Sunday, January 05, 2014

Dixie Classic Fair

This was a really fun time - We drove down to Winston Salem to go to the Dixie Classic Fair.  We had never been before and it was very busy.  It started out super awesome as a man who was leaving offered us 6 tickets to get in which saved us 50 dollars on entrance fees.  Once inside we were able to experience a true fair feel walking through the livestock competitors like chickens, rabbits, sheep etc.  Check out these fine specimens.

The view from the top of the ferris wheel was awesome - we could see the whole fair grounds including the tractor pull beside us and all of the midway rides.

The trampoline gymnastics display was hilarious - the kids had the chance to ride this ridiculous  contraption allowing them to do flips and all kinds of acrobatics.  They all had a riot including Carleigh.  Bri had to do it a couple of times to get it right when the harness rode up on him causing significant discomfort!

It think this is the Fried Oreo smile of satisfaction.  I can attest to that!

Father Sons Camp, Triathlon's and Half Marathon's

Father Sons Camp was fun as usual - we had this at the Colfax building as usual.  There is no level grass there so the sleeping isn't always that great.  We started with tinfoil dinners or as Bri has coined them, "the iron lung".
Unfortunately this is the only picture that I have from this event - Bri and the other scout age children went crazy at the fire that night - the Bishop came and Bishop Williams thought it would be a good idea to show the young men how a Christmas Tree burns on a fire - these trees however had been drying for the last 9 months and were crispy to say the least - At one point the leaders put 3 trees on at once and watched the flames go 30 feet in the air - We had brought 2 folding chairs made out of canvas and the sparks that flew down burned holes in the seats of the chairs.  Once again I brought a cot and didn't sleep well.  i ended up getting in my car and driving to Sheetz gas station for a sub sandwich at 3 in the AM.  It was kind of serene and quiet to sit at the fire at 4 AM with some quiet and time to myself.  

Father Son's Camp

This year was a particularly bad year for me with exercise - being on night shift had ruined my energy level and promoted a dangerous level of growth - not of muscles.  Robin had a stellar year though and she and Betsy decided it would be a good year to do some Triathlon and actually trained for and finished their first half marathon!  They ran 4 times a week and on Saturdays were running as long as 2 hours at a time!  Robin had some pain in her hip but generally tolerated the runs well.  Congratulations ladies.  Robin tore it up and not only did awesome but was upright and speaking in full sentences at the end of it.  Watching her come across the finish line, it appeared that she had only run a 5 K.  No Jelly legs, no complaining.  

Belews Lake Triathlon
As usual, the Rolphin - had a stellar race.  This was just 20 minute drive form the house and the water was really warm.  It is a treat to have this venue so close!

Waiting for Mom!
The girls and I waited patiently on the sidewalk for mom to round the last corner of the 1st annual Greensboro Half Marathon.  We made a sign and tried to stay warm.  

Go Mom Go - sprint to the finish!
You wouldn't even have guessed at this point they had been running more than 13 miles!

Miller, Lundrigan, Miles
We are the Champions my Friends!  And we'll keep on fighting to the end!  Number one in our Books for sure.

Back to school 2013

It is that time again - the kids are all dolled up in their school best - Caty has discovered TOMS shoes and has also allowed us to buy her more than one item of clothes - she was so picky last year that she sometimes wanted to wear the same pair of jeans and shirts every day.  It was easier to let her have her way than to fight the screaming and crying that would ensue if you insisted that she wear something else.  Lizzy is sporting her always popular Carolina Blue and Bri wore the same shorts that he wore all spring and would wear for the oncoming fall and through the winter - evidently it is the new cool thing for kids in Junior High to wear shorts year round.  That would not have flown in Canada growing up!

Bri and his friend Walker who lives 3 houses down wait at the bus stop every morning together.  They both have the same theory on shorts!

Tyrell Museum

This was a great way to end the trip - we ended up at the Tyrell Museum in Southern Alberta - this is one of the largest dinosaur finds in the world and one of the largest if not THE largest museum with authentic dinosaur bones in the world.  There are near complete skeletons of almost any dinosaur you can imagine in this museum.  Nana came with us.  It is a bit out of the way as you have to drive close to 2 hours to get there through farm land, flat and boring, then you hit what is called the badlands - this can be seen in Caty-Lynne's only picture from the trip.  As usual, she got happy by the end of the day.

Knee high to a Brontosaurus

This was the best way to end the trip - there was a bit or rain on one of the last days and it yielded a beautiful rainbow.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Upper Kananaskis and Rawson Lake

The last Forage in to the Mountains for Bri and I.  We really wanted to get back up to the Picklejar lakes but alas the flooding had completely washed out the roads.  We didn't know this starting out so we ended up stopping at the ranger station at 8 AM when it opened - he directed us to the upper kananaskis lake and then to Rawson lake which was a short hike from there (about one hour). We could drive all the way to the Upper Kananaskis and then the hike was on well maintained trails.

Upper Kananaskis Lake

When we arrived at the Upper K it was pretty cold but the water was clear and blue - there was no wind and no clouds.  The trails were clear, and due to our early start and the inability to access many of these roads and lakes, we were the only ones around.  the hike started out with a 1 mile hike around the lake on mild sloping trails.  A couple streams and waterfalls that we had to forage because the bridges were out from flooding.  Then the trail ascended to Rawson lake.

when we got there we couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  Totally calm - like looking in a mirror at the mountains.  We did hear a dog barking so I think there were other there but we couldn't see them.  Later in the day another hiker said that a few minutes after we got there an arriving group spotted a moose in the deep end of the lake canyon

Rawson Lake

We mastered the Selfie - Good thing we're so photogenic!

Brian Jr and I lit up the fly flishing for the first 2 hours we were there.  We didn't bring enough flies unfortunately but we ended up catching just shy of a dozen cutthroat trout.  It was about every other cast that we would catch one.  Because there was lots of foliage and huge fir trees, half my flies ended up decorating the forest.  Bri reeled in a nice one pictured above.  The policy on the lakes was catch and release due to the devastation of the floods.

As we hiked around the lake, Brian found a patch of snow that was still present in the middle of August.  It looked a bit dirty - not the pristine "you can eat it snow".

After 8 hours of hiking this sums it up for junior.  He slept near the whole way home - even when were having to dodge mountain sheep that lined the roads in Kananaskis country.

More Canada

As is the case, the best vacation of the year has occupied more posts than any other this year.  It continues with some horseback riding and a trip to Elbow Falls!

Carleigh was soaking it up on the back of Bodie, who is the safest of all of granddad's horses.  There are a couple of funny stories here but my mind goes back to when Bri was 3 years old or so and Robin and I went to Canada to visit - They were living in the Lochend house at the time and Dad took Bri and I on a horseback ride down the back dirt road for a mile or 2.  When we turned around Dad's horse got spooked and it took off bucking - dad couldn't hold on for the 8 second and got bucked off.  Bri and I were sharing Bodie who thankfully was a bit calmer.  Bodie bucked for 4-5 seconds though it seemed like forever as I was holding on for dear life and the thought of getting bucked off with Bri sharing the saddle with me was very scary.  We rode it out but not Dad.  He eventually got up from the grassy knoll where he found himself - chased down the horse and got back on.  He was bucked off again a few minutes later.  I think he wanted to shoot that horse - As we walked back to the barn dad very clearly made it known that he wanted no-one to know about this.  Of course as we arrive at the house, Mom and Robin met us there and little Bri yells "Hey Nana, Granddad got bucked off!"  Groan from granddad…

This day was much more calm and the kids were all able to ride the horses without event - After they rode the horses, they took turns riding the ATV with me.  That was a lot of fun cruising around Granddads 80 acre ranch as fast as we could.  We started a fire and grilled meat for nana's dinner later that night - Classic Santa Maria style Tri Tip and Hot dogs for lunch.

This was a day of opposites - love this pictures - Caty is super happy, Drew is Ho Hum and Carleigh could care less about being here - that was at first - but it got better.

This was another valley that was completely washed out from the floods - there were picnic tables up on normally untouched areas in the forest that had been completely washed out and buried in mud slides.  Trees from way up river were carried downstream and made natural small dams.  Unfortunately for us, many of the fish from these usually fertile and natural rivers including the Elbow river and the Bow river were washed up onto the banks and died - the numbers fell off so steeply that there was no point in trying to fish.

Johnston Canyon and the Inkpots

It's amazing that I lived in Calgary less than 1.5 hours from this amazing spot and never visited this place - It was an AWESOME day and we got to see some amazing sights up in the mountains of Johnston Canyon in the Canadian Rockies.  We drove out into Banff National Park and found this gem.  It is actually the busiest of all the attractions in Alberta because of it's friendly trails many of which are man made and wide - the first part of the trip is actually very user friendly as you hike to some of the waterfalls.  it is only the second part of the hike where we ascended to the ink pots that was a challenge.

The hike started off with lots of support - everyone except Libby, Sean and Braydon and Nina were able to come - Brayden still had an injured ankle from his Heritage Park Trip and couldn't walk that far - they eventually made it to the falls but turned around.  Nana was awesome and helped Taylor and Charlotte make it to the falls as well.  Nana has recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and has some problems with burning in her feet especially with lots of walking so she made it to the falls with the little girls and then turned around - she is a real trooper.  The rest of us were gone for many hours on a a wonderful hike.

The view over the edge was awesome - the pathway was built into the side of the cliffs and as you can see it was some 30 feet or so over the base of the canyon where the blue/green waters rushed.

 That water is so cold - it burns to be in it.

Check out Hotty Mom - with Liz and Carleigh.  this is one of the many waterfalls that we saw.

This was the upper waterfall - it was all hiking form this point on.  Bri was an excellent leader - he seemed to always be in a competition with Drew and Caty - At this point we don't have many pictures of Caty Lynne - I think that's probably because she was upset and pouting.  

We couldn't get Lizzy to stop smiling - well until we got to the ink pots - about 10 minutes before we got there the kids all started to get whiny!

Bri and Mom - leading the Pack

Finally made it to the upper valley where the Ink pots are - evidently there are these water pools that are natural springs and have such intense colors from the nutrients in the spring water that they are bright blues and greens.  The valley was beautiful.

Frolilcking in the mountain grasses.  This is a scene from The Sound of Music!

Caty-Lynne finally turned it around as we were able to sit down and bust out the trail mix - She even smiled and enjoyed herself.  Brian and I pose in front of the river in the valley where you can see that the bridge was washed out.  There was such heavy rains and flooding that the whole valley had been changed - the bridge used to cross the river but had been total moved to the other side - there was no way to cross.

This pretty much sums up the rest of the trip - once we reached the apex of the mountain valley, no one wanted to walk home.  I think they would have been happy with a chartered helicopter to get us down. The truth is that there some storm clouds coming in and daylight was waning - we needed to get down quickly - as you can see dad's shoulders are the easiest way to go when you don't want to wait for little ones and short legs.