Friday, August 27, 2010

Backpacking Trip Part One: Estes Park (Bear Lake) to Grand Lake (North Inlet)

Two good looking dudes
August 10, 2007
Three years ago in the summer of 2007, Jen & Dustin Trail (then just dating) and I hiked up the North Inlet trail from Grand Lake and came across a really fun swimming hole with a jumping rock.

On that trip we came across some backpackers who said they had come over the mountains from Estes Park and were going to end their trip in Grand Lake. Ever since that day I've been dreaming of taking that same trip and stopping at that swimming hole to cool off after a hard day on the the dream began!
The cute couple

Doesn't that look fun?

May 28, 2010
While on a family trip to Las Vegas, Alicia surprised me on my birthday by getting me a sweet North Face backpack...the pieces are coming together!

Don't you just want to take it somewhere?
Summer 2010
When the summer started to roll around, some of the Trail boys discussed doing a "Man's Trip" and going backpacking, or climbing a 14'er (mountain with a peak reaching 14k ft.).  With my dream having lied dormant for several years, I finally saw my opportunity, so I volunteered to plan the trip.

Little did I know how much planning had to go into a trip like this, even if it was only for two nights!  Man, it was easy in the Boy Scouts, all you did was let your leaders plan the trip, and you just showed up! 
First, I had to figure out what trails would actually take us from Estes Park to Grand Lake.  I searched all over the Internet and after several days, I finally found two blogs of hikers who had done the same trip I wanted to.  I also had to make sure the route passed by my favorite swimming hole!

Next, I had to call the Back country Office for the Department of the Interior - since the DOI runs the Rocky Mountain National Park where we would be hiking - and find out what campsites were available in the back country.  In this day and age you'd think you could reserve the campsites online, but NO, you have to call to find out availability, and then you have to MAIL (not e-mail) a letter of request to the DOI Back country Office to see if you can get the site you want.  I know, crazy!  Luckily, we got the campsite that ended up being about 20 yrds away from my swimming hole!

Find route...check!
Reserve camp site....check!
Get people to come...check!

August 19, 2010
Whew! But just when I thought it was all planned out, Alicia asked "What are you guys going to eat?" "Ummmmm.......hmmmm...." I said.  "That's a good question." So the night before we were supposed to leave on the trip, three of the 5 of us that were going to go got together, and we planned a wonderful menu worthy of being termed, "Gourmet."  Here is what we planned:

Dinner Friday Night:  Eat at restaurant in Estes Park before heading into the National Park.

Breakfast Saturday Morning: Sausage links (cooked over the fire on a stick) and then wrapped in biscuit dough (baked over the fire on a stick), and complimented by fresh (store bought) OJ.

Lunch Saturday: Sliced Summer Sausage topped with Cheddar cheese and wrapped in flour tortillas, complimented by your choice of trail mix, beef jerky, and granola bars.  All to be washed down by Propel or Crystal Light (individual water bottle packets).

Dinner Saturday: Stag chili (one 14 oz. can per person)

Breakfast Sunday: Four packets of Quakers Instant Oatmeal (your choice of flavor)

Sounds good right? Our wives didn't think so!  They were glad they weren't going on the trip with that menu, not to mention what all the nuts, beef jerky, sausage, and chili does to you! Haha. 

August 20, 2010
Well, Alicia got all the food for us Friday while we were all at work, and she even separated the trail mix, beef jerky, granola bars, drink mixes, and cracker packs into individual ziplock bags for us to take....what a great wife! We all got together, had a great hike, and no one died! THE END

What, you want to hear more?  You'll have to wait for the Backpacking Trip Part II post within the next few days, but here are a few teaser pictures!

Clinton on the back of Dustin's ride from the airport

Breakfast...doesn't it look delicious?
Let's do this!
Wow, what a view (the mountains, not me)!
Time for a nap by the creek
Ahhh! My swimming hole, finally!


Levi picking and eating raspberries. He didn't contribute to the 16 cups, he ate every one he picked!

Another tradition, is to go to the mountains and pick wild raspberries. We have done this evey August I can remember. Usually the guys help for a little bit and then they take the kids to the creek and the girls finish up. When I got to go my mom and I picked 16 cups of berries, but she has already been on several trips and we will soon have a day for canning and making jam and syrup. Fun fun! Here are some pictures of berry picking days!

Summer Fun!

Well, this summer our camera has died and we desperately need a new one! But, since we didn't get one yet I finally was able to steal some of the pictures off of my mom's camera. Here are some of our summer activities!

Back to school shopping! When you live in the mountains you get one day a year to do back to school shopping and it has become some what of a tradition. Maria and her kids come to Denver with my mom, and I take them to the sales and whatever else they can squeeze in a one day trip. These days are very full of trying on clothes, shoes, getting school supplies, chasing kids, and a lot of tears normally! But we always have a good and very crazy time!

Here we are at wal-mart at our last and final stop, Levi too tired to go on is sleeping with Maddie in the cart and we are ready to get all of the school supplies!

Fun at the Lake! This is a bridge that doesn't always have enough water under it to jump, but since the lake is full this year we were able to make a jumping off the bridge trip. This is a first for Josh with our family because the lake hasn't been full enough since he joined the family!

Levi, Corey, and Jake, at the lake picking berries.

Josh diving off the bridge it is about 15-20 feet off the water.

Pa and Levi watching everyone jump!

This lake trip was our first for the summer. The water was still cold as you can see from Levi's expression. But we had fun playing in the water!

Levi saying. "All done, all done, all done" as soon as he touched the water. But we made him play a litte and he ended up having fun!

Levi taking care of the flag with Grandma.
Josh and Levi riding up front!

Jen and Dustin welcomed Brody Dustin, to there family this summer on July 20th. We are so excited he is here.

Levi is already jealous of Brody, what will he do when his little brother gets here?!?!?

Dustin showing off Brody for the first time! He is a proud daddy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Road Trip!

Gila Valley Temple, Thatcher, AZ. We didn't take too many pictures becuase it was 11 am and already a 110 degrees!!! The bride and groom only took pictures for about 5 minutes total!

Eating Breakfast with Aunt Deb and Uncle Hank! We all look so nice as we just got out of bed!
My Aunt and Uncle gave the choice between blueberry waffles or breakfast burritos made with fresh homemade green chili sauce and Josh picked both so he GOT both! This was an amazing meal!
Kind of bummed but this is the only picture we got of the pool behind Josh eating his breakfast. We had a blast swimmng and playing with my cousin and her kids while we were in Farmington.
Josh and Uncle Henry fixing the mirror (it took them about and hour and a half to fix so I thought it deserved a picture!

This is a sign that I have seen growing up visiting Farmington but Josh thought it was hillarious. It is an Adult Book Store with a Catholic Billboard in front that has a picture of Christ and it says, "Jesus is Watching you" My Aunt said that is billborad is famous and has made it onto the Jay Leno Show!

This is outside of Pagosa Springs Colorado starting up Wolf Creek Pass. This area of Colorado is beautiful and we decided we could someday live there. It is amazing!

Wolf Creek Pass overlook! So pretty!

Josh made me very nervous with this picture as on both sides of this rock he is laying on are a straight down drop about 200 feet.

Josh and I headed to Mesa Arizona for Jarom's wedding. Jarom is Josh's best friend from high school. I took Levi up to Granby on Thursday to stay with my parents for the weekend as we were going to do a lot of driving! We left Friday morning at 4 am and drove 14 hours to get to Mesa that night for the pre-night reception. As we pulled into Mesa it was 113 degrees! I don't know about you but that is way too hot for me especially at almost 6 months pregnant! We were able to stay at the Hilton with Josh's hotel award points, it was nice and had great AC!!! We got ready and went to In-n-out for a bite to eat (even though there was dinner at the reception) we can't miss an opportunity to eat there! Then we went to the reception witch at 7:30 was still 108 degrees. It was soooo hot. We stayed for an hour as I was melting in an outdoor reception! I even asked Josh if we could go to the shade and it was dark out. I am not understanding the draw to Mesa AZ in the summer! The next morning we went to the Gila Valley Temple with was in Thatcher, AZ for the wedding. That was a two and a half hour drive. Then after the beautiful ceremony we went to a luncheon and then we turned and drove 8 hours to Farmington, NM to spend the rest of the weekend with my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Henry. Northern NM was a lot cooler and close to Denver temperatures and was really nice. It was fun to spend Sunday with them before we had to turn around and drive another 8 hours the rest of the way home monday. We had a great time just Josh and I. Levi was mad at us when we picked him up, but he did really well while we were away and was spoiled by my family! Josh only got pulled over once so we think the trip was a success!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to Geocaching

We lost our handheld GPS we used to use for geocaching when we moved out to Denver, so we recently got a new one using Josh's health rewards points he gets from work.  So we decided we should do some geocaching up in the mountains when we went up to Granby over the weekend.  Here are some of the pictures:
And away we go! No worries, I got this, you guys just relax and enjoy the ride!
Levi running ahead of everyone with Grandma Trail

It's not over here!
"Where do you think it could be?" asks Maria.

There it is!  We got some goodies (nike golf ball) and were on our way to the next one.
Enjoying dinner at the snack bar and eating it at the beach on Grand Lake.

Another beautiful evening at the lake!
I didn't get any pictures of the next cache we found, but it was in the Hot Sulpher Springs cemetary....spooky!  We've found geocaching a fun excuse for getting out and about while doing something fun.  Go to to find out more and get started!