Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer is Here!

Finally! After months and months of rain summer is finally, really here! In the midst of El Nino we would get these teaser days of glorious weather only to be pushed aside by week-long monsoons. Living in Cali. I realize I have no room to gripe. It's not like it gets that cold, we have no driveways of snow to shovel, but still.... the sunshine and its warm embrace is a nice respite!
I seem to have fallen off of the blogging bandwagon. I got sidetracked by a severely sprained ankle that does not want to fully heal, in addition to the hubby, kids, dogs, and oh yeah! school. Four classes about killed me. I guess I was overly ambitious. Learned my lesson the hard way. But I am happy to report I got three A's and one B. Woo-Hoo!!!! And that damn ankle? Aside from being laid up for a while (which is the ultimate test in patience for me), it took me four times as long to do any and all simple tasks. Plus I am such a do-er that asking anyone to do anything for me was foreign. I can't tell you how many lectures I received from Todd about asking for help is a necessity not a sign of laziness. Almost three months later and I am finally able to return the gym (albeit a few pounds heavier, UGH.) Unfortunately I am not really able to run or jog, but walking at a steep incline is do-able. It feels so good to be active again. Now if only I can get my butt to stop migrating south... We began our summer vacation with a roadtrip to Yellowstone. Two looooong days of driving each way. We purchased a new tent trailer this year with this trip specifically in mind. The thought of sleeping on the ground for six nights did not appeal to Todd. So thankful for the trailer and its heater once we got there. Nights were a frigid 20-30 degrees. Fortunately most of the days were decent to warm. The trip was equal parts fun and work. Camping with a very active 18-month old definitely has its challenges. Sharing this experience with Maddie was a lot of fun. So exciting to see all of the wildlife and natural wonders. I had been there twice before and could not wait to experience it with my family. Maddie's Yellowstone favorites were the different types of wildlife and our hike on Uncle Tom's Trail (a trail of 328 stairs that takes you down the Upper Falls at Yellowstone Grand Canyon.) She surprised us with how much she liked the hike. The return trip is quite grueling, especially at 8,000 feet. Quite a hike for a seven year old! Her least favorite part of the trip was the drive. I find this perplexing since she watched DVDs most of the time. I could not believe the "When I was your age" comment came out of my mouth. I felt soooo old! But out it came, "When I was your age I had to play with toys and read books in the car." Lord have mercy, not books and toys! I can't wait until next summer's road trip!
Here are some of the highlights from our trip
"Geyser Country":
This is where most of the geysers, including Old Faithful, are. Some of the geysers we missed or did not get good photos of due to the steam. It was cold outside both days we went, which left us lots and lots of steam to look at rather than geysers. Can't see much through it. But we did see Old Faithful. We had lunch at the historic Old Faithful Lodge. A gift from my in-laws :). We walked the Upper Geyser Basin loop. The entire trail is 3 miles, but Maddie pooped out around two. We headed back before catching a glimpse of the Morning Glory Pool. That is another must-see for our next trip.

"Roosevelt Country"
The highlights here are the Lamar Valley and Mt. Washburn. Lamar Valley is known as the "American Serengeti" with its wide expanses of prairie land. There is a lot of wildlife that strolls through here. Unfortunately all we saw were more buffalo. Really hoping to see a bear or wolves. But breathtaking in its beauty. Mt. Washburn was awesome. It is 10,234 feet. We would have loved to have hiked it, but too challenging with the kiddos. It will have to wait until next year. But we did treat ourselves to some delicious ice cream at Tower Falls. Sooo good. We had planned to treat ourselves after hiking the falls, but we ran out of time (for hiking that is!)

"Mammoth Country":
We stopped at Beaver Lake for a picnic and saw our first black bear. Fortunately he kept his distance! Sheepeater Cliffs were awesome! Fascinating to look at and they made for great rock climbing for Todd and Maddie. Other sights were Roaring Mountain, Obsidian Cliff, the hoo doos, the Golden Gate, and Mammoth Terraces. We drove around the terraces rather than hike. Didn't have the time and they have lost most of their water. Not quite as spectacular as they once were, but still pretty nonetheless.

"Canyon Country"
The Yellowstone Grand Canyon is 4,000 feet wide and 1,000 feet deep. It has two waterfalls: Upper Falls and Lower Falls. Lower Falls is twice the height of Niagra Falls. Needless to say, it was pretty spectacular!

The dreaded 328 stairs on Uncle Tom's Trail. They are bolted to the side of the mountain. If you don't like heights stay away from these bad boys!

This was what we woke up to the day we left. Fortunately it turned out to be a beautiful day and most of the snow had melted by the time we left!
Grand Tetons National Park:
Loved the lodge at Jackson Lake. The windows are 60 feet high. Talk about an amazing view while eating lunch! Unfortunately this was the day the storm began and the lodge was all we really got to see :(
The Yosemite wildlife we saw: bison (baby and adult), elk, moose, black bear, grizzly cub, big horn sheep, coyote, pronghorn, and a bald eagle.
For the rest of the summer I plan to craft, hit some garage sales, thrift stores and antique stores/fairs for some fun DIY projects, work on the house, finish landscaping the backyard, book some photo gigs, and catch up on my genealogy project and blogging. Hmmm.... maybe some R n' R will be squeezed into that agenda ;). Stay tuned for summer updates and projects!

No comments: