Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tara is Officially a Missionary

Tara left to go to the Missionary Training Center today at 1:30pm.  She will be there for about 9 weeks!  We will be updating her blog for her while she is away.  I made a little movie of some of the photos and a movie clip that I took while we were dropping her off there.  Her mom and her sister Taci cried a lot.  Tara cried a lot too, but as we drove around a corner to leave the parking lot, I saw her walking and talking happily with the two Elders who were helping her with her luggage.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wandering to Wyoming

Welcome to Wyoming

On Wednesday Brooke and I decided that we needed a little adventure. Trying to think of something fun to do, I suggested that we take a drive and see how far we could go in a couple of hours. Thinking about it more we ended up deciding to take a drive up the canyon to Wyoming!

Salt Lake to Evanston

It was a beautiful trip. The mountains were so green and the sky was so blue! We really enjoyed ourselves in the quaint town of Evanston.

Evanston WyomingAdmiring the ReflectionPrairie Dog!

Once we had arrived we found a fun visitors center that had a ton of little Prairie Dogs, some Elk, an old wagon and a “Welcome to Wyoming” sign.

Pionner WagonWyoming Elk

(We had a bit of an adventure when the sprinklers turned on while we were taking a picture!)

Wyoming Water Sprinklers

Before coming home we stopped at an AWESOME little ice-cream parlor called “The Scoop

The Scoop Evanston Wyoming

Brooke got Rocky Road and I got Pecan. It was great fun.

The Scoop Evanston

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Splendid Saturday

On Saturday, Alexis and Michael came over!  Alexis had an appointment to get a haircut at her favorite salon.  So we played a game of Vikings at our apartment then they left to go to the salon.  They got back about an hour later and then we all went to Tracy Aviary!  We had a lot fun there and saw lots of awesome birds.

South American Bird Wetland Bird Scarlet IbisMichael and AlexisGreat Horned Owl

There was a really cool new section in the aviary called “Owl Forest”!  There were some very adorable little owls and some beautiful large owls.  I loved them all!!!!  They were my favorites. 

Another favorite kind of bird was the Elegant Crested Tinamou.  There were several of them in different exhibits and they were all so sweet and friendly and happy to see us!  I’d stick my fingers in through the fence and they’d come running over excitedly and peck at me.  They’re native to southern Chile and Argentina.  In the “Destination Argentina” exhibit, there weren’t fences all the way up to the ceiling… so Alexis was able to pick up a cute little tinamou!  We didn’t know if that was allowed or not, but it sure was fun!  I would love to own tinamou someday!!!!!!!

Elegant Crested Tinamou

Around 5pm, the aviary was trying to close for the day, so we had to leave.  We decided to go to a nearby Middle Eastern restaurant called Mazza for dinner.  Taylor and I went there once before and it was AWESOME.  So we were excited to go again.

After we ate, we went back to our apartment and played Apples to Apples.  We also watched a soccer game online as we played.  The soccer game was Real Salt Lake vs. D.C. United.  They tied with a score of 1-1.

Alexis and MichaelApples to ApplesBrooke and Taylor

We had a very enjoyable day!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Landscape and a Lake

Yesterday was a great day. I went down to the Timpanogos Temple with my mom and sister Tara for the wedding of my cousin Anna. It was so awesome to be there and to see lots of my extended family! Congratulations to the happy couple!!!

Later that afternoon Brooke and I went hiking up in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Lake Blanche Trail. I guess that we have recently got the hiking bug. I wonder what could have inspired that

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At first, I thought that I was going to die. I quickly figured out that while Brooke and I can go the same speed over a gradual incline or flat ground, I end up going a lot slower when it’s steep.

We didn’t take many pictures on the first half of the trail, but once we had gained some elevation we had to take out the camera to get some pictures of the amazing view!

Brooke in the MountainsTaylor looking at the view

About half way up we noticed that the pine trees were giving way to birch. Just above where we took these pictures there was a big grove where a large group had set up camp. Brooke was so jealous and wanted to go camping with them!

Long Way to go

However, we decided that while chatting with campers might be fun, it would be even better to make it to the top of the mountain and to the lake that we were looking for. At about this point we ran into a couple on their way down who told us that the end was about 20 minutes up the hill (actually, it was more like an hour, but that’s okay. I was glad to hear that we were almost there!)

Cute TreeIMG_3130

After a while we made it out of the tree line and found out where winter had gone. He hasn’t left, he’s merely retreated to his mountain stronghold!

The Great Salt Lake!

Once, we looked back and noticed that you could see all the way to the Great Salt Lake! I was amazed how high up we had gone.

Sundial PeakFrozen Lake Blanche

Finally we made it to the top to see the lake! To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Here it is almost the height of summer, and the lake was still a frozen pond. I guess that just means we’ll just have to come back when it looks more like the picture below.

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[Picture from Flicker]

Taylor in the Snow

After we left the lake, we quickly figured out that no matter how hard climbing up a steep snowy field had been, going down it gracefully was nearly impossible. It took us about half the time to go down this area, but most of that was accomplished by sliding down on our rear ends!

Stunning Sunset

On the way down our cold and wet rears and tired legs were rewired by a series of stunning sunset vistas. We made it to the parking lot five hours after we had set out and just as the light was almost gone. We did look at the trailhead sign, which had this interesting notice on it, along with other information. [Lions and Snakes and Lightning, Oh my!]

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At first I have to admit that I was slightly chagrined that it took us three hours to reach the top when the trail was only 2.8 miles. Averaging less than 1 mph. That means that if we were going any slower we would have been going backwards! However, I took some solace in the fact that we nearly doubled our altitude during that time! (SLC is just over 4,300 feet, and the lake was at about 7,000!) In fact the internet guides I looked at today said that the trail should take about 4.5-5 hours, so we’re well within the target range.

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As I was hiking on the trail I was pondering (which I frequently do on such trips - maybe that’s why I enjoy them so much?) about the symbolism of the “straight and narrow path.” I thought to myself how interesting it is that, while it is clearly defined in terms of width and direction, there is no mention of whether the path is steep or level, or whether it is long or short. I guess that things like that are left up to us to discover for ourselves as individuals.

All in all, I guess that the following quote rings true after days like yesterday.

Muir Quote

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tranquil Taylor

I just went into our bedroom a few moments ago and found Taylor sound asleep.  Hector was next to him under the covers as well, so I had to take a photo!

It was just so cute!!

As I was taking photos of the scene, Helen entered the room and felt left out.  So she jumped up on the bed and made herself comfortable between Taylor’s feet.

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So now the three of them are contently napping.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Happy Hike

We went on a hike in the Millcreek Canyon today!  We took the Bowman Fork Trail (we went snowshoeing there earlier this year!).  It was such a beautiful afternoon!  There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground in some higher parts of the trail.  The weather was so perfect!  Not too hot, not too cold.  The mountain breeze was amazing!!  The air was so fresh and crisp!  The smell of trees and wildflowers was magnificent!  The sounds of birds, wind blowing through the trees, and water rushing down the mountain were amazing!  We heard a woodpecker working on drilling a hole and as we got closer and closer to the sound, I spotted it on a tree!  It was so fun to watch it for a while until I accidentally scared it and it flew away.  We heard other woodpeckers as well.  We also heard chipmunks and songbirds.

Pretty leaves were everywhere!

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During quite a bit of the trail we got to hike along a gorgeous creek.  The water is so cold, clear, and refreshing!

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Beautiful tree tops!

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The view from the crest of the hill that we went up to was incredible!  Taylor said that when he first glimpsed the view, his breath was literally taken away.  When I got to the view (I was busy taking a picture, so I was a few yards behind), I agreed that the view was quite breathtaking as well.