Love this place and these people

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh Zion! Dear Zion!

First, I know I have missed the last two months but busy season came in with a vengeance and it has yet to pass.  I am not working nearly as much as I did last year at this time, but it's still crazier than I would like.  The good news is that I haven't worked even one single Sunday and only a few Saturdays.  This means I've been able to  go on some fun weekend trips.  One of these trips is the reason for the title of this blog post.

I have been fortunate to make several weekend trips to Zion National Park in the last 5 months.  Each time I am reminded of my love for the beautiful red rock canyons.  There is something about it that energizes me and lifts my spirits like few things can.  I find myself dancing and singing, jumping from rock to rock with endless amounts of energy.  Okay, that isn't exactly what I have done, but it definitely makes me happy.

For the first trip I actually took a group of my students from BYU down to stay at my parent's house and go hike Angel's Landing.  We had a great time especially doing Just Dance and Karaoke with my parents.  Those are always good times.  No matter how many times I hike Angel's Landing, it never gets old.  The view from the top is always amazing.  And yes, I'm wearing a hot pink fanny pack.  Why not?

Yes some of them are wearing Deloitte gear.  

The second trip of the summer was courtesy of my good friend Brent Evans.  He is an experienced canyoneer-er.  Two of my roommates, Shannon and Sarah came along and we met up with a group of folks from San Francisco.  One of these was my 9th cousin once removed, Dave Haynie.  Always good to have family along.  This was an all day, in and out of water hike with repels and scrambling over rocks.  I loved every minute of it.  We were in wet suits because the water was still so cold.  I was so grateful for those little booties that kept my toes nice and warm the whole way down the canyon.

The roommates - Shannon and Sarah

Getting ready to head up to the entry point

New best friend

She has serious skills

I love trees

The cuz

A little fun on the ropes

The next trip was also courtesy of Brent Evans.  It was Labor Day weekend and another great group including my roommates and Dave Haynie.  The difference on this adventure was that we ended up swimming through some pretty nasty, stagnant water.  But even with that, it was still amazing.

Roommates - Sarah and Heather

New best friend Allison.  Zion is a great place for making new best friends.

Gorgeous canyon.

The whole crew in wet suits.  So hot right now.

Love, love, love.

As soon as we got out of the gross, smelly water I ran to the river and jumped in. So refreshing and a little chilly.

Haha.  Such a great cousin photo.

The last delightful adventure was with a smaller group of friends and we had the chance to stay at my parents' house.  I have been taking groups of friends to southern Utah for years.  I am always grateful for my mom and dad and their genuine joy and openness in hosting people.  Our family really does believe and live the motto, "The more the merrier".  My mom had fresh salsa made when we arrived on Friday night.  She had the house all decorated for Halloween.  On Saturday morning they sent us out the door with sandwiches of homemade bread and jam (bread with jam and bread with jam, with jam, with jam, with jam, with jam and bread.  Sound of Music anyone?)  And with freshly made fruit leather and dried apples.  Sunday morning everyone pitched in to help me make rolls and cinnamon rolls to accompany the yummy lasagna my mom had prepared for Sunday dinner.  Basically, I love staying at my parents' and will happily take anyone down for a weekend.  Just email/call me, we'll plan it.  It's worth it.  The one regret of the weekend was that we didn't do karaoke with my parents.  My dad was a little disappointed so we of course promised to come back.  

The actual hiking in Zion was also amazing thanks to our friend Cob who has spent a lot of time in the park.  We did a few short hikes including a random slot canyon that was muddy from rains the day before.  So we all ditched our shoes and hiked barefoot the rest of the way.  Once again, as soon as I got to the park, I was completely energized to the point of singing and doing heel clicks in the parking lot.  I just can't get enough of it.

I kind of hate photos where everyone is just standing and smiling so sometimes I make people do crazy poses with me.

Walking sticks make you look more legit.

The canyon where we ditched our shoes.

There were a few tricky parts but we all worked together and made it through.

Tabi was getting creative with her photos.

And apparently I was the star of the show for a bit.

I love the sun and Dave captured me loving the sun.

The moral of the story is that I love Zion and wish I could go back every weekend.  If anyone wants to plan another trip, just let me know.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Big 3-0!!

I know I promised more about my travels, but this was easier and faster.  I'll do that later...

Well the day finally came and now it has gone.  I am officially done with my 20's and am already enjoying my 30's.  :)  The big day was spent in Huntington Beach with my older and wiser sister, Tara.  I really didn't want to be in Utah, and even though my trip to Europe was also to celebrate my 30th, I still felt the need to go somewhere fun and magical.  And what is fun and magical to a 30 year old?  Disneyland of course!!

We decided to do Disney on Friday to hopefully avoid some of the crowds.  It was of course still busy, but we got to go on all the favorites without too much waiting in line.  Since there were no children with us, we didn't even cross under the castle into Fantasyland.  I think that's a first for any of my trips there.  I got my birthday button 
and wore it proudly all the day long.  

The first person to wish me a happy birthday wasn't even a Disney cast member, just a random person also enjoying the magic of Disney.  We got off to a bit of a rough start because we didn't know about the single rider lines.  For those of you who haven't been there in a while, this is Disney's new best way of serving those who don't have children to ride with and don't care who they sit by on the rides.  Not all of the rides have this option, but after standing in line for Matterhorn for nearly half an hour in the blazing sun at the hottest time of day only to find out that we could have gone in the single rider line and been on in 10 minutes, we took advantage of all of them that did.  We walked on to Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain in 10 minutes.  We got fast passes for Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain railroad.  We ate delicious chicken and veggie kebabs for lunch and ice cream for dessert.  Though we were secretly coveting the yummy looking corndog of the child sitting next to us.  Tara and I both came out of Space Mountain in agreement, it really is the best ride.  It has been my favorite since I was little, and I still love it.  I think it has gotten even better.  The music is louder and it's darker inside.   I just love it all.  

After that we went over to California Adventure where we had the best birthday/Disneyland miracle of all.  Anyone who is in touch with Disney would know that in June the new Cars Land opened.  One of my BFFs from college, Lisa, was there with her family the week after it opened and it was chaos.  The line for the ride was something insane like 4 hours.  Because of this, we had kind of decided that we might not ride that particular ride while we were there, but we still wanted to see it.  So we walked through Hollywood and A Bugs Land into Radiator Springs.  They seriously built Radiator Springs, just like it is in the movie.  It is AWESOME!  We loved just walking through the town and seeing all the neat details (one of the things I love about Disney, they always do the small things).  So we walked over the where the ride started and there was a crowd of people waiting.  This was what we expected.  But we soon found out that the ride was actually temporarily closed.  We made the decision to stand around and wait for a bit.  We had been standing there all of about 3 minutes, when they opened the gates and we rushed forward with the rest of the crowd.  We were the first in line for the single riders line and we were on the ride, zooming through the dessert in a race car about 10 minutes later.  Everyone needs to go on this ride.  I don't recommend standing in line for 2 1/2 hours like the family who was in the car I ended up in, but it is a must ride.  After that huge miracle, the rest of the day was made. 

I went on Tower of Terror, which I also love (see my face in the photo for proof) and California Screamin'.  

We waited in line for Toy Mania which was also very fun.  And I just realized that I'm giving you a play by play which is really not necessary and you might not even have time to read this.  But the day was amazing and ended with the light show and fireworks of course.  I am such a sucker for fireworks.  It doesn't matter where they are or I am, I love them.  Whenever I find that mysterious man I'm going to marry, please feel free to tell him I would love to be proposed to by firework light.  :)

The weekend goodness continued on Saturday (my actual bday).  Thanks to all those who texted, called or Facebooked.  It's nice to feel loved on your bday.  We slept in a bit, worked out, went and got massages with our friend Christy and then headed to the beach.  I ordered the perfect beach weather, another birthday miracle.  After a few relaxing hours there, we went home to get ready for dinner and the Orange County fair.  Dinner was deliciousness called True Food.  I had pan seared sea bass on a bed of mushrooms, asparagus and purple potatoes.  It was YUMMY!  

And after having some healthy food, we overdosed on Funnel Cakes at the fair.  They were probably the most amazing funnel cakes I've ever had.  And this will be the second time I have celebrated my bday over funnel cake.  The first time was two years ago at Kings Dominion with some dear DC friends.  Which is perfect because those who know me know that I am not a fan of regular old birthday cakes.  This year we had a red velvet with bavarian cream and chocolate chips, one with ice cream and strawberries and another cinnamon one.  

That was our first round of the night.  We then went of a few of the calmer rides, the slides and the ferris wheel.  None of us girls would do the spinny rides like the boys wanted to do.  

While we were waiting in line for the ferris wheel, we met these really nice people from Houston who actually owned the funnel cake stand right next to the ferris wheel and after we got off, they offered to get us all whatever funnel cakes we wanted.  So we had round two.  Yikes.  That pretty much sent me over the edge.  But these people were so nice.  And they do the Houston rodeo and livestock show, so all my family living down there, you need to go find them.  It's called Penn. Dutch Funnel Cakes.  They had fresh blueberries and chocolate covered strawberries as well.  So much goodness and sugar.  We closed up the night with the fair at midnight and headed home to put our tired older bodies to bed.  :)  And this morning we went to church where I got to catch up with a few more friends and then I headed to the airport.  Where I saw another friend who I have known since Ricks College who I always run into in the most random places.  

The whole weekend was just as magical as it could have been.  Thanks for all who participated, especially Tara.  You really made it special and a birthday that I will not soon forget.

P.S.  I also need to give a shout out to my dearest friend Christina who sent me 30 birthday presents in various shapes and sizes and all sorts of goodness.  Including some new fun baking toys, 80s apparel and patriotic decor.  She knows me too well.  Thank you my dear!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just a taste...

I promised a blog post every month so here is me scrambling to post something before it turns to July.

I just returned from a pretty incredible trip full of beautiful scenery, lots of history, and great friends.  Here are a few pics to preview.  More later!!

The White Cliffs of Dover

The Turkish Grand Bazaar





Gardens at Hampton Court Palace

The classic phone booth photo, sporting Deloitte gear of course.