Thursday, August 27, 2009

three months of summer in 7 days

Who ever said summer had to be three months? Due to my taking of "summer" classes during June, July, and August (the months typically considered summer), Brad and I were unable to enjoy the fun of summer we've participated in in the past. 
But as soon as finals were over we raced off to Zion National Park in southern Utah. Coincidentally, all the national parks across the country were waiving admission fees that weekend, so instead of paying the $25 just to enter the park we got in for free! We played around the first day we were there and had a wonderful tin foil dinner in the car. We cooked it in our campfire that Brad had to start without the convenience of lighter fluid since we forgot that at home. He's such a good boyscout! As we set down at our not so clean picnic table the bees started swarming. But, I honestly can't blame them. We had a good dinner! So, we ran for the cover of the car. We luckily managed to eat without getting stung.
When we checked into our campsite the park ranger told us to make sure we put our food in our car at night where no squirrels could get to it. Squirrels? Yes, squirrels. Apparently, Zion's has a big squirrel problem. If they smell food in tents they will actually chew through the tent to get to the food causing lots of damage to campers' usually pretty expensive tents. So, after we ate we took that advice and put our food in the car, played a few card games, and went to bed only to wake up about 2 hours later to howling wind that viciously shook our little shelter.The wind blew and blew ferociously all night leaving us with a grand total of maybe three hours of sleep. 
As soon as the sun was up we got out of our windblown tent and hurriedly put it up before it got blown away since we weren't inside anymore.We then hopped on a park shuttle which took us to Angel's Landing, a 5 mile round trip hike that is completely uphill with 41 switchbacks (we counted).
Here I am on the way the up to the top.

Here's Brad. We're almost there.

 After our long uphill journey, we finally made it to the top!

Once we hiked back down, we ate lunch, and took a little break. Then we jumped back on the bus to go to the narrows, hikes through the river. The curvy hike down Angel's Landing was completely unshaded since the sun had reached its high place in the sky, so the cold river water was so nice.

Turns out that the squirrel problem is a REAL problem. On our way to the narrows we stopped to sit on a bench and eat some trial mix. A squirrel showed up and decided he wanted some too. He started inching toward us and then broke out in a full-out sprint, running towards Brad's leg realizing that was the quickest way to get to the food. We jumped up and Brad tried to kick dirt on it but accidentally kicked its face, and it still kept coming! It really wanted some of our treat.

Here's the little thief. 

Here's the trial mix we now affectionately refer to as "squirrel bait".

We had a great time at Zion's.

Three days later we left for Colorado. To get there we had to drive through Wyoming, and I've never been there! I think I was a little too excited though.
Colorado was so fabulous, especially because we got to sleep in every day! Lori was so a great hostess and kept us entertained all the time. We got to see Neil, Valeri, Chloe, and Ryan which is always fun! We went tubing down the river (without receiving citations for not wearing life jackets) and got super sunburned, but still had a blast!
Next, we went to Jared's house where he tried to convert us to pinball.
Here's the master at work... 

...and his lovely lady who tilted the game so much that it quit.

While Jared was at work on Monday Lori took Brad and I to the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was gorgeous!
This next picture is for Chloe. She told Brad that her birthday was coming up soon, and she wanted a brown duck. A big brown duck, not a baby brown duck. So, I found one at the park.
That night we had a wonderful dinner at our favorite Mongolian Barbecue in downtown Denver and went to a Rockies game. Brad and I were super excited to be at Coors Field!

 While watching the game a photographer came to take our picture. This is what he got...
 You can only buy these pictures online and the prices ranged from $18 to $250! Neither of these wonderful shots was worth $18 to me, so I copied them, which is probably illegal, but I figured they might get a good laugh out of someone.
We definitely had a very busy 7 days, but we loved every minute of our jam-packed "summer" vacation! 

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