Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hike to Hidden Lake

During the last full week of September, the weather in Glacier National Park was perfect for hiking. The "Going-to-the-Sun" Road was closed from the west and the only access to Logan's Pass was from the less popular East side of Glacier. There had been snow earlier in the week, but it was a great day for us. We took a 3 mile round trip hike to Hidden Lake. This is what the scenery looked like as we started our hike. If you look closely, you can see the 2 Big Horn Sheep.

Cole and Rick at one of the many waterfalls along the hike.

Rick was going ahead of the rest of us for a while and he decided to leave the path for a bit to see what was on the other side of this "hill" of rock. So, we followed him and over the hill of rock we found a big huge dip that was full of more rocks and a bunch of small glaciers--soooo cool.

We spent a long time hiking around these rocks and touching the glaciers. After we were done and we returned to the main trail, we noticed that sign that said that trail we had taken was closed for reclamation. Oooops. But we were so glad that we had taken it because it was the highlight of the entire trip. We didn't want to leave, but there were other cool things to see ahead of us.
Sierra did not want to leave. We had learned that the glaciers in Glacier National Park are disappearing. In 10-20 years (depending on the source) the glaciers will have all melted. This caused Sierra some major concern. Since she had her camera that she had gotten for her birthday with her, she toke dozens and dozens of pictures. She wanted to make sure this experience was well documented so that she could explain and describe the pictures of the glaciers to her children since they will most likely have melted by the time her children are old enough to hike in Glacier National Park.
This is what we saw when we returned to the designated trail:

Pictures from the East side of Glacier...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking the Road Less Traveled

On Wednesday we decided to take a less popular route into the park. It included a short section of dirt/gravel road. We were riding along dealing with car sick kids when we heard a rumble and sure enough, a flat tire. So, no big deal. We stopped. Rick got out the jack and the lug wrench. But, he has custom wheels on his truck which requires a custom lug thingy. It is supposed to be in the glove compartment. At least that is where it was before his last tire rotation, they must have used it and then not put it back. So, here we sit on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere without the little part to get the flat tire off. A few people stopped, but weren't much help because they didn't have the part we needed. After just a minute, Greg from the FlatHead County Road and Bridge Department stopped. We were about 30 minutes from anything, including cell phone coverage. So, he turned around and took us back to Polebridge to make a phone call. Polebridge is a very remote area that allows access into Glacier. Greg wouldn't let me take a picture of him and us in his truck because of insurance and liability. So, I had to sneak this picture of him. Rick couldn't find anyone to help us with the part we needed, so Greg got on the phone and found a tire center in Kalispell who had someone who could drive the part out to us. If it were not for Greg, we could probably still be sitting on a dirt road in Flathead County, MT.
This is the store in Polebridge. They don't have running water or electricity. But, they have a dang good bakery. And Cole DID use the outhouse in Polebridge. I think he knew we were desperate.
So, we found a tire center who could run the part that we needed out to us: a 45 minute drive, when they were done with their current jobs. So, Greg hauled us all back down the dirt road to sit at the truck and wait for our part to arrive. It was at least an hour, but we were occupied.

Cole and Rick waiting on the bridge.

Summer, Sierra and I went down by the river and built towers out of rocks. The rocks were totally cool. We were having a good time, but we didn't want to get to far away from the road since we were in "bear country".
This is the tire man, "Dion". He brought us the part that we needed to change the flat tire. Since it cost the same to deliver part as it did to just go ahead and change the flat, we let him do it. He was amazingly fast. And it only cost $325 dollars. seriously. wow.
But, it was OK, because once we got on our way and finally got into the park, we saw a mama bear and her 3 cubs. I almost missed them when I was reaching for my camera, so I ditched that idea because I knew I'd never get a good shot. Rick stopped the truck, turned it off, and rolled down the windows. The bears were quick, but we could hear them as they rumbled down into the thick pine forest. it was so cool. We decided to skip the hike that we had planned for that day since we had spent 3 hours with the tire drama and because there were obviously bear in the area.

Avalanche Lake

Cole had to use the potty when he was done hiking to Avalanche Lake, that is, until he got a whiff of the outhouse. It freaked him out a little. I can't blame him. I needed to "use the Potty" myself for the better half of that hike, too.
You can kind of see the waterfall in the back ground of these pictures. There were actually several of them and you could hear the distant sound of falling water from where we were at the lake. It was really neat. We decided not to hike all the way to the waterfalls, though.

Hiking to Avalanche Lake

Scenes from our hike.
Sierra was pretending to push the rock down the mountain.
Cole hated hiking. He kept telling Rick that his legs were tired. They struck a deal so that Cole would hike on the "downs" and Rick would put Cole on his shoulders on the "ups".

Going-to-the-Sun Road

We checked online and the Going-to-the-Sun Road was scheduled to be open through the last day of Summer, when it would close at midnight for repairs. We were so excited because that meant it would still be open on our first day at Glacier National Park. However, it was stormy the night before and it snowed on Logan Pass and a portion of the road had to be closed. So, we went as far as we could go on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and turned around and drove back the way we came (through West Glacier). Here are some pictures from that ride.

Freezing cold water, right from the glacier. It was so clear and pretty.

This road was built through Glacier National Park in the 1930's. It was designed by a landscape architect. at first I didn't see what the big deal was about the road. But as it winds its way up through the mountains and peaks, it is very impressive even though I felt at times like I was on the road to Hanna in Hawaii.

Cole at the Lodge at Lake Macdonald. We stopped to buy our tickets for the boat ride for the following day since that would be the final day of boat rides in the park. Rick asked which boat trip we wanted to be on and the only thing I could think was, "the warmest, sunniest one!"
We were freezing! Luckily for us it was the only day of cool, wet weather.
Lake Macdonald

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today
This came in the mail yesterday. Sorry if you need to reach me. I'm busy in the kitchen.
I'm also out of canning jars. again.

The recipe of the day today is: Honey Spiced Peaches. It smells so good....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Have you ever picked chokecherries?

well, I have. Summer, Sierra and I picked a bucket of chokecherries over Labor Day. Summer held the bucket. I reached up and pulled down the branches and picked the berries. Sierra's job was just to tell us stories to make us laugh so that we would drop half of the chokecherries we picked. It was a wild tree just off the side of the road in Carbon County (kind of vague-- I can't let my secrets out). People kept driving by on 4 wheelers and asking us what we were doing. Nice. It took us about 3 hours to pick half a bucket of chokecherries. OK. More like 1 hour, but it felt like 3. Chokecherries are about the size of BB's. And they are about 90% seed/pit. So, there is not a lot of fruit. at all.
So, what did I do with my chokecherries?
I washed them and picked out the yucky ones. That left about 1/2 of an ice cream bucket full of fruit. Seriously.
Then I got out my vintage juicer that I acquired this spring. It was still in the box and it had a Grand Central price tag on it. I couldn't read the price. but I remember the good old days when Arctic Circle and Grand Central were the only 2 businesses on that entire block on 1200 South in Orem.

It took about 1 hour to juice the chokecherries. I got 3 cups of juice. Barely.

Then I took the juice and added about 25 lbs. of sugar and some pectin and stirred and stirred and stirred. I also added a little bit of apple/raspberry juice.

In the beginning I thought I might give these to neighbors for Christmas, or bake a loaf of bread and give it to my friends and neighbors for their birthdays. But, after having put so much sweat and blood into these 7 little jars of sugary goodness I feel a little bit like the Little Red Hen. I don't want to share with anyone. I picked every single one of those tiny chokecherries with my own hands. I am going to enjoy every single spoonful of chokecherry jelly all by myself. OK. Not really. I will share. But, I'm still upset that they didn't have a canning competition at the stake Harvest Fair last week. Because I am certain my chokecherry jelly would have one first place.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

spending time in the kitchen

Cole loves to cook. I have to do most of my cooking/baking while he is asleep or I must be prepared to let him "help". Last night while I was making dinner, Cole helped me make a salad. He is not allowed to use sharp knives--only soft knives (aka butter knives). I had to sacrifice a couple of small tomatoes. They were so smashed they didn't make it to the salad. I peeled a cucumber and let him slice it with his "soft knife" for the salad. Needless to say, we had some chunky cucumbers in our salad. Oh well. When we wasn't looking I threw away his tomotoes and dumped in a bunch of cherry tomatoes to the salad. He did also try to chop the lettuce with his soft knife, but he gave up after a few minutes. He also got a small cut on his finger and the tomato juice was burning. it was OK, once I found a barbie band-aid.

Anyway, we have been doing a lot of canning and baking lately. Summer is getting to be quite a pro at the zucchini bread. If I haven't tried to give you a loaf and you live within walking distance, let me know and I'll send one of the kids to your house next time we bake!! I have been trying to make some for our new neighbors and they are NEVER home.

Last week I made about 5 gallons of fresh salsa and 22 pints of bottled salsa. I used 2 different recipes so we'll see which one turns out the best.
Then I inherited five 5 gallon buckets of peaches. We've had peaches on everything lately. Cole thinks that all meals now are to include a peach smoothie. Yesterday I canned 10 quarts of peach pie filling. I figure that when we are in swine flu quarantine this winter, I'm going to eating a lot of peach pie and peach cobbler. I'm pretty tired of peaches. I might bottle as much as I can for how many quart bottles I have and then the rest I will just freeze so Cole can have peach smoothies all winter.
Next up is jalapeno jelly.
And the girls are telling me that there are tons of ripe tomatoes. I wish I could save them just like they are on the vines until some time in about February.
Oh. I have one other canning story, but the pictures are on my camera so I will wait and post about it later.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Sierra

Sierra was such a good baby and things haven't changed much! It is so easy to have Sierra around. I don't think I have EVER heard Sierra say, "I'm bored". She can entertain herself with the simplest objects, like a rock or a raisin.

Sierra is the best little swimmer. She is like a fish. This photo above was taken in Hawaii.
Sierra's first day of braces. She is smiling so big here because she just got her braces on and they didn't hurt yet!
Sierra is always so happy, she is creative and she gives the best foot rubs in the whole world.

Sierra is very tender hearted. She loves to snuggle. She tells great stories, especially ones about her own dreams. She is very artistically talented and she is just learning how to play the violin.
We are so happy to have Sierra in our family and we are excited to wish her a Very Happy 9th Birthday!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9 Mile Canyon

Over Labor Day Weekend we took a little day trip to 9 Mile Canyon.
Just a little's not 9 miles. It's more like 70 miles. The supposed reason that it is named 9 mile Canyon is that when John Wesley Powell explored the area in 1869, his cartographer used map making tools that were in 9 mile increments and it was nicknamed 9 Mile Canyon and it stuck. It is located between Price/Wellington and Duschesne. We didn't go all of the way up to Duchesne, we turned around and came back through Price. Most of 9 Mile Canyon is a dirt road. There are lots of really cool rock formations and such, but the big draw to 9 Mile Canyon is the huge assortment of petroglyphs.

This is balance Rock. I can't figure that one out, j/k.
We thought we missed it and then we went around a corner and it was pretty apparent.
This is a pretty typical petroglyph. You can see hundreds of them through the canyon just from the car. Many of them are right off the road, so you can stop and walk right up to them. We wondered how many more were out there if one were to hike very far. We just let our imaginations wander on that one since there were miles and miles of trails to explore.

It was pretty cool to hike up to the actual rocks and try to figure out what each of the pictures meant. It was pretty tempting to touch them but there is a sign at the beginning of the canyon asking you not to touch the rocks.
This is called "the Big Hunt". This is just a portion of the rock. It is near the Fremont Indian Village (which we had a hard time locating since we decided to just "view" it from the car.)
This particular petroglyph is one of them most photographed petroglyph in the state of Utah and has been published in magazines and travel brochures.

We loved this little adventures. The flyer that we had said to be sure and have a full tank of gas, plenty of water, lots of sunscreen, and a spare tire. I would recommend these as well. It was very hot and sunny and with a dirt road, the spare tire is necessary, too. We stopped to help a lady and her 2 kids who had a severe blowout and were ready to spend the night in 9 Mile Canyon.

Even though it was Labor Day Weekend there weren't a lot of people. But we saw a lot of interesting things. I believe that if Utah were lacking in National Parks/State Parks, they could put a big entrance gate at either end of the canyon, invest a little more in sight markers and park maps, charge park fees, and then use some strategic marketing and they could draw a lot of visitors. I still can't believe that there was so much ancient history in that canyon that was so accessible by foot. It was a great history experience for our family. We loved it and would recommend it for a family activity. It is easy to see sights from the road and for the more adventurous type, I'm sure you could hike for hours. 2 thumbs up.
(all photos except the one that she is in, were taken by Summer)