Monday, August 18, 2014

Family Pack Trip!

This is my favorite week of the year.  Even better than Christmas, as much as I love that.

Family Pack Trip!

Need I say more?

Probably not.  But I will anyway.  :)

This year we went to Utah to go on or pack trip because Jesse had a final on Thursday morning, and so we needed to be within 2-3 hour driving distance from her so she could come with us.  Bruce knows great websites that give detailed descriptions of hikes and topo maps (topography, for those of you un-initiated into back country life), and we found some good spots in between Logan and Bear Lake in Utah.

While waiting to meet up with Jesse in Logan, we parked by this beautiful Logan Temple for a few minutes.  We got to retell the story of Bruce and I going there when we were dating, and having the wonderful experience of sitting in the Celestial Room together and having a vision come over our minds and hearts of how happy we would be together.  It has come true many times over!

We met up with Jesse and had a great lunch at Panda Express.  Then we rode up the canyon,
parked at the trail head,
unloaded the horses, put all gear on them,
and took off hiking. Bruce's ankle was still not functional enough for long hikes, so we took four horses - Strawberry, Mackee, Cookie and Stormy - and Bruce rode Strawberry and ponied Stormy,
and Peter rode Cookie and ponied Mackee.
(Ponied means that the horse is on a lead rope and is led along by the other horse).
Josh was nice to stay back and hike with me.  He took care of his mama.  I can get up the trail, I just can't get up it as fast as everyone else can.

  We traded off part way through, and Mary rode Stormy and Peter hiked.

We came upon beautiful vistas!
After hiking for probably 5-6 miles, we came to a sign that said "Shorty's Cutoff" that showed us a path back to a lake we wanted to go to (1.37 miles uphill), and 2.8 miles to another lake we had thought about.  We were stuck in the middle with the sun going down.  I looked at Bruce and said, "This is where we're camping!"  It ended up being a great spot.  It was by a creek, and there were flat spots for tents.  We had to build our own campfire, but the kids brought rocks and had that done in no time. 

We had an added amenity at our campsite this year!  Josh came back from his two year mission in El Salvador with one of these!
Josh carried this hammock up in his backpack and slept in it both nights.  He said it was so comfortable!

While we were eating dinner that night (Mexican Mixup),
 we had a visit from this fine gentleman, a real live cowboy!
He was looking for some of his cows that had wandered.  When we asked him if he wanted some dinner, he said, "I thank you very kindly, but I need to put some miles behind me before it gets dark," with the best western accent you can imagine.  While Bruce was talking to him, I leaned over to the kids and said, "This is the incarnate image of what Joseph wants to be in his life!"  Ha ha!  They all agreed.  Peter said he was only missing a bedroll and some saddlebags.  He was just awesome.  If we had been in Snowy River it couldn't have been any better.

Bruce and I slept in our own tent, which was heavenly, Jesse, Mary, Peter and Libby slept in the big blue tent, and Josh slept in his hammock, of course.  He thought he was in the lap of luxury, which he pretty much was!

The next morning we had Breakfast Burritos,

 Libby read Albrek's Tomb whenever she could get away with it!

 Joshua called for some "lounging" in his hammock.  I love these pictures!

And then we headed out on our "day hike". 

I put this in quotes, because the last few years, Bruce has a reputation for taking us on what seems more like a "week hike" rather than a day hike.  Ha ha  And this was no exception.  We were searching for White Pine Lake, but after a few wrong turns and wondering where in the world we were (the trails were not well marked), we started to think that it was a mythical lake that people searched for but never arrived at.  

These three hiked the hardest parts of the trail together without any complaint whatsoever!

After awhile we got everyone up on the horses.
Having these two on the same horse at one point was one long chatter-box session.
And we found a miniature "King Crack Rock", reminding us of the hike to Langer Lake.
We passed through beautiful meadows of wildflowers.  (I don't look very happy about it!)
And at last, we came to the mythical White Pine Lake!
We enjoyed our lunch of tuna sandwiches and apples,

and then played in the lake.

There were some people at the lake, so we had a chance to get a full family shot. Favorite picture!
The hike home was A LOT easier than the hike in, although we still took a wrong turn and had to re-trace some steps!
After we got back to camp, we had our favorite meal of the trip - Dutch Oven Chicken and Potatoes.  Libby built her first fire!
After dinner, Peter recruited Josh, Jesse and Mary to go on a bareback ride with him.

That night around the campfire we had a great time talking and laughing, remembering experiences and sharing the good memories and the hard/sad memories from the last year.  Joseph, most everyone's hard/sad list included you being gone.  :)  But we know you are in the right place.  However, it is no secret that you are MISSED!  We talked about you frequently.  At one point around the campfire we were talking about who turns off all the lights at night (or doesn't).  After some back and forth about this, Bruce said, "I don't know what you guys are talking about!"  Bahahahaha!  Oh my, if you know anything about Bruce, you know why this statement made us all laugh so hard.  You're right Bruce, you wouldn't know anything about that.  (Hint:  that's far too late at night).

The next morning we were able to hike out without any major incident.

We were blessed in so many ways on this Pack Trip.  We always feel a dependency on the mercy of the Savior when we get into the back country and feel pretty vulnerable, or at least I do!  But we also feel so very close to the Lord in the heart of his beautiful creations.  Being there with our family is icing on the cake.

Another year of a very fun pack trip - DONE!  Looking forward to many more!

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