make it to the peak. I talked with quite a few as they were coming down while I was waiting for our group in the pouring rain. The other hikers had to turn around just 300 ft from the top because of the lightening. It was just too risky and dangerous. Our group had started out early enough to make it to the top. All because of Mark's planning.

 I was really relieved to hear about their adventure that day when they made it back down. I felt like I could relax a little with everyone back at camp. It was a little stressful with the thunderstorm, knowing that they could easily be zapped by lightening. In spite of it all, I felt like I got the mental rest that was intended for me. There is just something about lying in a tent in pouring rain listening to the sounds of nature or lying on a huge flat boulder, using a jacket as a pillow, watching beetles, inspecting lichen up close, listening to the birds......
I had a great time.
 The next morning was beautiful of course. Bright sunny day. We set out early once again for the hike out.
 This is proof that I was there. I did hike in and out the 16 miles. And I am a new person. I feel rested even though my body feels exhausted. Mentally and emotionally.....God knew exactly what I needed by providing me with 10 hours of solitude. The next morning, I started hiking the trail to the lake to sterilize more water. I looked up just in time to almost run into a mother moose and her baby. Oops. I backed up immediately and waited for them to move on.
 The same moose family was blocking our way out. We had to go around the moose.....way around the moose to get past them. They are amazingly HUGE animals.
We hiked out in quite a bit of mud. It was much easier coming down in elevation than it was going up. That was a no brainer. We made really good time. This time someone helped me with my pack going on and off, which is what I should have done to begin with but then I wouldn't have been able to "restart" myself. I really needed the break from everything and everyone. It was the only way to recover from severe burnout.
Thank you Lord!
One of the incentives that the scouts had is if they hike out before 12 noon then we would stop for pizza in Mountain View, Wyoming. We did it with Kirk and David hitting the trail head at 12 noon on the dot. Noon also brought another thunderstorm. By the time we reached the vehicles it was dropping buckets of water. We were so soaked. We all looked like drenched rats, not to mention the wet dog smell in the van....Ugh!
 We stopped for pizza and this little 4 year old girl was having a birthday party with a zebra cake. The mom didn't have a match to light her four little candles so Jared ran out to the van to find a lighter. He lit the little girl's candles for her while her family sang Happy Birthday. It was cute. Next thing we know, Jared walks out of the restaurant with a zebra cake. They didn't want the rest of it so they gave it to the boys to eat.
David sneaking bites of  leftover pizza from behind the seat.
Time to wash the van!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tiki Headley

 Kaleb has been working on this paper mache Tiki mask for many, many weeks. We made it home from our Arizona adventure for him to finish it before entering it into the fair. I think the paint might have been still damp when we were driving to the fair grounds.
Well, guess what....Kaleb's Tiki Mask is going to the State Fair! 
Woo Hoo!

Life at the speed of light.....

This whole summer has been a blur....
literally. I don't even know how we have managed to keep up. It started in March when I discovered that I was dredging through some major burnout, got life in order at home to drive down to Arizona for the month of May. Helped my mom recover from back surgery, which she has done extremely well, thank you Lord. Helped my parents get through my Dad's Honey Do List to get the house ready to sell.
They sold their home in THREE days!
My mom came up to Logan to look for a rental until they buy a home....which I had already been looking for three weeks and hadn't found anything. Kirk worked for WOW in Tennessee for a week painting murals for a huge church there in their children's area. At the end of July, the boys left for Wyoming for Scout Camp, while Kirk left for somewhere, which I can't remember where for workshops for work. It could have been either Seattle or Sacramento. Remember...I said this summer is a blur!
 The plan was for the boys to go to scout camp, while Kirk left on the plane the next day for somewhere....and the girls and I would keep up with everything. I had to write it on the calendar which day to put out the trash. Last time Kirk and the boys weren't home, the girls and I forgot about the trash. It is not good to forget trash and have to live with a full garbage can for two weeks. Not good.
We had to remember to water the garden...which meant that I had to run the sump pump out of the irrigation system. Uugh!
I was really happy for them but a little stressed with everyone leaving us. This was only the beginning.
On Friday we were expecting Kirk to return on the plane in the evening....the girls and I headed out at 8 am to Wyoming to pick the boys up from Scout camp a day early. It was only the beginning.
After an 8 hour round trip to pick up the boys, and driving straight to the garden to water, we headed home to meet Kirk, pack bags, and load the van for our 14 hour trip down to Arizona. It was time to help my parents move to Logan. WOW, at this point it was only the beginning!
 We managed to finish packing their kitchen, load two 26 ft trucks, swim, visit with our dear friends in only two days! It was a whirl wind expedition. Everything was going as planned. A little emotional for the kids knowing that it might be some time before we saw our friends again but worth the short time that we had together. I had to really try hard to keep my chin up and just not fall apart.
These three have been together since they were just babies. I was at Hannah's birth. She was just as beautiful then as she is now.
 The Dart girls stayed very late. It was so good to hear the laughter.
We started out early with my Mom's truck pulling a trailer, our van loaded with fragile things, my Dad driving a Penske truck pulling his car and Kirk driving the other truck. We each had a kid riding with us so that they could work a phone if needed. I was to lead which I was really worried about but it boiled down to the fact that I was the only one who had driven the route the most AND I wasn't pulling anything. I was a little stressed out knowing that wherever we stopped, it had to be a place that everyone could fit and not get themselves trapped, not able to turn around.
 Well, just 2 hours into our journey the truck my Dad was driving started having problems. we are stuck in Kingman, Arizona in 100+ degree heat for about 4 hours.
 Until this tow truck showed up to tow the truck to a repair shop in Las Vegas, Nevada.
 We had to disconnect the car and play chase to the tow truck until we realized that we weren't going to keep up.....AT ALL! It was horrifying to think that the load inside the truck was going to shift with the rate that the tow truck was hauling. We made it into the repair place in Las Vegas only to find out that there were some pretty huge things wrong with the motor. Oh...did I mention that we had 3 dogs with us on this trip? Our two and my parents little dog? Yeah, we did. The guys at the repair shop let us hang out in the drivers room with the dogs where we ate pretzels, apples and soda for dinner. Not much but we weren't really hungry anyway. Some of us tried sleeping out in the parking lot in very hot weather even for midnight. It was horrible. They managed to get the truck repaired by 3 am where we started once again hoping to get near St. George where it would be a little cooler. We did manage to make it quite a ways and slept in a parking lot of a casino. I felt like we were dangerously tired. I am so thankful that God was watching over us. Did I mention it was horribly hot?
We spent 38 hours driving a 14 hour drive. I am amazed that we managed to get up to Logan safely. With 4 drivers, we weren't tired at the same time but would stop anyway to rest all along the way. At one point we pulled into a rest area with wonderful green, cool, lush grass. I pulled a sheet out of the van and spread it on the grass. We all lined up on the sheet and literally fell asleep. I slept so good. I think I even heard some snoring going on. We were so desperate for sleep after the heat the day before and lack of sleep.
It was quite an that now feels like a blur. It was a true testimony of how families stick together through thick and thin. At one point my parents were thinking of having us go ahead of them and they would come later when the truck was fixed but we all decided that we wanted to stay together. 
Oh, we never found a place for my parents to rent so they are staying with us until they find a house to buy. 8 people in one house with two bathrooms hasn't been too bad. We have enjoyed them being with us so far. I think it will be a happy but sad moment when they find a house to buy and move out. It is hard to believe that they really are staying. We are excited to be able to have family so close by.
How beautiful is THAT?

Assistant Scoutmaster

Jared, at the age of 18, is
Assistant Scoutmaster.
We are really proud of him. He has ideas from when he was Senior Patrol Leader that he still wants to achieve to improve how things are run with the troop. He has become a wonderful mentor to the younger boys. They look up to him. They heckle him quite a bit too and give him a run for his money. It is all good.

I love my Son.

I know this picture probably doesn't make a bit of sense to you but it does me. Since the day we moved in to this rental the oven door has had fuzzy stuff between the glass. It has been disgusting to look at. We have spent the past three years trying to find a way to clean it.
Well, Jared was home alone for a few hours with nothing to do. He managed to take the door apart and CLEANED THE GLASS!
 I cannot believe how beautiful the glass looks. He did an incredible job!
I love my Son!


My Mom is visiting from Arizona, looking for a place to live and Kathy is visiting from Malad.
Can't get any better than that!

Independence Day

We spent our 4th of July celebration in Malad, Idaho. 
Our family enjoys the small town feel, sitting along the parade route with my cousin Kathy 
and my Aunt Carol. I can't imagine not spending it with them. 
Along the parade route, they throw lots of taffy.....Lots of it. And because everyone knows Kathy, they throw extra our way. Victoria scored on the taffy. Enough to share with everyone.
Victoria took a dip in the style.
There is just something about being at Kathy's house. It is so peaceful being away 
from the hub bub of life.
 Kaleb is always making me smile. He is always entertaining us in some way.
 Jared be Mr. Cool.
We spent the whole day outside enjoying each others company and into the night,  We all still think that Malad has the best fireworks. I love having family so close to spend wonderful days with.