Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mount Timpanogas

For the past 7 years, I have looked out my window and seen the magnificent Mount Timpanogas. It towers over Provo, demanding your gaze again and again. It's the impressive wall that dominates the landscape on the northeast side of Utah Valley. At 11,749 feet, it's the second highest mountain in the Wasatch Mountain range and perhaps the most recognizable in Utah. It has everything a hiker could ever wish for, including a lake, glacier, waterfalls, alpine meadows, wildflowers and wildlife. Seeing it every day, I knew eventually I had to climb to the top in order to feel like I had truly experienced the Utah landscape.  

One Sunday morning in July, I woke up and had the thought that I wanted to hike Mount Timp. I laid in bed for a few minutes, considered this thought, and decided to go for it. There's no time like the present, right? I looked around the kitchen for hiking food, grabbed my backpack and took off. 

There are two trails used to reach the summit. I chose the Timpooneke Trail in American Fork Canyon, which extends 7.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of 4,508 feet. At 11 am I started my hike! 
 The first hour of the hike heads up a glacier valley known as the Giant Staircase.
 Whitney gave me a selfie stick earlier in the summer. I realize she was making fun of my selfie game by giving it to me, but it has been perfect for my summer hiking adventures. Instead of always having pictures of just landscape, I can actually get in a few. 
 Scout Falls. This is a neat little waterfall just over an hour into the hike. I was pretty hot by this time, so I walked and stood under the falls for a bit.
 The water was freezing! But it was really refreshing. 

Timpanogas was named by the indigenous people to the area. Roughly translated, it means "water on rock." Between Scout Falls and the cascades of tumbling water you encounter throughout the first few hours of the hike, it's easy to understand the description. 

From Scout Falls, there are several switchbacks. Above these, you enter Middle Basin which is littered with avalanche debris. The trail makes big loops and switchbacks here as you gain elevation. Once you finish those, you enter Timpanogas Basin, which provides your first views of the summit. 
 The basin was covered with wildflowers. I felt like Maria in The Sound of Music.
My first view of the summit, so beautiful! By this time, I was feeling pretty good. I had really enjoyed the hike and had yet to feel the effects of the altitude change. I stopped here among the Flower Garden and fueled up for the ascent.
I took this picture about 40 minutes before I reached the saddle. It was here that I started to feel the altitude; my breathing got heavier, my back bent further over, my nose dripped constantly and I was extremely thirsty. Since I was at a glacier, I decided to eat some of the snow. It wasn't yellow so I figured it was fine. 

After passing through meadows filled with wildflowers, the trail climbs to what is known as Timp Saddle. This gives sweeping views of Utah Valley and of the summit ahead, which is a small point in the long ridge about midway on the mountain.
Beautiful view of Utah Valley.
I took this picture at the Saddle looking back on the path. It was hard to believe that I had just come from below there. It was quite the ascent! 
 I made it!
 I sat here for about half hour just enjoying the view. It was so satisfying knowing that I had finally made it to the top of this mountain I had seen every day for 7 years.

The toughest part of this hike is definitely the 20 minutes leading up to the Saddle and up to the Summit and then hiking from the Summit down to the Saddle. It's steep, rocky and slow-going. By the time I made it back to the Flower Garden, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. 
I snapped this picture and couldn't believe that I had just been at the top. 

On the way down, I saw over 40 Rocky Mountain Sheep. I stopped and watched them for a while. There were several babies in the group, which were fun to watch walk. 
I just had my iphone with me, so this picture isn't the best quality, but you can see a few white spots up there. They were very noisy! 

From this point on, I decided to run the rest of the way down. I don't know what possessed me to do that, but it was fun. I still stopped to enjoy the scenery, as I encountered deer, chipmunks and more sheep. I heard that moose were popular on the American Fork side of Timp so I was really hoping to run across one, but no such luck.
I reached the bottom of Timp about 8 hours after I had started. I was tired, dirty and so happy. I really did enjoy hiking the mountain. Sure, it was difficult, but it was so rewarding. It reminded me that no matter how high, long or difficult a trial may be, with persistence, faith and determination, you can conquer even the most difficult hardships. In the moment, it may not seem like you are progressing, but when you reach the top, you gain perspective as you're able to overlook the valley below and witness how far you've come.

I've only been at the top of Mount Timpanogas once, but every time I've looked up at it since, it tempts me to climb to the top again. The beauty, the wildlife, the view, it calls to me. The mountain beckons me to return for another journey. Mount Timp has that magical quality that makes you say to yourself, "I want to stand on top of that." 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

4th of July

My favorite holiday! I love the festivities that accompany this day, but the reason why it is my favorite is because it's celebrated with the majority of my family.  It's the one time every year I know that most my family will all be in the same place. Time spent with my family is my favorite. As Elder L. Tom Perry once said, "The older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life." I may not be as old as Elder Perry when he said that, 92 years old, but I do know that my favorite place to be is with family. 

The day started with the Central Point parade, a classic. 
 The kids lined up to get candy watch the parade
 I love this picture of the kid standing as the flag passed. So many people don't stand for the flag, which is a pet peeve of mine. Witnessing them show respect for their country at a young age brings a smile to my face. 
A 4th of July tradition is playing 4 square. I remember playing this game as a kid and love that the nephews and nieces enjoy it as well! We took a break real quick to capture this picture. Priceless. 
 The kids with their toys ready to go!
 Scooter gang #FutureSandlot
Zoey came dressed to swim, play and run around with the kids...psych. Her fashion sense is amazing. I'm always intrigued to see what she will be wearing. 
 Grandma McGee had NEVER been in a pool, or body of water, in her entire life. It changed this year! She brought her jean cut offs, told us not to laugh at her, and said she'd get in. Colin escorted her down the stairs. 
In the pool! It was fun having Grandma in the pool. With how hot it was, I'm sure she enjoyed it!
 Best buds.
 Firework time!
Whitney always does a great job buying fireworks for our show, so naturally I had to end with this picture. I've enjoyed helping the past few years light off the fireworks. One of these days, I might just jump over a fountain and finally join the rest of my siblings since they've all done that before. However, since I have no jumping abilities, I probably would knock over the firework and cause an accident. Maybe I'm better off as a spectator. Either way, this day is always my favorite out of the entire year. 

It's Great to be Eight

While home for 4th of July, I was fortunate enough to be there for Logan's baptism. It's hard to believe he is already 8 years old! The kids are growing up too quickly, which means I am aging more than I'd like to admit. 

Logan was so excited to be baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'm grateful I have nephews and nieces who are excited about the Gospel. They remind me how lucky I am to have been raised in the church and to have the truth in my life. 
Logan and Matt before the baptism
 Logan and I. Side note: I miss that summer tan! 
Of course we had to take a selfie after the baptism. 

I remember when I was baptized in the same font Logan was 18 years ago. Dad baptized me and Trent Nistler was a witness (I can't remember who the other witness was). After coming out of the water, I remember looking at Dad and Dad was looking at Trent. They seemed unsure if my foot had made it under the water so to be on the safe side, I was baptized again. I don't think I appreciated nor understood the full meaning of being baptized when I was 8, but I knew it was important and something I wanted to do. To date, that is probably the most important decision I have ever made. My membership in this church is so important to me. Because of my love for the gospel, it made me even happier to see Logan make the same decision. I am so lucky I can live with my family forever!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Emigrant Lake

Thursday, Grant Nation went to Emigrant Lake outside of Ashland. Water was involved every single day I was home because it's the only way to survive triple digit weather.

Whitney was in town by now, which made the day even more fun. All of my siblings are wonderful with kids, but I especially love how much Whitney plays with the kids. Her love for them is obvious and I hope that one day I can find the same energy she has for them!
The front row obviously got the memo. This picture was made possible by a selfie stick that Whitney bought me. She said it was perfect for me because I take so many selfies. Maybe I do take lot maybe I don't, but the selfie stick has come into handy lots for car pictures and hikes. 
 Loving the refreshing water.
We didn't have enough life jackets for all of the kids, but they did a good job sharing. When they didn't have a jacket, they stayed in the shallow water and played with the sand toys.
Grant Nation.
When we got to the lake, the kids all jumped right in. However, I wasn't hot enough to go in yet, so I sat in the sun and then braved the cold water, which actually felt so good!

Whitney bought passes for everyone to ride the water slides. I opted to sit at the bottom and watch everyone. It was so fun watching the excitement as they came down the slides, into the water with huge smiles on their faces and then race back to the top to do it all again. 
Whitney and Sawyer
 Mom and Zoey. This may be the time Zoey completely submerged under the water. I got a good laugh out of her reaction.
Whitney coming down with style.
 Malakai and Sawyer. Malakai is good with all the kids, but especially the younger ones. I loved watching him make sure Sawyer and Zoey didn't go under the water once they hit the pool.
 Mom and Ellie

Kadyn, Logan and Aspen all went down the slides as well, but I couldn't find the pictures. Kadyn and Gabe started going down the slides together, laying side by side. It was pretty cute. 

I hadn't been to Emigrant Lake in years and I couldn't have asked for a better return than the day with my family. The grandkids are pretty lucky to have such great grandparents who do fun things with them and include them in life's adventures. I'm blessed to be part of such a remarkable family.

Hellgate Canyon

Mom and Dad asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to do since it was my vacation and I mentioned the Hellgate Jetboat Excursion in Grants Pass. It's not the cheapest activity so I don't go as often as I would like, but it's a fun treat when we are able to go. Plus, it's one of the best ways to beat the heat!

The Quick and Scenic is a 2 hour, 36-mile round trip on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. Sometimes I forget how lucky I was to have grown up with the Rogue River in my backyard. The jetboat doesn't need much water to operate as it functions off a jet system without propellers. This enables the pilots to skim over the river in mere inches of water as they go through Hellgate Canyon. The guide does a great job stopping and informing you of the river's history, old flood water marks, geographic features, bald eagles nests and just wildlife in general. The guide also does a great job at getting you wet, which everyone loves.  

We arrived about an hour before our excursion was to take off and stood in line. It was painfully hot. After about 10 minutes I felt like I had gone swimming because I was sweating so badly. Some of the kids were able to come with us, which was great, but they were definitely dying in the heat. Luckily there was some shade close to the line so we took turns rotating standing in line in the sun and taking refuge in the shade. 
The lucky grandkids who were able to enjoy the adventure.
Ellie's pose in both pictures are my favorite. Also, Aspen's looking pregnant!
 The crew ready to go!
This is beautiful Hellgate Canyon. It has 100-foot-high cliffs, made famous by the cliff-jumping scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon in The River Wild and John Wayne in the western classic, Rooster Cogburn
Can you spot me? I think my Oregon Ducks shirt stands out a bit from the blue jetboat. We had great seats this year, rows 4 and 5. It was so fun and I hope to do it again in the near future!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Table Rock

Table Rock is a fun, quick hike with an amazing view. Mom suggested doing a night hike one night so we chose Table Rock! Aspen, Ellie and Kadyn all joined.
 Excited to hike!
 Kadyn missed the memo.
 About 5 minutes into the hike, Ellie took a decent spill on the path. She cried for a bit, limped, but was a trooper and did the entire hike. 
Hiking at sunset made beautiful skies.  
 This is the Wishbone Tree. Apparently you have to make a wish and walk in the middle of it. I don't believe this was ever a thing when I was little, but I made sure to do it!
 We made it to the top!!
 Aspen, Kadyn, Ellie and Mom. We got to the top quicker than I thought we would. The view was beautiful!
 As we watched the sunset, we noticed Venus in the night sky. Aspen had a great idea for us to take pictures pointing to it or holding it. I think they turned out awesome!
 Mom and Venus.
Aspen and Venus.
Myself and Venus. It couldn't be more perfect. 
Aspen and I just doing out thing at the top. It was fun hiking with them and I'm glad we took one night to be out in nature. We sang lots of songs on the way down because it got pretty dark, but it was well worth it. Can't wait to do it again!