Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Road Trippin'

A Lovely Summer in Maine

August, 2008

Before Sarah and I headed across the country we spent a few days enjoying beautiful Maine! I got to meet some of Sarah's friends and had a fun night of dinner and played a couple games of "Scene It; Friend's Edition" and it was a ton of fun! But before long, it was time to hit the road! Day 1, on our way to New York!
Sarah drove for the first two days, a total of 18 hours or so. It's ok, I entertained us both ;-)
By the end of Day 2, we'd arrived in Chicago and because we'd crossed into Central Time, we gained an hour. It was great! Here we are enjoying a coctail in the Lounge of the John Hancock Building. What a view...I wish I had a picture!
That night, after a little window shopping, we'd heard about the pizza place to eat at, so we had to check it out. Giordano's. And it was, the best pizza I've ever had!
We enjoyed our hotel room-The Inn of Chicago, right on the Magnificent Mile. It was the first time I'd ever stayed in a city before-it was great!
Anyway, the next morning we went out to explore the city. We started at the Navy Pier.
We rode the ferris wheel...
...then to the Millenium Park...
...and as we walked through the park, we heard an orchestra rehearsing, and it was incredible. It reminded me of a time when I used to be on a stage like that. I missed it a little. They were performing the following night, but we would be in Colorado by then. But we had some exciting plans for that night..."Wicked"
my new favorite musical!
Here we are in our hotel on our way out to the show. It was so great, I'm still listening to the soundtrack!
We had a great time in Chicago, but the next morning we had to leave early so we could get to Colorado at a decent hour. It was a looong last day, but we made it, safe and sound, all the way home :-)

Visiting the Family!
July, 2008
I had a wonderful week visiting with my sister and her family. It was wonderful spending time with her two beautiful children and seeing how much they've grown in the past year since I last saw them.

The weather wasn't always the best, so we found ways to entertain oursleves inside. They have a Wii, and it was my first experience with this wonderful game! Jacob's favorite was Dance Dance Revolution. I have to say, he was better than me!
Heather loved it too!
Even Katie's practicing for when she's old enough to play!
We did have one beautiful morning when we got to go to the Utica Zoo! It was so fun to see how excited these kiddos were seeing all the animals! They loved it!
One of my favorite parts of my visit was getting to hang out with Jacob and Katie together. It's amazing how well they got along! I never remembered being like that with my brothers ;-) It was so great to see them as such good friends and I know their bond will only grow stronger over time.
Such cuties!
What a precisous moment, Katie reading with Daddy
After postponing it due to weather, we made it to the water park the day before I had to fly out. The weather wasn't the greatest, but we had such a blast! Jacob loved the rides, and we were so proud of him for going on some really big rides! Here's Heather and Jacob (and me) on the Scrambler!
One of my favorites...brother and sister flying high!
Drive safe, Jacob! Ring that bell, Katie!
After some fun on the rides, we decided it was time to hit the slides :-) We went on one all together and then Jacob and I went on a really fast one and he was so brave! So then he wanted to go on it again, and again, and again! Here we are eating some lunch waiting for the circus to start.
We had a wonderful day at the park and a fabulous visit! One of the days I was in NY, I got to drive up to Syracuse to catch a ride with my cousin to have lunch with my aunt and uncle and other cousin and her husband. I hadn't see everyone in years, so it was wonderful to get to spend some time with them! After lunch, I drove back to Syracuse with Melissa and we ended up hanging out and talking for hours!I love New York and can't wait to go back!

The Sawtooth

Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Evans (though we didn't quite make it to the top of Evans...)
July, 2008

What a beautiful day! Or at least it started out that way.
For all the 14ers we've done, my brother and I had never done a 14er together. So while his wife was out of town, he and I headed to the hills for a very memorable hike! Mike is posing here with Bierstadt and the Sawtooth in the background. Mike and I had both already done Bierstadt, so it was a pretty quick hike to the summit. We stopped a couple times to talk to other hikers on the trail, but not too many people were out, as it was a Tuesday. Really random, though, I met the sister of two of my students from school. Small world!
It was beautiful on the summit and it was the perfect temperature, I could have stayed up there all day! We had a snack, started getting pumped for the Sawtooth and met a couple of other hikers who were thinking of the Sawtooth, so we invited them to come along with us. So Becky and another guy (I forget his name!) joined us. Here are Becky and Mike as we begin crossing the Sawtooth. I was really encouraged because it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be. It definitely looks a lot scarier than it really is. The only thing scary about this traverse were the clouds we were watching form all around us. As we continued the traverse, we also watched the clouds grow darker...
We made it to the saddle of the Sawtooth and found ourselves stuck. We looked up at Evans, and dark thunderclouds crowded the summit. We looked behind us thinking we could just go back up and over Bierstadt, but those clouds were even more ominous. So, instead of sliding down the face of the Sawtooth, we decided to just sit and wait it out.
The clouds eventually cleared over Evans and we continued quickly on our way. It started getting a little steeper with some more exposure, but it was a lot of fun!
We made it to the ridge, stopped to take a break, and five minutes was all that was needed for more clouds to roll in. That is the summit-that is how close we came. Now you're probably thinking, "Those clouds don't look that bad, why didn't you just go for it?" Well, it was one of the most difficult decisions we'd made, but...
...this is what was coming from the other direction, straight for us. We contemplated dropping our packs and racing up to the summit, but when we saw lightning touch down just over the summit of Spaulding, we realized it was too close and we needed to get down as quickly as we could. There's nothing more disappointing than getting so close to a summit and turning around, but it's just not worth the risk.
We hiked quickly, but carefully down the ridge, but realized that as we were getting hailed on, we were right where lightning could strike any minute, so we ducked under a rock to wait out the storm and protect ourselves from the lightning. I'm not sure if this was any safer, but it was kind of fun!
The hail let up and the storm passed. Part of me wanted to go back to the summit, we were less than an hour from the top, but we had no idea whether or not we were safe from other potential storms, so we decided to continue on down towards our car.I'm not sure we were really following a trail, but we did all we could to avoid the willows and the myriad of little rivers flowing as a result of all the snow we got this winter. Every now and again we'd look back at the summit and there was nothing but blue sky (grrr!), but I still don't regret our decision. By the time we made it back to the car, it was beginning to rain again. Here's one last look at the Sawtooth. Evans, I'll be back soon to get you!

Even though we didn't quite reach our goal, the Sawtooth had been on my list since last summer and I was grateful to have put that under my belt. And of course, I'm always thankful when everyone returns safely. We met some new people, and I had a blast hiking with my big brother ;-)