Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pioneer Trek Surprise

In the spring, we accepted an assignment to go on the pioneer trek with the youth. I wasn't really excited about the prospect of hiking 30 miles up steep dirt trails in long skirts and bonnets or sleeping on the ground. As I prepared to go on the trek, though, I was able to psyche myself up for it. After all, this was only going to be a three day trek (with chemical toilets, tents, sleeping pads, prepared meals, clean water, athletic shoes and moleskin) compared to the 3 month trek in much more difficult conditions that the pioneers experienced. I could do this! The weekend before the trek was to take place, we realized that we had not received any information as to what our responsibilities were to be. We contacted those in charge and discovered that they had no knowledge of our assignment. All the positions were filled. We were not needed. I accepted this news with quite a bit of relief and some guilt. Had someone heard my complaints? Anyway, Jim had signed up for vacation time for those three days and we decided to vacation. We packed up the camper and traveled to McCall to camp by the Upper Payette Lake. When we arrived the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. We immediately climbed on our bikes and began exploring.

We rode to the trailhead on the other side of the lake, parked our bikes and started hiking. The view was spectacular. There were wildflowers everywhere and not a soul in sight. From our vantage point, we felt like we had the whole lake to ourselves.

The next day, we drove to Ponderosa State Park near McCall and rode our bicycles around the park. We found the perfect bike trail with very little traffic and lots of vegetation....

...and the best picnic spot ever on Payette Lake.

After lunch, we attempted to kayak on the river connecting the Upper Payette Lake with the Payette Lake. However, the first one third of our trip ended up being a river walk. The second portion required constant paddling as there was very little current. I was pretty worn out by the time we finally reached our destination about three hours later but we had seen some fabulous sights and had encountered few tourists. That evening, we took a walk and photographed our campsite and the lake. The sights were incredible.

We heard that the pioneer trek was a life changing experience. Our little camping trip was a life invigorating experience.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa Camper

We were lucky enough to have Elly, Nathan, Matthew, Maggie and Becca came to visit us towards the end of July. When Nathan was a few years old, he had a hard time understanding which set of grandparents was which. His paternal grandparents have a cool swingset in their backyard. They became known as "Grandma and Grandpa Swings." We always showed up to visit Elly, Brian and Nathan with our truck and camper, so we became known as "Grandma and Grandpa Camper." These days, given the price of gasoline, we would probably be known as "Grandma and Grandpa Civic" since we no longer travel long distances in the truck and camper.

As far as we are concerned, summer isn't complete without a visit from the grandkids. They all tried out the pool. Nathan liked it the best and went swimming every day.

Jim took Nathan and Matthew down the river in the inflatable kayak. Matthew, on the front, held on for dear life. Nathan helped Grandpa paddle the boat. Both boys were very brave. Elly, Maggie, Becca and I had a picnic at the park and played on the playground while waiting for the men to return. The boys tried out the playground, too.

We ate dinner, played some games and rode on the train at the stake pioneer celebration.

We went "mini" golfing. The pre-stretch was very entertaining.

Matthew hit the ball hard one time and, thank goodness, it got stuck in a bush. The bush, which was tiny, saved the ball from finding it's way into the bumper boat pool next door.

We loved how Maggie would always put the ball right next to the hole for her second shot....

...then she would celebrate every time the ball went in.

Grandpa bravely took the kids on the bumper boats. Everyone, including Grandpa, got very wet.

We spent a day at the science center. Nathan loved the robots best. Matthew tried to do everything. Maggie liked getting her shadow picture taken. One time she disappeared and we found her in the shadow box lined up with a bunch of strangers. Maggie's love for shopping became evident in the grocery store. She filled her cart to the top several times and could only be pulled away after a big boy confiscated her half-full cart and dumped out the contents.
We played at the beach one day. Even Becca seemed to enjoy that adventure.

Summer and grandchildren. What a great combination!