Monday, October 18, 2010

Grand Canyon - Rim to Rim

Last Friday I took a quick trip up to one of the 7 Wonders. The Grand Canyon. It really was a quick trip. We left Thursday at 4 pm and got back Friday night at 10 pm. But we did a whole lot... Like, 21 miles.

We set up camp at the top on the South Rim:
After waking up at 3:30, we hit the trail right at 4:30am.
We made it to Bright Angel Campground at the bottom in just under two hours. We really made great time going down.

We found some picnic tables at Phantom Ranch and stopped for about a half hour to eat and recoup.

It was 7 miles from top to bottom, and then from there, it's 14 miles to the top via the North Kaibab Trail... only 14 miles.
Gotta stop the blisters before they start.
We hiked a bit more and stopped to eat again a couple hours later.

About the time we saw this chopper flying through the canyon, we were hoping they had sent it for us... or at least I was.
Cottonwood Campground is the halfway point on the North Kaibab, meaning there's only 7 miles left! I was wishing I hadn't used to much energy coming down the South trail so fast earlier. But the Canyon sure is beautiful.

This is the last picture I took before I died. I had just ran out of water. And it was hot. This is right after the last bridge you go over in the canyon, and from there, it was just steep switchbacks all the way up the last 3 miles or so to the top.
Luckily, there's a water station at about 1.7 miles left. We rested and refilled there before starting the last stretch of switchbacks. But right after we started from there, it started raining. It was falling nice and steady almost the entire rest of the hike out. And it was cold. And miserable. Though I really think the cold that the rain brought helped ease the pain and soreness in my legs. Really. It was kind of a blessing in disguise. But a miserable blessing, because I don't like hiking in cold rain. I was fortunate that I bought myself those new hiking/outdoorsy pants you see me wearing, because they dried super fast when the rain stopped (and here Shirley thought I was dorky for buying those pants).

All in all, it was fun. And though I tell Shirley there's no way I'd ever do it again... I really would. Though next time I would make sure to train much better beforehand. I made it out in 11 hours. Seriously one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Last Update

Oh yeah, and Shirley had her birthday!
It was loads of fun.

And in other news... I'm a pretty handy guy. Just thought I'd throw this in here. Though out back porch has been a mess with all the little projects goin on.

Still Catching Up - 24th of July

We went up with our friends Natalie and Jack to St. Johns for the 24th of July weekend. She grew up there and they invited us to head back with them for the Holiday.

Now, growing up, I honestly never made the connection that the 24th of July was a big mormon holiday. I never did. Looking back I remember doing things like miniature pioneer treks around the neighborhood when I was in primary at church, but I never associated things like that with the fact that we were celebrating the 24th of July and remembering our pioneer ancestors who bravely trod across the country to find a place to settle and practice freedom of religion.

It wasn't until I was serving as a missionary in Montana, where members in even small, small towns would gather to celebrate the holiday, that I realized the 24th is a big reason to celebrate! They would gather together and play stick ball, wrapping a softball in rabit skin and using an old tree branch for a bat. It was fun.

So, anyhow, we wanted to get out of Mesa (where, admittedly, they do celebrate the day - just not as much as in a small town) for the 24th. and go somewhere where they knew how to do the day right.

It was a week long celebration in St. Johns that the whole town got in on. There was a youth dance and a junior rodeo and all kinds of other things leading up to Saturday. We got there early Saturday and, missing the big community breakfast, made it in time for the Parade! They had a full on parade! I caught a couple pictures of the coolest float I have EVER seen.

Meet Abe Lincoln. He stood up! And then would sit down just in time to miss getting decapitated by the power lines. It was amazing!
After the parade we went back to the house for lunch and then headed out to the Rodeo! Did I mention I love rodeos? Cuz I do. Sometime I pretend to want to be a cowboy. Anyhow, it was a real rodeo and everything! And how do you know if it's a real rodeo? Simple... does it have real bull riding. And this one did.
It was awesome.

The celebrations continues with a big community dinner at the park in town and then a nice program in the highschool auditorium. Following which there was the adults only dance that lasted late into the night.

We stayed for church Sunday and drove back home. Another short trip, but packed full of fun activity.

Late Updates - Cabin Trip

We like to go to the Mackey family cabin. It's an old kind of cabin. I like to say it's like a "dad-and-granddad-built-it-with-their-bare-hands" kind of cabin. But it has a nice feel to it, and there are never too many bugs in the kitchen/bathroom when we show up. We've been trying to make a lot of little trips like this this summer since we're having that babeh soon and are not sure how often we'll be able to get away after he/she (probably 'he' though - we just don't know for sure yet) comes. We managed to take two pictures on this trip.

The first is random, but it's just a picture of the kind of stuff we do when we go to the cabin - eat cheese-its and play games. This is one of our recent favorite games. It's called Ticket To Ride. Ever played it? It's loads of fun. Give us a call sometime and we'll have a game night and play it. Really, do... it cost a lot and I want to get my money's worth out of it. Plus it's fun!
And here's Shirley cooking something in the kitchen. I think it was potstickers. She was craving them that day. :-)
The end.

Late Updates - 4th of July

I was looking through the camera and realized we had a few pictures I could share!

Shirley and I went to san Diego for the Fourth. It was kinda a last minute trip. Shirley didn't know she would have that monday off until the thursday before. So we booked a hotel last minute and headed out Saturday morning first thing! We hardly ever take pictures, but I'll share what we have.

We got there too early to check-in to our hotel, so we found a park in the south bay and hung out there for a bit.

Then we checked into the hotel and made ourselves at home there.
After going to church on Sunday (the 4th), we went and visited Balboa Park. We like this place. It's huge and there's so much to do there, and it's neat.

Balboa Park is also home to biggest outdoor organ in the world (not sure there are really that many outdoor organs anyway, but it's a nice thing for them to boast about). They do a cool organ concert every sunday.
After the park we made a stop by the Temple to see it. And they had it all scaffolded up! You can see the temple from the freeway, so it was weird to pull up and see it covered in scaffolding.
After the temple, we made our way to Mission Bay to get a spot to watch some fireworks. We went early to be able to find a place. It was SO cold. But it was cool because from the where we were, we could see 8 or 9 different fireworks shows that night, including the one SeaWorld did.
On Monday morning, we went and paid a visit to Old Town San Diego. I like it there. There's a lot of history and I like that sort of thing. We went to the Mormon Battalion LDS Visitors' Center while there, and they a had a very cool presentation for us. We did manage to get one picture the whole morning there:
When it was time to go, we realized one of us (ahem...) had locked the keys in the car. We have roadside assistance, so we just called our insurance and they sent a locksmith. He was literally there for 45 seconds at best. He pulled up, slid a little bar down the window, popped the lock and left.

Then we drove home. It was a fun getaway.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Been a long time since last posting.. again.

So here we are. Things are going pretty well I must say.

We found out we're pregnant:

We're due on Jan. 30th! We find out if it's a boy or a girl on the 10th of Sept. (that's like a week and a half!) I'm really pretty excited for confirmation that it is in fact a boy... as that's what I fully believe it is. A lot of people keep asking "When are you gonna find out what gender it is... Or are you going to?"  They always add the 'are you going to' part. Don't mean to offend anyone... but that's foolish. Why wouldn't we want to find out? I'm a pretty practical man, and I think it's absolutely foolish to not find out.

In other news, we got that nasty stump out of the front of our yard! When we moved into this house, everything on the inside was completely remodeled, so we didn't have much to do on the inside... but the yards were a mess. They've been a work in progress since then. The backyard looked like this:

And the front yard had this ugly palm tree in it:

So we mowed all the weeds away and started pulling out all the ugly brick lining/pavers:

And then we cut down the tree:

And then summer came and it got too hot to do anything, so the stump and the backyard just sat all summer long. (Here's the tree 3 months later):

Finally, a couple weeks ago, we broke down and hired a guy to come with a tractor and take out the stump as well as haul away a ton  (actually about ten tons) of rock/gravel from the backyard. We just want it all to be grass. So, currently, the front and the back are all just dirt and we're (I'm) working on the sprinkler system so it can be ready and then we can prep for and plant grass. I'm pretty excited that things are finally moving along. Though all the rain lately is slowing down work on the sprinklers... too much mud. And that's that!

To change the subject, Shirley and I have been trying to go on a lot of vacations, or just do fun things, since once the baby comes, we anticipate such activities being limited. The picture above is from an awesome camping trip we took a few weeks ago. This summer we also went to San Diego for the 4th of July, we went up to Shirley's family cabin a few times, we hiked 4 Peaks again (I really like this hike), we went to St. John's for the 24th of July celebrations, and we've just generally had a good time.

And that's it for now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fall 2009 update...

Dear Blog,

It's been how long since I last posted (not including Saturday's announcement)??? 118 days actually (that's 3 months and 27 days, or 2,832 hours). Oh really? Goodness I'm sorry. How come I haven't posted? What have I been up to? Well, let me tell you...

College football started at the beginning of September. More than past years, and much to Shirley's dismay, I was very into it this season. I even started a sports blog, where I enjoyed writing about college football. Seriously though... I'm a huge fan of college football. Actually I like pretty much all football, I just don't watch a whole lot of the NFL games simply because they're on Sunday and I don't really watch tv on Sundays. But I could talk college football all day long.

Apart from writing about sports, I've also been playing a lot of sports lately. About the time college football season started, me and a bunch of guys started playing football on Saturday mornings. I even went and bought some flags, my own football, and even some gloves to up the competitiveness a little.

I think it was September when I got called to be the Elders' Quorum Secretary at church. I like the guys in the presidency. They're fun to work with. But every Thursday night we go out and make visits to people... and then we have a meeting every Sunday either before or after church, so that's been keeping me busy.

Halloween was good fun. Have I mentioned before that I'm a lousy picture taker? So yeah... there're no pictures of us in our Halloween costumes. But we did get pictures of our pumpkin carving!

For Thanksgiving Shirley and I decided to take the long trip to Idaho to spend the holiday with Shirley's Aunt Debbie and her family. They live in the small town of Jerome Idaho, and I loved visiting there! The scenery and landscapes reminded me so much of Montana, where I served as a missionary. We were less than 2 hours away from Boise, and the Broncos (Boise State University) were playing a big conference game at home that weekend. I wanted to go so bad, but it didn't work out.

The week after Thanksgiving, we got our first Christmas tree! We think we got the perfect sized tree for our little apartment. It was great. On a side note, I love basketball and like to watch as many NBA games as possible. So here's a shot of our sweet tree, and me eating a chili dog while watching a Suns game on tv and watching another game on my computer. I was a happy camper that night.

Funnily enough, about the time the college football season started winding down, so did our enthusiasm for playing football, and the focus kinda turned more towards basketball. Shirley's brothers were all in town for the holidays, and I got to play a lot of ball with them. And since then, I've been playing once or twice a week with friends. Shirley even got me some new basketball shoes (my previous ones were 5 years old!) and a new basketball for Christmas! I'm pretty much a baller.

There was of course school, which is always hanging over my shoulder and sometimes taking over completely, but everything turned out alright there. And besides that, it was just a lot of having fun being married and loving my beautiful wife. Dec. 30th was our 1 year anniversary! I hear stuff like "the first year was tough" and such, but for us... it was great! And we're very happy.

Anyways, that ought to be good enough for now. I'll try to keep 'em comin more often, and probably shorter, though I'm gonna be taking 19 credits this semester, so we'll see if I actually have any free time. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Return

I'm gonna start blogging again
Tomorrow... or maybe monday.