August 8, 2013

Summer Scout Camps

What would summer be without a few scout camps, right? Brevin and Jason showed what it took to "be prepared" for Brevin's first overnight scout camp as an eleven year-old scout. Jason went along to help fill a third adult leader position, and the two had a really great time. Upon their arrival home, Brevin was just a few requirements shy from his rank of First Class.  That's not too shabby for barely getting started in his boy scout career.

Several weeks later, Spencer had his turn to attend day camp at Jeremiah Johnson with all of the Wolfs and Bears. He got to shoot bb guns and arrows and pull handcarts around camp with his buddies.  Yeah, I think he enjoyed himself thoroughly.

 This post authored by Amber

August 2, 2013

Tinney Flat

An overnight camping trip seemed like the perfect way for our family to wrap up our week of memorable activities.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we opted to camp somewhere relatively close to home.  I had it on good recommendation that Tinney Flat was a fantastic campsite only a forty minute drive away from our home boasting amenities such as scenic hiking, fishing, wildlife views, and vaulted toilets (among other things).  We figured we'd give it a try.  We were not disappointed, and our little jaunt up Santaquin canyon turned out to be a delightful experience for our family.

Each campsite was surrounded with a natural 
canopy offering a comfortable sense of privacy.

I'd definitely say the hiking was scenic.

We didn't take gear for fishing, but we did soak our
 feet in the river number of times.  That was nice.

Our campsite had two makeshift tree swings that were quite a hit with the children.

The paved loop through the campground was perfect for bikes and scooters.

Not only did we view the wildlife, but we fed them, too.  This deer became
 a constant visitor at our site.  The children took to calling her "Grapes" 
when it was discovered that that was what she liked to eat.

Each site was equipped with a fire ring. That is likely the location
 Garrett spent most of his time.  I'm telling you, that kid loves fire.

What would a campout be without cooking s'mores.  We took it up a notch by adding some 
peanut butter into the mix.   I may never be able to eat a plain s'more ever again.

Our camping trip also put us near a spot called "Devil's Kitchen." We couldn't resist driving a little ways up Nebo Loop to the paved trailhead that led us on a quarter-mile hike to a viewpoint that allowed us to take in views reminiscent of Bryce Canyon.  It was certainly a great way to wrap up our weeklong summer "stay-cation." We all concluded that we'd have to plan a week like that again sometime.

This post authored by Amber

July 30, 2013

Hike to Timpanogos Cave

It had been quite some time since we had made the hike to Timpanogos Cave, and so it seemed like a good opportunity give the children a real chance to stretch their legs and put their mad climbing skills to the test.  The Timpanogos Cave hike is beautiful, and the reward of exploring a cave at the end makes it all the more worth it.  Even the drive up the canyon to the trail head is lovely, so an activity like this is really a great way to spend your vacation days.  Isn't that right, Jason?

 No foolin' around.  This is some serious hiking.

 Brevin and Spencer like to lead the way.

 The boys have recently taken a liking to the game Minecraft.  If you are familiar 
with the game, you may understand why this trail sign caught their attention.

 Garrett spotted the entrance to the cave. 

 Here we are at the top.  Brevin is sporting a smile even though he 
was not feeling well and had to vomit at the "last chance" bathrooms.  
I'm not sure why Ella is doubled over as if exhausted.  She was carried 
up the mountain. Maybe she just needed to stretch her legs.

 After a quick check from the ranger to make sure the camelback
was not protruding too much, we got the go ahead to enter the cave.

 The Great Heart of Timpanogos

 After exploring the inside of the cave for nearly 
thirty minutes, we came out into the open air.

By this point in our trip, Garrett had had enough of having his picture taken.

This post authored by Amber

July 29, 2013

There's No Business Like Show Business

Jason and I were excited to learn that the Sundance Summer Theater would be performing "Annie Get Your Gun" for the 2013 season. Spencer had become quite familiar with the tune "Anything You Can Do" as he practiced it for his talent show performances. I have seen the show several times before and  knew this would be a musical that the whole family would enjoy. The children had yet to experience attending a show at the amphitheater, so this appeared to be a perfect activity to add to our list of things to do during our summer "stay-cation."

Everything for our activity seemed to come together so nicely, but the weather for our chosen evening to attend soon became a matter of concern. Rainclouds rolled in around three o'clock in the afternoon and persisted even through our drive up the canyon. However, as soon as we arrived at the resort, the clouds broke up, and we were able to enjoy the performance under a clear sky. Those extra blankets and jackets that we brought were definitely put to good use.

We purchased general admission lawn seating tickets so we could spread out our blankets and enjoy the performance without the confines of assigned, individual seats. That proved to be helpful for Garrett and Ella, as they were able to move around and change positions when they became restless.

The show was delightful. The cast members were extremely talented, and the technical aspects of costumes, staging, and sound and light design were equally impressive.  Add all those elements to the ambiance of an outdoor theater experience at a beautiful mountain resort, and you have the makings of a memorable family night out.

Prior to the start of the show, cast members walked around and interacted 
with audience members. I loved seeing the gorgeous costumes up close.

Once the show started, photography was not permitted, but I couldn't 
help but snap this shot of Ella as she conducted the music from her seat 
in a gesture that brought the opening song ("There's No Business 
Like Show Business") to a rousing, climactic end.  Too Cute!

This post authored by Amber

July 27, 2013

Day Trippin' Fishin'

Our family had talked about doing a weeklong camping trip to the Uintas for our summer vacation, but then Jason and I began discussing the idea of doing something different each day and including  an overnighter at a campsite we'd never been to.  As we explored options of activities we could do, I really took to the idea of "shaking things up" and adding a little variety to our vacation plans.  I'm not going to lie.  I was also sold on the idea of only packing and planning meals for a one-nighter as opposed to four.  Even still, our plans incorporated a day trip to fish in the Uintas.  We didn't wan't to give that up completely, so we packed up our gear, loaded up our van, and headed north for the cool, crisp mountain air.

We arrived early and set up on the banks of Washington Lake for our first round of fishing.  As always, we were not disappointed.  There was plenty of fishing action and opportunities for Ella to touch the fish just before they were to be released.  Aside from the bald eagle that kept swooping in for a dive, we were the only ones out on the lake, it seemed.  It was refreshingly peaceful.

Ella loves to cheer when anyone reels in a fish.  She loves to pet them, too.
Brevin and Spencer are becoming quite skilled with a fly and bubble.

When Spencer becomes restless while fishing, he tends to
 put down his pole for rock climbing and exploring. 

Brevin poses with a nice little rainbow trout that he caught.

While waiting on the shore, Ella keeps herself occupied by throwing 
rocks and banging branches against logs and boulders.

This trip was Garrett's first opportunity to try out the new 
Cars fishing pole he got for his birthday.  To say the least, it works.  
I think he brought in the most fish for the day with a final count of eight.

I just love the look on Ella's face in this picture.

After a fair amount of time at Washington Lake, we decided to eat some lunch before heading up to Butterfly Lake.  It started to drizzle a little but, but that didn't keep the fish from biting.

For a moment, Garrett thought he caught a fish, but he started to have a really 
difficult time reeling it in.  Jason went to free his line from what he thought was 
a snag.  Turns out, they were both right. They eventually brought in this tangled 
mess of moss and a fish!  I love the look of surprise on Garrett's face.

Well look there! I finally put down the camera to pick up a pole.

When the children felt they'd had a sufficient amount of time fishing, we headed back to the van and started our drive home.  We did stop off at Lost Lake for a brief time so Jason could get a few casts in.  The children and I stayed inside the van and watched a movie.  I may have nodded off a little, too.  It had been a full and satisfying day.  The best way to wrap it up was a stop in Heber City for a burger at the Train Station, followed by a nice, comfortable evening in my own bed.

This post authored by Amber.