Monday, June 29, 2009

In our backyard

While our backyard attached to our home may not actually have these items, it all isn't too far away! We took a drive last week in the hills behind our home and saw tons of gorgeous wild flowers. The shot is hazy because it was during the day, but this is our little town of Midway. You can actually see our house in the photo. It's to the right of Memorial Hill.

Our off roading adventure brought us to Cascade Springs which is just above Soldier Hollow.
It has nature trails and tons of little waterfalls.
Oh and fish. We're always looking for fish.
Later that night, for FHE we went to the Midway Pond with some friends. The boys wanted to go fishing, but Tucker lost interest fast and ended up in the water with the other kids.
It was a beautiful day and so nice to be outside.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Running the Wasatch Back

Well, I did it! I ran the Ragnar over the weekend. What a race - it was very different from other races I've run, mainly because it was a relay that you participate in 3 times.

Thursday night the majority of our team got together to meet and talk over last minute details. Our start time was for 7:20am in Logan, UT. I only got about 3 hours of sleep that night because I had to get up at 3am to shower/get ready to drive to Sandy by 4:45 in order to meet our van at 5 to then drive up to Logan and be to the start line by 7:00. For those of you not familiar with this race, there are 12 members on a team. We were the "Wii Not Fit Yet" team. Each team has 2 vans with 6 members in each van. You are really only together with the members in your van. Each runner runs 3 legs of the race with varying lengths from 2.5 to 9 miles each. I was runner #3 in my van and ran 5.7, 4.9 and 7.9 mile lengths. Luckily for us, we were able to run in the morning to midday, the evening until about midnight and then the next morning from about 6:30 to 11:00am. The other van ran legs in the heat of the day, the middle of the night and unfortunately in the rain that decided to pour down Saturday afternoon.

After your leg of the race there were exchange points where you took the race slap bracelet and slapped it on the next runner. The vans would follow and go ahead of the runners to provide them with drinks along the road and to cheer them on. As you probably figured out, it's a 24-36 hour race depending on how fast you run.

Cody's sister invited me to be on her team and their cousin Jaron ran and our sister-in-law Marisa. We had such a great time together along with the other members of our van, Shannon and Doug. Although during the race I wasn't so sure I wanted to run this race again, I'm sure I could be easily coerced into participating next year.
Now for the pictures! There are lots, but it documents my last two days.

Cody's sister Kristin and me before my first leg.
Our sister-in-law, Marisa, during her 1st leg. (She was runner #2 and would pass off to me.)
My first leg I ran from Hyrum to Paradise, Utah. It was so beautiful everywhere we ran!
Sprinting to the exchange point.
This is Jaron. He just made it up the mountain and I thought this shot was awesome!
Gotta love all the wildflowers!
Cody and the kids met up with me at the SnowBasin Lodge. We were resting/waiting there for our 2nd legs of the race. We had about 4 hours to wait while van #2 ran their part.
The handoff.
I ran with gummy bears in my hands. I didn't have pockets but wanted to eat the treats along the way. They were very sticky half way through my run. : ) My second leg I ran through the Morgan Valley. Again, beautiful and nice weather. I actually ran past my cousins road in Peterson. I saw the sign for their Rec Barn and wished I would have called to let them know I was running through town. Hi Cambria!
Me, Marisa, Kristin and Jaron before Kristin's second leg. Because the race doesn't stop when the sun goes down we had to wear reflector vests, headlamps and butt lamps.

After we finished our second legs (around midnight) we were exhausted! Remember I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before. We drove to our next van exchange point and crashed on the grass at the Oakley Rodeo Grounds. I slept soooo well! If I wasn't so tired I would've had someone take a picture of us all set up for the night.

We got our call around 5:40 Saturday morning that van#2 would be finishing soon. We gathered our stuff and began running again. My last leg was my longest and hardest but surprisingly I felt the best with it. I ran from Francis to the Jordanelle Dam Overlook. I got hungry along the way and had my team give me some banana bites and water every 2 miles.
This is Jaron, Shannon, Doug and Marisa. We are waiting for Kristin to finish her last leg and Jaron's ready to begin his last. It was kind of cool because Jaron finished his last leg of the race about 2 miles away from our house in Midway. We all tried to cross the exchange point with him, because our van was finally done, but Jaron is just too fast for us and sprinted ahead at the end.

After our van finished we headed over to Park City to checkout the finish line since we weren't actually running the last part of the race ourselves. It started raining as we arrived and was a pretty decent downpour by the time we left. We felt so lucky that we didn't have to run in it. Our poor van 2 was out doing that for us. Thanks guys! We all have nice Ragnar medals, are sore, tired, a bit sunburned, but had a great time!

Cody was so great to let me run this with his family and to stay home and watch all 3 kids. He is such a great dad and a wonderful supporter to me. I was a bit beat today for Father's Day and with 9:00 church, taking Marisa to the airport at 7:30 and his 2 early morning church meetings we didn't get to celebrate Father's Day the best way. Luckily he's still off tomorrow so we can make up for it then. Happy Father's Day! You're the best! Love you too Dad, Mickey, Gpa Grant and Gpa Foster! I have a lot of excellent men to look up to in my life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


If there is one thing in the outdoor world that really irritates me, that is posers. I can't stand the people that have the nicest, newest gear, brag up a big storm, claim to be able to do fantastic feats only to turn out to be a total doofus. So, for all of you that want to avoid being a poser, here is my crash course guide.

This photo was taken in the spring of 2001 right before Carson and Marisa took off for Maryland. Carson had never been to Moab so I took him, Marisa, Chris and Nancy mountain biking on the Porcupine Rim trail (my favorite Moab trail). Actually, Marisa was our shuttle service because she was like 11 months pregnant or something. Anyway, this picture will teach you how not to be a poser. For anyone that has been to Moab, you know that Moab can be overrun with annoying posers, so we made sure as to not be mistaken for posers. We, my friends, were the real deal- hard core.

Look at this picture closely and you will see how to be hard core. Do you see a bike rack? No sirree! We just strap the bikes down to the top of our vehicle. Who cares about scratches on the bikes or car? Again, we impress people with our skills, not our fancy equipment. Arcteryx, Pearl Izumi, Mtn. Hardware and other brands are so unnecessary when you have overalls. Boo yah! And, as for helmets on a very treacherous trail, who needs those? Chris and Nancy were the hard core winners for riding the trail sans helmets. 2 thumbs up to you guys. Hey Nancy, what are you doing with your left hand? Were you guys even married yet? I guess you weren't married on the Jackson Hole trip either, so carry on. Also, who needs a hot companion at their side when you can be the ultimate 5th wheel with two married couples? Yeah, I'm so tough as a tag-along, 5th wheel.

You might be saying, "yeah, well that's a jeep you're in, so you're just following the poser crowd." Not so fast! This jeep was/is no ordinary jeep. It was totalled.....twice! And it's still running. Carson is still driving that beast around in the Pacific Northwest. Beat that all you posers with your brand new, jacked up, tricked out jeeps.

I challenge any of you to find anything more not-poser than the 5 of us on this trip. And for those still unsure about how to not be a poser: let your skills doing the talking for you, not your fancy, schmancy, used once, outdoor gear.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lake Powell

We spent the last several days at Lake Powell with our friends the Jorgensons. They were nice enough to invite us to go down with them. For Lisa and I both, this was the first time in 9 years that we had gone to Powell. It was one of our favorite vacation spots as kids and teenagers, and this was our first time going there together. Because of this, there will be many pictures. If you don't like it, tough!

We headed down on Thursday after I got done with my patients. We stopped off at the traditional "Hollow Mountain" to get some gas and treats. It's a store built right into the rock. Ah the memories I have of this place as a kid.

We got to Bullfrog too late to drive the boat to the beach, so we camped at the campground for the night. I wish I had some pictures of some of the previous trips we took down there every year when I was kid for comparison. This is what we found when we finally went to bed that night. Aubrey felt the need to sleep with her leg draped over Tucker. What funny kids they were this week.

So we launched the boat Friday morning and decided to head north up the channel to start looking for camping sites. We decided we would start at Moqui Canyon, and if all the available beaches for camping were taken, we would keep on progressively working our way north. When we got to Moqui, it was an absolute zoo. It was insane how busy the lake was this weekend. We then proceeded north to Hansen Creek only to find the same thing. Then we ended up going to Forgotten Canyon in hopes of finding anything.

As we went down the canyon, things were looking quite grim. I was thinking that we were just going to have to go back to Halls Bay and do some beach camping there. I didn't really want to resort to that because they were forecasting wind gusts of 45 mph, and the bay would be fairly miserable with that kind of wind. Luckily for us as we pulled around the corner to the spot where Lisa's family went most of the time (the cove that Lisa refers to as "their spot") we saw a houseboat just heading out. The beach had become available that instant! It was perfect. So we and the Jorgenson's beached the boat and unloaded all of our gear.

Here is a shot of the coveted beach and our gear spread out.

This is what the kids did for the bulk of the weekend. They loved to play in the water, sand and mud. I was cautiously skeptical about how fun it would be to go down with a bunch of really little kids. I didn't know if it was going to be worth it, but Tucker, Aubrey, Kate and Zach all played wonderfully together and managed to not make too many messes or get hurt too badly. Although a little bit different approach to a Lake Powell trip than I remembered with my friends and family, I really enjoyed watching my kids play and enjoy their Lake Powell visit.

Here's Aubrey hamming it up.

Cool man Tucker with his sunglasses that he wore almost the whole time.

The water levels at Lake Powell have been rising about a foot a day for the last couple of weeks. As you can see in this picture, the result of such rapid water rises caused tons of driftwood to gather on all the beaches. The kids loved to play with it and we didn't mind it too much.

We had a ton of wind for the first couple days that would start early and end near dusk. It didn't bother us too badly at camp because of my kickin' tent and shade tarp that can withstand tornadoes, hurricanes, monsoons, and even little kids. One negative aspect of all that wind was the swirling and blowing sand. For all that have been to Lake Powell, you know of the really fine sand there. Well, we laid Cole down under the shade tarp while he napped one day, and much of that fine sand gathered all over him. When we went to check on him this is what we found. Poor kid, he was such a trooper.

As I mentioned, the wind was pretty strong at times. This picture shows well how the wind would just whip the wake, spray from the ski and even the waves.

Some cool sunset shots of the sandstone walls near our camp.

Here is a picture of our cove looking out from the beach. What a site. As you can see from the glass water, the wind wasn't blowing the whole time and we did get some great water for skiing and wake boarding.

If you look up the definition for stud in the dictionary, this is what you will find:

Lisa was a champ with the water ski and acted like she hadn't skipped a beat since the last time she went water skiing 5 years ago.

Lisa playing with the kids at our beach.

Aubrey sitting in the floaty, just playing in the sand.

This is what Cole did much of the time. Thanks to the suggestion of some of Lisa's running buddies, we brought the johnny jump up and hung it from the shade tarp. He loved it, and it made life much more pleasant for us.

We took a drive down to Hole in the Rock, where the Mormon pioneers lowered their cattle, horses, and wagons down the sandstone cliffs (before the lake was there of course). I was the only one in the group that had been there before, so I stayed back to hold the boat while the others hiked up to it. That's me wayyyyyy down there keeping the boat off the rocks.

Kate and Aubrey playing in the sand.

We had a little bit of success with fishing. Tucker and I caught some fish including catfish and bluegill. Unfortunately, no stripers. Look at how excited he is to reel that thing in!

A cool silhouette shot that Lisa got of me with a catfish on the line.

Again, Lisa had no trouble making the water skiing look easy. Thanks to my parents for letting us borrow their skis. They worked great.

Here she is pensively scanning ahead to plot her course.

I did some wake boarding on the last day, and the Toby Keith song "As Good as I Once Was" kept rolling through my head. After wearing out my arms from slalom skiing, I was feeling the burn wake boarding. That coupled with the fact that I couldn't get as much air as I used to and couldn't do the tricks I used to, I kept singing to myself, "I'm not as good as I once was....." Despite my reduction in skill levels, I still really enjoyed it.

Lisa used the action feature of our camera to capture a fun sequence. I will narrate it for you in my words.

"Yeah, I'm bad, watch me destroy this wake."

Immediately after take off, "I'm getting some decent air."

Upon landing, "Crap, I didn't stick that like I should have, this might hurt."

SPLAT! "Yup, that hurt."

In all it was a great weekend away, and a great time at Lake Powell. Now, back to the daily grind.