Silver Lake

June 28th 2014

We left on a drive, without a destination, and ended up at Silver Lake, where we were able to cross off the second hike 
from our Summer Bucket List.

The lake (which is really more of a big pond) is probably one of the most popular lakes in the state of Utah.
It's a relatively fast drive to get to the lake and the trail that goes around it is easy enough for all ages. 

It was nice getting out of the valley heat and feeling the coolness of the mountain air. 

Silver Lake is a popular place for moose to graze, and we were lucky enough to spot a pair of them today.  
Obviously, we didn't want to get to close to the moose, so they're a little hard to see in the photos.

In these pictures, they look like horses to me, but they are moose. Promise. 

We're lucky to live in such a beautiful place. 

Like I mentioned this "hike" isn't really much of a hike at all, but we aren't setting out to conquer huge mountains or push ourselves to the limit. 
We just wanted something where we could 
enjoy being in nature and being with each other.
And this was the perfect place to do that. 

Do you have a favorite place to go when you just need to get away for a couple hours? I'd love to hear about it. 

Summer Sunrise

Saturday August 16 we crossed off "Watch the Sunrise from the Mountains" from our Summer Bucket List. We had originally planned on doing this when we went camping, but we were always to tired to wake up in time to watch the entire sunrise.

The whole idea behind having this on our list was just to be able to appreciate the moment of a new day, and to be fully present in that moment. Life can get so busy that I sometimes forget to appreciate all of the miraculous things that are around me everyday, and it gets easy to take those things for granted. This was just a reminder to remember all of the little things that make life wonderful. 

So we decided to wake up at 4:30 am and drive to the top of Butterfield Canyon and watch the sunrise from the peak. 

When we left our house, it was still dark enough to see the stars, but by the time we reached the peak of the mountain we could no longer see them - the city lights were still visible though.   

We kind of thought we were a little bit crazy for doing this, until we got to Butterfield, and that's when we learned what "crazy" really means. . . 

At the bottom of the canyon there was a parked car. Overnight camping is no longer allowed in Butterfield Canyon, so we thought that maybe someone had just decided to sleep in their car. 
Well, we were about four or five miles into the canyon when we found the owners of that vehicle. They were wearing tennis shoes and had headlamps on and they were running up the canyon. Running up the canyon. At 5:00 am. In the dark. 

My mouth dropped open when I saw them.
 I asked J.R. if he wanted to do that next year. He gave me a sideways glare, laughed and said, "Yeah. That's not gonna happen." 

We had hoped to be the only people crazy enough to get up that early and be on the mountain. But we weren't. Not only was there the "ragnar couple", but the mountain was packed with hunters -and they had all gotten there earlier than us. Some of them had ventured off into the woods already, and some were still sitting in their trucks with their binoculars.

But that's ok. It's nice to see that people are passionate enough about their hobbies and interests to wake up before the sun rises. 

Warning: We took tons of pictures. 

Sense this whole experience was about the sun, then
what better time to practice a Sun Salutation

A Sun Salutation is a basic yoga sequence that is often done in the morning, or as a warm up before the rest of your yoga practice. 
 The sequence isn't anything fancy or difficult, but here are a few snap shots of mine from the mountain top. 

It may look like my eyes are closed because I'm in a state of peace, 
but really they are just closed because the sun was so bright.

Was this the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen? 

Umm..Probably not. 
But it was still worth it. Why?
 Because it was so much fun sharing this experience with J.R.

My world revolves around him, and I don't ever want to take him for granted the way that I sometimes take for granted the sun rising over those mountains each morning.   

I appreciate all that he's done to help turn my dreams into reality. 
Even if my dreams seem silly to other people, (or even if he thinks my dreams are silly) it means everything to me that he is always there supporting me, sacrificing his time, and doing all that he can to help make those dreams of mine come true. 

I'm grateful that we share this life together, and that we will be able to share an eternity of sunrises together.  

Moonlight Camping

August 10th we packed up our jeep and headed to the Unitas for the night. We planned on watching the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. The shower was scheduled to be at its peak on the 12th, but we still expected to see quite a display of shooting stars on this night.  

J.R. and I  have never been camping alone together. We have always either been with our families or with large church groups, so this was our fist solo trip. The whole thing was kind of spontaneous, we knew we wanted to camp along the Mirror Lake Highway, but we hadn't planned exactly where. We just drove along checking out the different camp grounds as we went, and finally decided to stay at Cobblerest. We chose campsite number 6 because; it had a shady spot for our tent, an open area to view the stars, and it was by the river. 

( I just had to show you guys our cute camping quilt.)

There was a small boy-scout group camping near us, but by the time we had set up our tent and started a fire, they had taken down their tent and packed up all their things. And as night fell, we realized we were the only people in the entire campground. Which was really strange, and wonderful at the same time. A couple minutes later we also realized that neither one of us had cell phone service.
With it getting darker and darker, my imagination started acting up. What if a bear was attracted to the smell of our food, or what it Jason showed up with his ski-mask and chainsaw? A young couple camping by themselves in the woods, isn't that how scary movies always start?  J.R. laughed at me and told me we'd be just fine. And when I asked him to walk me to the bathroom, he rolled his eyes and protested - but eventually he came along as my bodyguard. (Which I really appreciated.) 
After awhile I stopped thinking about all the scary things that could happen to us and instead focused on watching the stars, and I realized that this was actually pretty romantic. 

Except the stars didn't seem to be shining very brightly and we couldn't see any meteors. We thought that maybe it just wasn't dark enough or that maybe our fire was just a little to bright, so we let it die down. It was a cold night, so to help keep us warm J.R. went down to the river and brought back some water to boil for hot chocolate. I had never drank river water before, but after some convincing from J.R. that, "It'll be fine".  I decided that I should trust him, and that we probably would live through it. 

While we had been enjoyed our river-water-hot-chocolate, the night had gotten a little bit darker, so we turned our attention back to star gazing. I saw one big meteor, and J.R. was able to see two more. But then the moon came up over the ridge and we realized why the stars were so dim -the moon was full and bright. We knew then that our chances of seeing more meteors was slim-to-nothing. 

So instead we focused on the moon. (I wonder why people talk about "the man in the moon." I always envisioned the moon as something feminine.) Anyways, the moon was beautiful, and it lit up the entire mountain. Here are some photos that J.R. took: 

We stayed there for a few hours basking in the moon's light and the warmth of our fire. When we started running low on firewood though, we decided to call it a night and go to bed. 

J.R. had recently purchased a "Tent Buddy" which is a heater that runs off of propane.  I'm so glad that he brought it on this trip. The night was so much colder than we had planned for, but with our tent buddy we were able to stay nice and warm. Except, sometime during the middle of the night while we were sleeping, it ran out of propane and turned off. We don't know how long it had been off for, but we both woke up because of the cold. My nose was frozen, my butt was frozen, my hands and feet were frozen. J.R. climbed out of bed and switch in a new propane tank for us. We cuddled together until we were warm, and both of us eventually drifted back to sleep. 

J.R. got up at the first hint of sunlight. I stayed in bed not wanting to leave it's warmth, and fell back asleep. A little while later I heard J.R. at the tent door saying that he had started a fire, and made more hot chocolate so that I would be warm when I came out of the tent. Isn't he so sweet? He probably froze getting everything ready. 

By the time I got dressed and came out of the tent he had already started cooking our breakfast. I sat in a chair by the fire, sipping on the hot chocolate he had made for me, and tried to take in the moment; the sound of the water running over the rocks in the river, the cool mountain air around us, the soft early morning light, and no-one around for miles except me and J.R.. I could hear him absentmindedly humming a song as he cooked our bacon and eggs, and I was so happy to be there in this moment with him. 

Wanting to be helpful, I got up to get our plates and utensils ready and tried to make out the tune he was humming. 
When I couldn't figure it out, I asked him, 
"What song are you humming babe?"  
He stopped humming and was quite for a moment. Without looking up from the pan of eggs he said, 
"Louis Armstrong's, What a Wonderful World."  
Seriously you guys, my heart just melted right then and there.
I don't know how I got so lucky to have J.R. as my husband, but I thank Heavenly Father everyday that we are together. 

If we were to rate this trip's success off of the amount of meteors we saw, then it would be considered a complete fail. But this little "moonlight camping trip" as been the most memorable thing we've done all summer, and I fully enjoyed each moment we had together. 

Plus, now we have an excuse to try it again next year. 

Forest Living

Slowly but surely we are completing our Summer Bucket List
This past weekend we felt ambitious enough to try out our survival skills in building an emergency fort.

We drove up Butterfield Canyon and found a thicket of small trees that looked like the ideal place to start building. The only things we brought with us were gloves, twine, and a hatchet. Neither one of us had ever built a survival shelter before, but we felt confident in knowing how to get the job done. 

I gathered up the fallen branches and sticks while J.R. secured them together with the twine.

Here are the progress pictures:

The hardest part was getting enough pine branches. Our hatchet and gloves got sap all over them, and my arms got scratched from layering them onto the shelter. If you're going to build one - I recommend wearing long sleeves! 

I also recommend not going to Butterfield Canyon.  When we were done building our shelter, we got back on the dirt road to try and connect up with the main paved road, but there was a couple parked in a convertible bug doing a little bit more than just "making out." They had to stop and move their car so that we could drive passed them. It was awkward and hilarious at the same time. 

Well anyways here are the pictures of the completed shelter: 

Is it perfect? No. 
Are we still proud of it? Yep. 
Would we be able to survive if we had to spend a couple nights here? Maybe.. 

Here's to surviving the zombie apocalypse. 
(just kidding) 

But seriously, have you ever slept in one of these??

Strawberry Reservoir

We finally made it to the lake. 
It seems unbelievable to me, but out all the years that J.R. and I have been together, we have never gone fishing together. Which is crazy, because I really love to fish. 

But this past weekend we were able to cross off "Go Fishing" from our Summer Bucket List. I need to give a big Thank You to my Aunt Beth and Uncle David, who let us borrow their "ugly stick" fishing poles. We are so grateful to them, because without their kind gesture we probably wouldn't have been able to go. 

On the day we went fishing the weather couldn't have been better for a trip to the lake.  We got there around 8:00 am, which was an hour later than when I wanted to be there (but I could not get out of bed that morning.)

This is a picture of the lake when we first got there. 
Clear, calm, cool, and beautiful. 

We invited my dad to come along with us.
After all, he is the person who inspired my love for fishing,  
and it was so much fun spending time by the water together again.

We started our morning fishing from the north-west side of the lake, but after a few hours of not catching anything we thought we'd try and find a different spot. 

Strawberry Reservoir really is such a beautiful place. I took these pictures by the area where we ate lunch. 

After lunch we decided to try our luck at the 
"ladders" area of the lake.
Which was the opposite side of the lake from where we started. 

Before we planned this fishing trip, J.R. told me that he has really bad luck when it comes to fishing. He said it's more than just bad luck - it's a curse, because he never catches anything. 

I told him not to worry about his "curse" because he has never been fishing with me before, and I have excellent luck when it comes to fishing. I just knew that if we got out there together that he would catch one. 

Well, things didn't go exactly as I had hoped.
We fished all day and didn't catch anything but sun-rays. 
But that's okay. We still had a ton of fun being out by the water, with the fresh mountain breeze gently blowing around us. It's nice to get out of the valley and go somewhere peaceful and quite. 

And like my dad said, "Fishing isn't always about the fish." 

It was nice just to spend time with each other
 and enjoy the beauty of this earth together. 

But I haven't given-up hope on breaking J.R.'s "fishing curse." 
We will be back out there to try again. 

Where are your favorite places to fish? 
Do you have any tips to break bad luck when it comes to fishing?