Monthly Archives: July 2010

Outer Banks

A couple of weeks ago, we met up with Joel’s family at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was Matt & Erin’s 10th anniversary, and they wanted their families to hit the beach together. Besides the shock of humidity, we had a great time. Here are some pictures from the trip.

Early celebration of Evie’s 2nd birthday:

Joel and I set up some indoor portraits of the families because it was raining outside.

Due to the rain, we headed to the Hatteras Lighthouse and down to Ocracoke Island:

We rented a tandem bike for the week, and it was super fun! We’d ridden one once before, and this time it was great for getting to the beach (we were across the highway on the sound side of the island).

Evie and I on the porch after dinner one night:

The lovely house we stayed in:

Dark picture of us on the sound near the house:

We went sea kayaking our last day, but we didn’t get any pictures since we were in kayaks. Also, our little camera wasn’t working (surprise), so we didn’t get any beach pictures. Oh well. :)

Sunday’s Pickings

Here’s what we got from our garden on Sunday:

Two jalapenos, a carrot, two onions, an anaheim pepper, and 2 cucumbers (smaller this time!). The onions were pretty small, but I am still happy with them because I started them from seed (and they are way bigger than last year!). The carrot looked great, but Joel took it in his lunch the next day and said it had turned rubbery…any ideas?

Last week, I harvested the first eggplant, and I am excited for more! The variety is Korean eggplant, and they are much smaller than the ones at the grocery. That’s great for a family of 2, because those others are so huge.

Finally, a week or so ago, we cut a broccoli crown. It was so small for how huge the plant is. Due to space, small output, and the trouble we’ve had with cabbage worm, this is our first and last broccoli crop.

Mt. Bancroft Success

Lauren and I took off Friday afternoon to avenge Mt. Bancroft. Read Lauren’s account of our failed attempt from a couple weeks ago.

As discovered by our previous trip, the 4×4 trail is pretty rough. This time we planned to park at the first gate, and backpack in. We went a little further past the first gate, looking for parking, and things got a bit hairy. I was about to turn around, and some guy drove up next to me and said, “Your rig will be fine”. Lessons learned:

  1. Honda CRVs (“My Rig”) are not off-road machines.
  2. Don’t trust creepy guys that use the word Rig to describe your vehicle (his wife was following behind his truck on a 4-wheeler).

Thanks second guy who didn’t really want to help us, but saved our vehicle from rolling off a drop-off while we were turning around (note back wheel that is off the ground)!

Finally we made it back to a safe place to park, and backpacked in.

We found a lovely camping spot, despite the bounty of rednecks around. The jeep trail to Mt. Bancroft comes directly out of a scene from my past (I’m from West Virginia, Alabama, & Tennessee). The loud music, gun shots, camo ATVs, drinking, dirt bikes, and yelling made us feel right at home. We assume the area’s popularity stems from the fishing lakes, free camping, accessibility to large redneck vehicles, and proximity to Denver.

The next morning we woke at 5:30 to start our climb. After some hot tea and a bite to eat, we were off. There were low-lying clouds all around, making it feel really foggy. By the time we climbed to 11,000 feet, the sun was shining on us, and everything beneath us was engulfed in a sea of clouds. It was breathtaking and a good reminder of how incredible our Creator is.

By 8:00 we had reached our route, the East Ridge of Mt. Bancroft. The ridge offered several hours of really fun class 3 & 4 climbing, one 80-foot rappel, and lots of great views of the Front Range, including Mt. Evans, Gray & Torreys, etc. By 10:30, in complete solitude, we stood on 13,200 ft. summit of Mt. Bancroft.

Bancroft Fail

A couple of weekends ago, we headed out for Mt Bancroft. We went as far as our CRV would take us on the 4-wheel drive trail before we gave up and started hiking. It’s a beautiful area with 4 lakes near the base of the mountain. As mountains would have it, storm clouds started rolling in just as we were approaching the ridge. We waited 30 minutes to see if they’d pass, but in the end, we opted to return home safely. We are just about to leave home for attempt #2, but we’re backpacking in the night before this time. Here are a few pictures…we may not get anymore this time, depending on how our camera decides to behave.

Approaching the mountain:

Waiting on the clouds:

This was the view opposite the mountain. It reminded me of the Smokies!

Cukes are in

I’ve never been a fan of cucumbers, but they are on my list of things I decided to learn to like. It may not be possible to learn to like everything you dislike, but I can always try. Since cukes were on my list, we decided to plant one this year. The variety is called “White Wonder,” and the first ones are in! They taste pretty good as far as I can tell. The one on the left was sizeable when we went out of town last week, but I waited to pick it until yesterday. It seems a bit seedy inside, but I’ll have to see what the other one is like. It was also pretty smooth, but  I got a “splinter” from the spiny surface of the one on the right.

Camping is fun

Oh yes it is. For part of the 4th of July weekend, we went camping with our friends Kyle and Stephanie in the Independence Pass area outside of Aspen. It is SO pretty. I guess we understand why it is insanely expensive to live there. We camped at the Weller campground, and our tent was nestled among a huge grove of aspen trees.

Joel and I headed out after work on Thursday, so we had some time to kill before Kyle and Stephanie arrived on Friday. Joel wanted to drive up to the trailhead of Capitol Peak. He and his friend Jason were forced off of it due to weather several years ago, and Joel is determined to avenge his loss. He has decided that we will return here in August, backpack in some amount of miles that is farther than I would like to go, camp, and then summit the mountain. We shall see. Anyway, it is really beautiful at the trailhead. Capitol Peak is on the left:

Here’s a picture of more beautiful aspens on the drive to the trailhead:

Our friends arrived later that day, and we drove to the Maroon Bells area. They said it’s the most photographed spot in Colorado. I think I can see why. We also hiked up to Crater Lake for a closer view of the mountains.

Here’s a picture of what is, if you’re looking at the picture above, to the right of the Maroon Bells.

Beginning with our trip up Torrey’s Peak, we have had camera drama. This is with our 2003-model point-and-shoot, and we think it’s finally biting the dust. We’ve missed several memorable occasions now, so I think it’s about time for a new one. This camera apparently hates altitude in its old age. Luckily on this trip, Kyle and Stephanie had their camera to capture the sights. Here’s a pic Steph snapped of us making dinner.

Joel’s and Kyle’s faces were too funny to not post this one:

We had a much-needed face-washing session on Saturday morning…we had some nasty hair, but Joel had a particularly beautiful style.

Our final activity was a strenuous hike to Cathedral Lake. It was beautiful, but I was huffing and puffing big time (of course)!

Mom & Dad’s Visit

A few weekends ago, my parents came to visit! We had a lovely time. We went to Boulder on Friday, hiking a bit at Chautauqua and taking the tour at Celestial Seasonings tea factory. The next day when Joel was off work, we rode our bikes down the Platte River trail. We LOVE the Platte River trail. It’s easy to get on from our house, and the section near us is very peaceful, running right alongside the river. Here’s a picture of us at the Confluence Park area in front of REI. (thank you Lewis and Vanessa for lending us bikes!)

That night, we took Dad (and Mom) to a Rockies game since it was Father’s Day weekend.

On Sunday, we headed to church, and then we drove up Mt Evans in the afternoon. Unfortunately the weather was not so great, so it was MUCH colder than we expected up there (quite different from a Tennessee summer!). We braved the cold just the same and enjoyed our time. It did keep us from hiking as we had planned, but that’s ok. I think we had at least a decent break for them from the heat wave and humidity Nashville was experiencing.

On Monday, we got up early and drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove up Trail Ridge Road to visit Jamin at the gift shop where he’s working. We then went down to the Wild Basin area and took a nice hike up to Ouzel Falls, passing other falls along the way.

Overall, we had a really nice long weekend. We wish they could come more often!