Monday, December 29, 2008

Back in Town

Realizing it has been far to long since our last post, we figure it is time to tell of the goings on with the two of us.

As most may be aware at this point, our time living down in Zion National Park has come to an end. Bitter sweet is how we feel describes the feeling best, we loved it down there so much yet were excited to spend the holidays with family. We will miss the laid back lifestyle we had there, not having to worry about much except enjoying each day the way it was meant to be enjoyed. We made a lot of great friends down there and are sad that we had to leave them so soon. I was offered a permanent job down there as the Recreation Manager, but unfortunatley had to turn it down. Carynn needs to finish school and we didn't find it necessary to live 5.5 hours apart from each other. Who knows, maybe we will end up back down there in the future sometime.

We have been back in Bountiful now since the beginning of December and are almost feeling like we are settled in. We are living at Scotts moms house until we figure out certain job situations. Once we came home, Scott wasn't sure of his job situation at the Grand America Hotel since things had slowed down dramatically. Luckily after not working for two weeks he is back on the schedule and getting normal hours once again. Scott graduated in Parks Recreation and Tourism emphasizing in Resort Management, and what a relief that feels like not having to worry about the next assignment due. Not wasting any time to fill the void school once had, Scott auditioned and successfully made a role in the Phantom playing at Hale Center Theater. He will be playing the part of Joseph Bouqet. Not a huge part but he remains excited none the less.

Carynn is enjoying being back working at the Roof Restaurant in Salt Lake as a Hostess as well as learning to be an Assistant Server. She has quit her job at Geckos which has been a relief to her. Carynn is preparing to get back in to the swing of things with school at the University of Utah and is excited for that. Both of us will be applying for a job in march to fulfill an international experience for Carynn. If we are able to get the job we will be heading off in May to some tropical island, hopefully St Martin in the french carribean.

We both enjoyed this past christmas spending time with family and enjoying the snow. Though it has been a little weird getting used to traffic and street lights again, it is a nice feeling to be home. It will be even nicer when we are able to call a place of our own, 'home.' Maybe next year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A year of rights re-gained!

*As most of you know who read this blog, our marriage was created on conflict and rivalry. As each of us entered into the agreement of marriage we fully understood the possible stress each of us may undertake throughout our lives. That's right, we each married into the rivalry of the Utah Utes and the Brigham Young Cougars.

I don't need to bring up the intensity this rivalry can have on fans or friends, even family; however, it can be tough for any Ute to walk on the same soil that a Cougar has recently been seen on, and vica versa. Each year as you all know the Utes and the Cougars face off together in what has been claimed as "the Holy War" and each year one side receives certain privileges after receiving the most sought after win.

The past two years as too many of us understand, has been a horrible and long two years. BYU winning with two lucky plays/catches to clinch the yearly rights. I am certainly proud to say:

The Utes have those rights this year baby!!

Now as painful as the last two years were, some may be able to (rightfully in my opinion) claim that the last two wins were two VERY lucky plays made by BYU. This year however, they have left nothing to chance with a very lopsided score of Utah:48 BYU:24, leaving nothing to doubt that the better team received the win, not to mention a glorious undefeated season!

What a Great Game!!


*These thoughts and ideas may not be shared by all who participate on this blog :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Fun

Carynn and I ventured out to our neighboring National Park, Bryce Canyon. Having never been to it before we only had pictured ideas in our heads as well as other peoples input on what it was like. The general statement was "it is very different from Zion" and today we can attest to that same statement. We enjoyed our time there and enjoyed the scenery that was provided. However, we felt that once you saw one group of "hoodoos" you could pretty much say you have seen them all. One thing I will say, because of the varieties and different shapes that are constantly changing in Bryce Canyon, it would be a great place for any type of photographer.

We did three hikes in the park: The Queens Garden, The Navajo Loop, and Wall Street. Each hike connected into the next and we were able to walk right down into the hoodoos and see them very up close. It was a fun hike and provided an enjoyable view around each corner but I think we both agree that we both enjoy Zion more.

One of the original plans was to bike through some of the park but upon arriving we found out that in order to do that we have to stay on the main road - Boring. Instead, we got some advice from one of the rangers who instructed us to head over to Red Canyon. We did a great ride called Thunder Mountain Trail. It gave me a very distinct feeling that I was on Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. It had some really fun ups and downs and really twisty roads. It became pretty difficult towards the end when we were descending 1000 feet within about one and a half miles. In other words, it was really steep. Carynn walked most of those hills while I attempted them and eventually walked occaisionally.

There was some great scenery up on some of the ridges we rode across and the trail definatley offered a challenge. I think I may have enoyed it a little more than Carynn since this was her first experience ever trail riding, but she did a great job and finished up. It was a twenty mile round trip ride that helped us be a little sore the morning after but it is always worth it!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Narrows

Carynn and I had the opportunity to have two days off in a row this last week; we decided to take full advantage of that.

Not long ago we decided that we wanted to hike the Narrows. After some planning, packing, and scrambling last minute, we were off to our two day adventure. Several people may be familiar with the Narrows hike in Zion. Most people that know of it however, have probablly not even seen half of it.

The full hike of the Narrows is a 16-mile hike that is one way. It starts at a place called Chamberlains Ranch that is 13-miles up the road from where we live which made accessing it very convenient. You hike along in through the virgin river the entire time. The water temperature when we hiked was about 52 degrees. If you are in the sun the entire time and only crossing the river occaisionally, the water would have been quite tolerable. When you are in the water for 75% of the time and see the sunlight for 15 minutes total throughout your day however, you need something a little more. We rented some dry pants, neoprine socks and some specially designed water hiking shoes.

Our hike started out as I mentioned at Chamberlains Ranch. We crossed beautiful meadows, thick forests and leaves that were so incredibly vibrant it would blow your mind! Taking short breaks here and there to take pictures and adjust our packs, we were able to really soak in the beauty of the area before the canyon.

Right before entering into Zion and exiting Chamberlains ranch, Carynn needed to staop to make a couple of adjustments to her pack. As we were adjusting it, we heard a gun shot way off in the woods (it was during hunting season) and no soon we heard a extremly loud crack no more than fifteen feet away from us. The bullet had escaped the woods and hit a large rock right by us. Had Carynn not stopped to adjust her pack, we would have been right in the line of fire. Thank goodness we said a prayer before left, someone had to have been watching out for us! That was our only heart racing part of our trip.

We stopped for lunch and dressed ourselves in our dry pant outfits. Not the easiest things to put on since it is a lot of rubber gaskets that squeeze your ankles but the proved to be very effective. We trudged on, walking stick in hand mile after mile. Time kept ticking and the light started to fade. Looking at our map we realized we were about two miles from our campsite, and if we kept with the pace we were going we were going to be setting up our camp in some pretty dark blackness of night. We decided to step it up and just bust through the next two miles. We covered that ground in fourty minutes, pretty good good for carrying 30 - 50 pound packs through rocky rivers with fast flowing water.

We arrived at campsite nine after covering 10 miles in 7 hours and 43 minutes. It was a welcome treat to get out of the dry pants and into some warm wool socks and eat some warm chili and soup. The night was a lot warmer than we were anticipating which made sleeping very easy; the morning however was a little more chilly than we would have liked.

We held off putting our wet dry-pants back on as long as we could as we packed up our camp. Once we got them on and got back in the cold river though, we warmed right up. We hiked for another 2 miles to the point where people that want to do just a day hike can go. This is where we saw the first person we had seen on the hike. We had been the only two that day to hike all the way through the Narrows and everyone wanted to talk to us asking us how it was and if it is any different on the upper portion. We felt like our own little hiking celebrities. We saw a lot of neat waterfalls, of course the cool narrow part of the Narrows amongst other things. Unfortunatley, the walls are so high that it doesn't let a lot of light in making it very difficult for our pictures to turn out. We didn't take many of the canyon because it just turned out to look like a rock wall. My advice, get a permit, pack your bag and take the adventure of doing all 16-miles of the Narrows.

By the time we got out of the canyon after hiking about 6-miles in 5 hours and 5 minutes, we accomplished all 16-miles in 12 hours and 49 minutes. That is of course excluding the overnight part and is just reffering to hiking specifically. All in all, a LOT of fun.

Our hike started at the top right of the map where the upper red line begins. Follow it all the way to the end of the red line and that is what we did. Ignore the second red line, that is a different canyon that connects to the Narrows.

Family time

This last weekend, October 16th through the 19th, we had most of Carynns family come up and visit us. We were excited to see everyone and get a chance to host them and show them around what we call home. After everyone had arrived very late, or early depending on how you look at 2:30 in the morning, they had a nice liesurly morning. I had to work all day but Carynn got to go down into the park with her family and granparents and do a little hiking, go to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants here and do a little shopping with everyone.

Thursday night I had arranged a big paintball game between our family and my friend Bryce and his brothers who were also up here visiting. We triumphed the first game which was great considering the majority of our team had never played before. The second game was not so lucky, it was what some call being "skunked" "wiped out" "annialated." Our whole team was demolished by Bryces team and I don't think we got one of their players out. The third game was a little more balanced but we still lost. I think everyone on both sides really had a great time.

Saturday was kind of the big day. We started off early in the morning on an ATV ride with our orange vests and all due to hunting season. We had rock wall climbing challenges, ping pong competitions and skeet shooting. We all headed back down into the park after all that and hiked Angels Landing. Carynn really wanted to take everyone on that, and I think it provided a challenge and surprise for all of them.

Sunday morning we went on one more ATV ride to some different trails. Afterword, we all said our goodbyes and I went back to work. It was a lot of fun having them all up here being able to do everything. For those of you who haven't come up, well time is running out!

1. When city kids get thrown into the country they want to get their hands on anything they can.

2. The paintball crew

3. The fam at the top of Angels Landing

Catching up

So some time has gone by and we haven't been able to share our little adventures because of how busy the resort has been the last couple of weeks. We just wanted to post a couple of pictures of some of the hikes we have done.

Emerald Pools:

This is one of the more popular hikes in Zion, and for good reason. It is something that any hiker, regardless of skill, can do. We hiked to all three pools, however they were more like little ponds or just water flowing over rocks since the water was so low. The pictures of the waterfalls didn't exactly turn out and only the upper pool was something worth taking a picture of. Instead, we decided to screw around a little and take fun pictures of us. I don't remember why but I was hiking in flip flops. This soon turned out to be hiking in my bare feet and made it very interesting climbing on rocks, especially when I would set the camera timer and have to run back to Carynn to make it in time.

It was a fun hike that was short but enjoyable. Once we got back to the Zion Lodge, right at the end of the hike, we saw the entire grassy field in front of the lodge covered with deer. They were very comfortable with all the people around taking pictures which made it nice to watch. One Doe and its Fawn snuck right up behind us about three feet away. That was a pretty neat little experience.

This is actually a hike that is kind of off the radar as far as public hikes go. Though it is easily accessible from the canyon road, not many people know about it. It is a pretty easy hike down in to a river bed then under the road. The reason it is so elusive is because of the petroglyphs you hike to. There is also one small red triangle that is painted on, known as a pictograph. So to clarify, petroglyph means etched or carved into stone and pictograph means painted on. We decided to hike up the canyon a little and take some other pictures and look around. It was an enjoyable hike to just get out for about an hour. It was neat to see these carvings and just wonder what they mean and what caused the Indians (Freemont I believe) to pack up and move out

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water." Carl Reiner

For the last couple days, the weather forecast has been for a wet weekend up here at Zion Ponderosa. As we entered into Friday, nothing but blue sky and a slight chill in the autumn air. As I relaxed in our trailer while Carynn was hard at work at the front desk dealing with drunk women and freezing campers, I noticed a slight breeze coming from our vents. This struck me as odd since I had the thermostat cranked to eighty degrees and yet, was wearing my coat. Turns out our propane tank had gone dry and I didn't know how to turn our reserve on. I spent a good majority of my evening outside trying to figure it out with no luck. I gave in and gave our maintenance man a call. Turns out it is pretty easy to turn on the reserve but that is beside the point. We got our heat back around eleven at night, just in time for Carynn to get home. We were lucky since we woke up to a frigid air outside that once you breath it in it seems to wake up every ounce of sleepiness in your body. I spent most of my morning working outside in the cold to the point where I couldn't feel my fingers... and then it started. The air became cold enough, the clouds became dark enough, and sooner than I would have liked, I became wet enough. I am not talking of rain however; snow started to fall lightly at first, then before we knew it we were involved in what seemed a white out. Add wind to the situation and it made for a tough day to be outside. Turns out fall came and went pretty quick and winter wasted no time at all.

Pictures of the first snow fall. Of course it didn't all stick but it was a pretty white day here at the resort.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

365 days and counting...

This last weekend we surpassed the one year mark in our marriage! We decided to take advantage of the opportunity and spend it in glamour. We ran off out of the resort on sunday the fifth (our actual anniversary) and headed down to Las Vegas! Some may find that a little odd beings that it was conference weekend but it turned out very enjoyable. We were able to listen to the first session of conference on our way down by radio. By the time we arrived at our hotel we were able to catch the second session, however I think Carynn enjoyed most of it as I passed out on the bed being exhausted from working earlier that morning and driving.
We stayed at the Stratosphere hotel in a "Garden Spa" room. Sometimes I wonder where hotels come up with their names. Not only was there not a garden in the room, let alone a single plant, the "spa" portion of the room consisted of a jetted tub. We went there knowing the room was going to be pretty basic though, and don't get me wrong, the jetted tub was superbley AWESOME! It was like a mini hot tub with the jets and all. That was the main pull for us in getting that room. Not to mention that it only cost around $53.00 a night so you can't argue with that.
We headed out onto the Las Vegas Strip that night and quickly realized that we should have taken the car. Between our hotel and the Wynn (the next major hotel on the strip worth seeing) was empty lots making way for new large hotels. Carynn was having a lot of pain in her shoulder and neck that made her walk even longer. On the plus side for her, she got a lot of shoulder rubs whenever we had stopped to look at something.
After walking for an hour and finally making it to the Wynn, we were starving! Our original plans were to eat at our hotel but an hour walk back didn't sound appealing. We started our search for a concierge and found everything but. We found a woman (a dealer) that didn't speak english and still tried to understand and give directions. The other find that is worthy of note was the lady that basically told us that we weren't dressed nice enough to eat at the Wynn (Shoulder Shrugs). She did direct us to a great sushi restaurant called RA and that is where we spent our anniversary dinner.
After over stuffing ourselves with raw fish we were moving on. We stopped at Circus Circus on our way back and watched some acts then headed back to the hotel.
Our next day was very exciting, I learned how to play craps while carynn got ready. I won some money then broke even. We had some shows planned for that evening so to fill the time until then we went to the top of the stratosphere, the tallest point west of the mississippi. We took some pictures and had some laughs and some hot dogs for lunch.
We drove down to the other end of the strip and filled the rest of our time by walking through the super expensive and posh clothing and retail stores. We had fun leading the sales associates on by showing a lot of interest in the most expensive clothing. I had to stop myself from letting the clerk undress a manikin so I could try on a cashmere jacket. We also had a guy trying to sell us a phone that cost upwards around $7,000.00, and that was the CHEAP one!!
The time came for us to start our evening of entertainment, the way it was supposed to be. We ate dinner with Kings and our fellow Russians at the "Tournament of Kings." For those of you who have not done that, you recieve an entire cornish game hen, a role, some vegetables and no silverware. We ate and watched some great jousting amongst other competitions on horseback as well as some great sword fighting. Carynn even got to experience dirt being kicked into her face and food when the horse rode right by us. We had great seats on the front row.
Once we were well fed, we ended our night with passion, romance, deciet and horror... the theatrical way. We bought tickets to "The Phantom of the Opera" and it was INCREDIBLE. For anyone that loves that story, this is a must see. There is no intermission and all of the song dialogue that can get a little repetitious has been removed. Our seats were upgraded for free upon arrival which gave us a direct center view of the stage from the balcony. The theater itself was un-real! It was constructed specifically for this show and designed to replicate the actual paris opera house where the story takes place. The special effects were absolutley fabulous and is a definite must see in Vegas! I won't ruin any surprises the show has, but the chandelier is like none other created for the Phantom!
Our final day was spent with my sister Katie and her husband Tyler. We went over to there house and played with Maycee until Tyler got home from some police training. Tyler let me check out his police gear which was pretty cool, then we headed off to get some pizza for dinner.
We had a lot of fun spending time together and with Katie and Tyler. We spent the night at their house and headed back to the resort early the next morning. Top of the World, West of the Mississippi, overlooking the Las Vegas Strip
The cool round escalator that I just had to get a picture of!Our hands agains Shaquille O' Neils Hands...Freaky!

Us at our "Tournament of Kings" dinnerAmazing Show!Playing with our cute little niece Maycee!
This is a ride at the top of the Stratosphere. The Japanese man that you hear was providing a lot of entertainment for enveryone watching.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'll take the Subway thanks!

This lasts weeks adventure found us in a very exciting situations that are tough to put into words, although one will do there best. We both had the day off with our two friends Bryce and Heidi, the other couple up here doing an internship. We decided to bypass the regular hikes offered in Zion NP and go for something a little more adventurous and challenging! We took on "The Subway!"

Our day started very early at 5:30 in the a.m. being packed, loaded and on the road by 6:00. We wanted to leave early to ensure the possibility of getting our permit into the backcountry. It was quite the beautiful drive down the canyon, everything lit up by the full moon offered an amazing sight to behold.

Once we arrived to the backcountry office, we were glad to find that only one other person was waiting in line. Our original plan was to be at the office at 5:30 which would have resulted in a much more tiresome day.

The hike begins: After driving some distance to a northern part of the park near the Kolob Canyon area, we finally arrived at the trailhead and got trekking around 9:00. A rather comfortable stroll on an easily identified trail... that was all about to end. The hike works you into it slowly and tests your ability to continue. After the first mile you enter into the "hopefully you can find your way" zone. As we hiked over incredible rock that the weather as shaped into a form that resembles ripples on an ocean giong one way then changing instantly to another direction, we were challenged to find our way on an unmarked path looking for stacks of rocks that act as the trail guidelines. Luckily Bryce had been before and roughly new which way we were to go. Five french hikers were not so lucky. We saw them in front of us and then we saw them coming back towards us in a lost effort. They asked where the trail goes but did not take the advice. We saw them go down a canyon that did not lead to the subway at all... that was the last we saw of them.

We came to a point of climbing down the canyon after steep climbs up. After four hours of hiking through the tough terrain, and taking some amazing pictures and enjoying the views, we were almost halfway.

The ground started to become moist as pools of water made it apparent that a river once flowed where we were as we continued on and the challenges became more difficult. Having to climb down steep rocks using only a rope to hold on to for about 30 to 40 feet provided great pictures, sore hands, and experiences to last forever.

The Water: The point came where there was no way out but through, and through meant getting very wet and very cold. We started with ankles, letting our bodies absorb the chill that was about to take over each of us. Up to the waist was next with the biting frigid water soaking into our clothing and knawing at our skin. The last and most chilling part was the leap of faith into water with an unknown depth. Screams of the body freezing were heard as each of us jump into the water under a waterfall having to swim 50 to 70 feet with our packs on. Once out, we were closely followed by two men in wetsuits who seemed to tolerate the water much better. But who needs wetsuits.

We thought we were good once we were out of the water but soon realized that there was no sun in this slot canyon for about the next 1/2 mile. Thank goodness for quickdrying clothing, once we found the sunlight we soaked it in as if we hadn't seen it for days, being that cold it felt like days. We came around a large bend in the canyon and came upon a beautiful waterfall that soon would be the cause of slowing us down. In order to continue on the hike, one must cross the waterfall on a very narrow ledge, and cross we did. Bryce was not so lucky as he jumped on to the rock slipping in the loose sand and slid about 5 feet crushing his foot into a crack of the rock and rolling his ankle. After seeing that, we were very cautios while crossing. After a bit of first aid and making sure nothing we was broken, we were off again... just at a slower pace. We came to the opening of "The Subway" and enjoyed its granduer... all 200 feet of it or so. We were now about five hours into what ended up as a nine hour hike.

The River: We found ourselves wading through the river that was larger and warmer. Getting wet at this point was well accepted and comfortable. We followed the river down stream for what seemed to be an eternity. We found ways to keep ourselves entertained by sliding down natural rock waterslides and seeing wildlife. After 3 1/2 hour hike through the river, we found the glorious sign of a boot print indicating the trail out. This energy was soon thwarted by the hike straight up the mountain with dizzying heights and steep cliffs that made it seem it could be the older brother of Angels Landing. A half hour climb led us to the top of the canyon enabling us to turn around and see what we had just accomplished in nine hours. The conversation on the way to the car was a resounding cheer of how incredible of an experience "The Subway" was.

Our First Jump In

Rock Slides... With a bump at the end (apparently Bryce feels the pain as well)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Summer Lovin'. Having a BLAST!

We have had quite the adventurous summer this year! We were able to take some courses through the U of U the ensured a summer of camping and hiking. The first class we took togehter was Canyoneering. We went down to some slot canyons near Lake Powell where we rapelled, hiked, and Scott even carried Carynn through 3 feet of stagnant water on his shoulders.

The second class we took was a backpacking and fly fishing class. We hiked about 2 miles up the Uintas to a small river. It was Carynn's first time backpacking and Scott's first time fly fishing. You can tell from the picture above he was an immediate pro!

To add to our fun summer, we also spent a week in Durango, CO. with Carynn's family. We went horseback riding, hiking, river rafting, and of course, we went to the Bar-D Chuckwagon!! We had a family foose-ball tournament and Scott came in 2nd place.

Scott's Family recently came down to visit us here at ZPR. We had fun playing host and hostess and planning all the activities. One of the highlights of their visit was going into the park and hiking Angel's Landing. It was Carynn's first time on the hike and it was a truely unforgettable experience (especially thanks to Katie and Tyler for making it so)!

It has been a wonderful summer so far and we plan on it continuing that way. Our goal before we move home is to hike every trial in Zion's.

So stay posted for more stories of our adventures!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

There's a first time for everything

Sometimes life throws you an unexpected curve ball. Sometimes all you can hit are the curve balls. Sometimes someone will say something to you so unexpected it makes your eyes pop and your jaw drop so fast your gum falls out of your mouth.

A couple of weeks ago Scott and I were taking a casual drive to some destination I don't remember when he turned to me and said, out of the blue, " Ya know, I think we should start a blog." That's when my eyes popped, my jaw dropped, and the ball hit the sweet spot on the bat.

Home run.

I guess I've been wanting to start a blog since we got married, but never had the time and never really thought I had the encouragment from my other half. I'm not sure what caused him to make such a definite desicion on such short notice, but I couldn't disagree!

So here we are. Our first blog!

As many of you know, about a week ago we moved down here to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Mt. Carmel, Utah! It's been a busy week of unpacking, working, hiking, swimming, 4-wheeling, and rosting mallows. But I guess that's what you get when you are living in a resort with one of natures most incredible playgrounds as your backyard.

I am currently working in both housekeeping and the front desk. I switch every other week and actually really enjoy it! Just when I get sick of putting on a happy face all day, I move to housekeeping. And I'm sure once I start thinking I can't possible make one more bed or scrub another toilet- time to put on a happy face!

Scott is kinda doing the all-around busy work- getting his hands dirty in every possible area of the resort. Today he made 8 pizzas while helping the kitchen get ready for lunch. Last week he did a lot of housekeeping and a little bit of recreation. He comes home so tired some times because he had spent the whole day on ATV tours or running through the paintball course or at the pool on guard duty. Tough life! But he and the other intern are really having fun together. The manager even has them working on some projects to help improve the resort in certain areas.

Besides all that we love it down here and hope you all get a chance to come visit us! Our "home" isn't quite big enough to sleep everyone, but you're welcome to bring sleeping bags! We are living in a trailor that is probably bigger than our first apartment. It's.......cozy!

I think that's a pretty good first blog!

Pictures will come when we figure that stuff out.