Sunday, June 24, 2012


This is where I go every morning. It completely floors me each and every morning that nobody else is there. I will probably be so disappointed if I go sometime and someone is there. So spoiled! If other people are there, I have to play nice. But when I have the pool to myself, I can do all the exercises I remember from all those water aerobics classes: froggy jumps, cowboy kicks, cross country, etc. I can splash and jump and churn the water with my arms and legs all I want! I've been taking my timer down there to see how long I exercise (I keep moving all the time in the water, sometimes faster, sometimes slower with a varying heart rate depending on the cardio involved) and it always comes out to forty-four minutes something! 44:58, 44:27, 44:40...I can't get over it. I guess my body and my brain have some sort of inner programming going on that forty-five minutes is a great time to stop exercising. So even after forty-five minutes, I still have the whole place to myself! I guess other people go when it's hot in the afternoon to cool off and socialize. The pool capacity is 34 persons, so my exercise routine probably wouldn't go over very well later in the day. I'm just SO GLAD I have the use of this pool and...drum roll please...the TIME to use it!!!

The rest of the day was spent this way: church service, laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands (credit union, library, stuff like that), food shopping, finances and other normal, every day, household things that are part of life. After all, we can't be hiking, camping, and watching DVD's every day, now can we? However, in the afternoon, I completely splurged and got a full body massage!

It had been eight years and seven months since my last massage! I used to get them "all the time!" I held onto Donna's number as well as the punch card she had given me and what do you know...she's still practicing! And she's still honoring the punch card! It was nice, but also a little painful. Donna really worked me over. She didn't like hearing that I've had six surgeries since the last time I saw her. Since the massage, however, my body has felt more loose and "free." As I paid her and prepared to leave, I said, "I don't know when I can come back, Donna, but I want to!"

Friday, June 22, 2012


We woke up in camp and had a quick and easy breakfast. We packed up and headed for the cave since neither of us has stepped foot on that trail this whole season. We stopped in at the VC to chum with our ranger pals there and then enjoyed a fairly quiet walk up to the cave. I was worried the red penstemon would be gone by now, but God saved some for me, knowing how busy I've been with school, illness, visiting relatives, and all the rest. The purple penstemon was really glorious as well! Because we took our time getting there, I didn't think we'd meet many of the usual early morning hikers that we've come to know. Also, we knew most of the rangers would have already hiked up and be in the cave giving tours, but we were blessed to run into LOTS of people we know: Volunteer Mike (like me, started as a volunteer, became a ranger, quit rangering, and then became a volunteer again), Dannon Dave, June and Wally (great grandparents of one of the boys in my class this past year), Alisa (former teammate and current principal who was hiking with her summer school kids), Doug, Ron, and many more and of course, all the lovely rangers! It was like a big 'ol family reunion!

We went home to shower that campfire smell away and then headed for Chuck-a-Rama (Is that how you spell it? It was the second time in my entire life eating there). Then we went shopping for new Keens--we each got a pair for hiking! Back at home, we continued the laundry and unloading/unpacking process. I prepared for a church meeting and K watched the game. We never got around to dinner since our lunch was big and late. K set up the cool mist humidifier to see if we can somehow finally knock down these colds.


We decided to head up the canyon to hike and camp! We have this relationship with the Lower Mill Canyon Trail. We discovered it once while snowshoeing from the Tibble Fork Reservoir parking lot, but by the time we got to the trailhead and some beyond, the temperature was one degree and darkness was falling and K had to head back to Brigham City for the week. Since then, we've been re-visiting this trailhead to make further distance, always being turned back by first, the completely flooded trail (last year was a high water year) and then by the first stream crossing--too wide, too deep, we weren't willing to soak shoes, remove shoes, or otherwise try any harder that day. So, in this particularly dry year, we thought we would see if we could get past that stream crossing.

But first, a word from a famous nature writer, Edward Abbey:

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds."

There were actually several stream crossings this day. I decided to go first each and every time because K has this habit of saying, "Just put your foot there on that rock." Well, the way across the stream could be really different for someone who is 6'3" as opposed to someone who is 5'2", so I just try to be first and do what works for me.

We made it up the trail for a mile where we reached some more signage. We were glad it was the middle of the week and that we met no bikers screaming down because parts of that trail are steeeeep and winding. Someone was kind enough to put the word "bear" on the sign, so we decided that was enough hiking for the morning and that we would head down again. So we managed to find Ed Abbey's "crooked, winding, lonesome, and dangerous" trail. Although the photo just doesn't do it justice, here's our "most amazing view."

We "met" a lot of squirrels. One was hissing repeatedly at K! Most of them were bossy and chatting, yelling at us, "Get off my trail and out of my forest!" One was too interested in his snack to scold.

Now here's a happy hiker! Playing outside is my happy place no matter how much sweat drips off my body. Whether it's the endorphins generated by exercise, or being with the man I love, or the gorgeous scenery, I can't decide. If you find me grumpy, go ahead and say it, "Go take a hike!" Because that's probably the exact medicine I need.

Want to know a secret? Site #23 at the Timpooneke Campground, Loop B, is a primo site! Following are a few pics. And I love our new tent!

We had lunch at Martin after our Lower Mill Canyon hike and then set up camp at Site #23 in the campground. Then we went on an afternoon excursion into the Wilderness. I won't post more pictures of flowers and fauna this time, but we did see some interesting signage and I found another happy hiker! By the way, we promise not to snowmobile in the wilderness. Especially in June.

We hiked back to camp and prepared dinner in the cast iron over a wood fire with some charcoal as well. We made hamburgers with fried potatoes and onions. I wish I had started counting from the beginning the number of times this boy and I have cooked potatoes in the woods. It's his favorite. We added the onion too soon and so some of those were a bit blackened. While eating, I joked, "Are these what you call 'carmelized' onions?" K shot back, "No, they're called CARBONIZED onions." After dinner, we cleaned up of course--we don't want bears visiting! And then we went on an evening walk up to the meadow. Lady Timpanogos is stunning all day long, but we loved seeing her after sunset in the evening shadows. It was a cool evening--just perfect for escaping the heat of the valley.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Didn't photograph anything. Swimming again! Had the pool all to myself again, even though I headed down there later than usual. I spent more time in the morning doing housework and paperwork. I have this responsibility with the women at church and so I spent time taking care of that.

K picked me up at the pool so we could head over to our garden and nurture it. It's really doing okay considering we haven't touched it for two weeks. We weeded a little and lifted the leaves of the tomato plants up over the next wire of the cage, helping them to reach skyward to their eternal destination. The corn is growing like weeds. I've heard other people in the neighborhood say this, but I'll say it again: what an amazing thing it is to put a seed in the ground and witness its growth! It really is mind-blowing. I'm reminded of a potluck dinner I attended in college at the home of one of my Nigerian friends. There were people there from several continents and so there were many types of food brought to the table. In the midst of dinner, Sunday (that's the name of this Nigerian friend) proclaimed with a huge grin on his face, "God is GREAT!!! We have come from many lands and yet, God has provided food for each person in his own country!" Yes, God is GREAT!!!

We met up with one of God's creatures in our garden, quite territorial it would seem. It's a spider about the size of a quarter and it was marching around, fairly angry, at the disturbances we were causing. It climbed on K's wrist, but did not bite. I'm not really sure what a wolf spider looks like, but the name "Wolf" seemed fitting.

We had sandwiches for lunch and then I headed off to my pedicure. The color I chose this time is "The Thrill in Brazil." It's red, but I wasn't choosing red. I was choosing the name of the polish. I bought liptick once because the color was called "Canyon." It spoke to me.

After that pedicure we set about doing laundry, sorting old papers, and preparing for camping. These little jobs on this short list ended up taking an enormous amount of time. We always knew we had stuff to do at home, but now that we're home and doing it, we realize better that there's a LOT of stuff to do at home. We'll keep chipping away at it. Until we get distracted by something else.

NEWS FLASH!!! We watched a DVD together! I've had this DVD from Netflix sitting here since March. That was over three months ago! We just haven't been home to sit down and watch a movie. While we watched, I was ironing and K was shredding papers, but we really enjoyed it. It's called Martian Child. It's about love and adoption.

And thus ends my ninth day of summer vacation. I'm enjoying myself. Hope you are too!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Woke up early and studied in the quiet of the morning. Headed to the pool with my Pampered Chef timer counting up so I could really know how long I exercised: 44:58! Had the pool to myself once again with one little fellow showing up on his Razor scooter saying, "Excuse me, could you open the gate? I forgot my key." He happened to be standing at the part of the fence which is right next to the big sign that says, "Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult." So I read it aloud to him and asked, "Who is your responsible adult?" He said, "I don't have one." Ain't that the truth. I feel so bad for the children who run amok in our neighborhood. They just need a little structure, a litte adult supervision, a little more to do.

My heart wanted to let him in, but my head wouldn't let me. I can't be responsible for an unknown ten year kid in the pool. And who says he would have left when I did? I told him he needed to get his mom or dad or someone else who is 14 or older. I tried to be kind with my voice. It's 8:30 in the morning and he just needs stuff to do on a summer day.

Hubby and I balanced our statements and logged our financial receipts. Worked on a little family history research. We did some trip planning. I contacted several members of my family by phone. They all lead such interesting lives. We did laundry and dishes. We cooked. We recycled. I read more of the latest installment of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Made appointments. Chomped celery. Swatted a fly. Looked at maps. Watered the flowers. Clipped coupons. Wrote a list of museums I've never been to but would like to visit this summer. Grated the myzithra. Beat K at Yahtzee. Not because I'm good at it. Just lucky. And then he brought me a little dish of ice cream. With Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Friday, June 15, 2012


We spent the whole entire perfect day in American Fork Canyon. We hiked in the morning, had amazing foil dinners for lunch, and hiked again in the afternoon. Then we drove the remainder of the Alpine Loop and found dinner at Zupa's (Zupas?). We could not get over the flowers (columbine, forget-me-nots, buttercups, lupine, scarlet gilia, paintbrush, snapdragon, wild geranium, and more!) and Lady Timpanogos. I saw a snake, snake magnet that I am! We were all dirty, dusty, and sweaty--sure signs of a great day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


We started our day at Red Butte Gardens, a place to which I had never ventured. Stunning! The picture above is that of apple service berries. All manner of birds seemed to be enjoying those! What a haven for birds, bees, butterflies, and of course, flowers and plants. Following is a Pat Austin Rose. How I love orange!

Grandpa used to hike with us, but now he needs a little help. He still gets up, walks, looks at everything, climbs up steps, and stuff like that, but for the flower gardens, we asked for a chair. I got to push him around for the last half and picked up on the fact that whenever there were little children around, Grandpa would light right up! Therefore, we stopped at the fountains as two or three little ones were running, screaming, and splashing in the water. Speaking of screaming, we got to know a little girl named Astrid who earlier charged repeatedly at one specific magpie who kept hiding under the bushes. I believe Astrid's parents spoke French, so that was fun, listening to them try to get their daughter under control. She was wearing a cute little sundress with sandals, but at the fountain, she was wearing nothing but her diaper. We recognized her from that scream! Anyway, we were parked at the fountain and no little kids were playing in it at the moment, so I teased Grandpa, "Should I run you through it?" Another time, we were headed downhill and I asked, "Grandpa, are there any brakes on this thing?" He said, "No, just let 'er go!"

My husband has a huge soft spot in his heart for flowers.

After the gardens, we headed up Mill Creek Canyon to find a hiking trail. We started out on the Pipeline Trail, heading up canyon until really it was nothing but bushwacking through scrubby stuff and extremely prolific and copious amounts of snake grass. Then we headed on the same trail down canyon until the MIL decided we should find something on the other side of the canyon that would be cooler, more forested, and headed away from the road.

Next we tried the Porter Fork Trail which gave us an hour and a half of good hiking. K and I are not so familiar with the SLC canyons, so we have more exploring to do. When we got home, I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup from scratch (with no's the way I cook best). Well, no, I did not roll out the noodle myself, but I can do that too when given time enough). Did I mention we all have colds? K brought one home to me from the Spike and the others brought theirs from across the plains. Cough drops, Airborne, decongestants, humidifiers, you name it...we've been trying it! Chicken soup hit the spot and Grandpa said, "This tastes good once!" He asked for more. We finished the evening by poring over maps from the San Rafael Swell. They're still intrigued by that area and wanted to learn more!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Before leaving civilization, we stopped at the Maverick in Huntington to use the restroom. My FIL and I did not feel a need to eat at 11:00 a.m. The hubster felt the need to buy three packages of Reeses Pieces because "they were on sale." My MIL, her sister, and Grandpa all felt the need for ice cream cones! Meanwhile, I took this photo of the neighboring roof--so colorful!

We took the Fam to the San Rafael Swell. It's a lot of dirt and gravel roads. Grandpa thought we were clear at the bottom of the state, but we assured him, no, we're not in Arizona! In fact, we were about in the exact center of the state. We had lunch under some cottonwood trees which, in the desert, always grow by the river because they really need water. You can always tell where the water is...just look for the cottonwoods. We loved the shade!

After lunch, we took everyone on "The San Rafael Swell Treasure Hunt." We started at the Buckhorn Wash Petroglyph/Pictograph Panel and from there stopped at a few other places with short hikes and get-out-of-the-car peeks, looks, and overviews. Here are some petroglyphs: snakes? flutes? Gods? tiny deer/sheep/antelope? Who knows???

Okay, so let's just say that rocks rock! One of my favorite things about the desert is the desert varnish, the streaks of color that run down the sides of the walls, caused by...I forget, rain, mineral water, calcification, oxidation...yeah, something like that.

So, my MIL is a nurse turned big-time consultant in medical techonologies with a true geologist's/archealogist's heart. K and I had a tough time re-locating it, but when we showed her the dinosaur track, we allowed her a brief moment for her to enter a transcendent hypnotic state as she lovingly gazed upon it. We couldn't stay long though because climbing around on the rocks up there was hotter than blazes!

Thought I would include a snapshot of the trusty dusty van. The other scene is looking off toward Cedar Mountain from The Wedge.

After our little treasure hunt, we drove to The Wedge, a spectacular area known as "Little Grand Canyon." The breeze up on top was delicious. We drove through Huntington and Fairview Canyons on our route back, stopping at Goodwood Barbeque for dinner. I had a chicken salad, but the ribs and chicken the other girls ordered looked mighty fine! K had a smoked turkey sandwich, FIL had a salad as well, and Grandpa had chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. I know, these details aren't all that important, but why not throw them in?

I had to chuckle when I saw this last pic because they are all wearing blue. Do yo see how they match and blend together so well? I'm not posting it, but when I traded places with K, I was the one in the bright pink shirt. I couldn't help but ask, "Which one of these is not like the others?" Thankfully, they've adopted me. Grandpa hugged me goodnight and said, "I love you. You're a good member of the family." Lucky me!

So far, I feel great about how I'm spending my summer vacation. I haven't wasted a minute sitting on the couch or watching television. Sadly, I've been too busy to hike up to the cave. Must get there soon!