Jollys Ranch

The Groberg family camp-out was wonderful. We went to Jolly's Ranch which is located up Hobble Creek Canyon in Springville.

We saw a lot of wildlife this year. We spotted fish swimming in the creek, and a couple of squirrels running around the roots of trees.  Each morning a flock of wild turkeys would wander around our site, and one evening we saw a doe and two cautious fawns following behind her.  But our most exciting encounter was with a rattlesnake.  

It's kind of hard to see in the photo but this snake was a pretty decent sized creature. It had been sunbathing itself by the picnic table in the empty campsite right next to ours. There was a man who had wandered over there in shorts and flip flops when he almost stepped on it. Lucky for him he heard the rattle and back away just in time. He was just getting ready to leave for the day, so he warned us about it and then him and his family drove off.  

So we were in a little bit of a dilemma. J.R. and Micheal wanted to kill it to protect us, I didn't want them to kill it, but I also didn't want to have to worry about it wandering over to our campsite. (ps it IS illegal to kill rattlesnakes in Utah)  So Julene decided the best thing to do was to have the camp host come take care of it. 

Well long-story-short the camp host came and caught the snake. He was a really friendly guy and he held the snakes head and let us "hold" the rest of the snake. Most snakes (like garter snakes) feel smooth, but rattlesnakes feel really dry and scaly. We counted 13 rattles including the "button" rattle on the end, and the camp host informed us that a rattlesnake will develop one rattle for each year of its life. So this snake had been around for a little while. The camp host took it in his truck and told us he was going to let it go on the other side of the highway.      

So after the rattlesnake incident we all went back to resting easy, playing Tripoley, and eating way to much junk food. But we weren't always just sitting around either. 

We brought our bikes with us and we woke up early one morning to go for a ride. (Maybe you remember that it was on our summer bucket list to "Try a New Bike Trail") It was so much fun. There were a few hills but nothing that was extremely difficult.  I wanted to ride more into the day, but the elevation isn't very high in these mountains - so it still gets pretty hot. To hot to ride, to hot to do much of anything for that matter. 

To keep ourselves cool we waded in the creek. I felt like we were kids again playing in the water, but nothing felt better than the coolness of it rushing around our feet and ankles.  Plus it was a beautiful place to see.  

I love camping. Why? 

Well I'm sure it has to do with the fact that I (involuntarily) spend most of my time inside, under florescent lights, looking at some type of electronic screen. But when you're camping, especially when you're camping in a tent, you're outside for the majority of the time. Day, night, rain, or shine - you're out there in it - and it's beautiful.

 I'm sure it has to do with the campfires, s'mores, and the bight stars at night; but maybe it's also as to do with the fact that I don't have to worry about washing my hair.  Maybe it's because time doesn't really exist when you're camping, and no one really expects anything from you - except to just be there.

Just to be there with them. 

The biggest reason I love camping is because I get to create awesome memories with some of the people I care most about.  Camping allows us to just be. To exist in the moment without meaningless distractions or time consuming obligations. 

I'm grateful that J.R. and I are so close to both of our families. And I'm so glad that the Groberg's started a tradition of having one family camp-out each year. This is our third one so far, and they just keep getting better and better. We're already looking forward to next year.  

Do you have a favorite summertime family tradition? You're welcome to share in the comments. 

Ruths Diner

We (very spontaneously) went to Ruth's Diner for a date on Saturday. Neither one of us had ever been there before and we were not disappointed!

For a "diner" this place is pretty classy. Not only do they offer the traditional diner foods (like hamburgers and meatloaf) but they also serve more high-end dishes (like Fresh Asparagus & Farfalle Pasta and Seafood Pasta Pomodoro)

This little beauty is the first thing you see when you walk in.

The diner has a beautiful location up Immigration Canyon, and is one of the oldest restaurants in Utah. The diner itself is an old Salt Lake trolley car, so it's relatively small, but there is a spacious back patio that provides extra seating. The patio has a wonderful atmosphere; there are lights strung between the canyon trees, raised flower beds, and live music on the weekends.  

Ruth's Diner has won many awards for their breakfast dishes. We went in the evening and ate dinner, but now I want to go back and have their breakfast.

If you want to check out their menu or read about this history of Ruth's Diner click here to visit their website.

Do you have a favorite summer restaurant? I think we might have found ours.