Trying to Be Brave

I notice that Michael and I tend to record just our adventures, which makes it seem that most of our days are not filled with such things as cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming and going to work.  I am here to report that much of our time is taken up with day to day chores,  and for the record we try to keep up with them, and with our borrowed garden and grasshopper/deer infested yard, we both try to practice every day (I am taking piano lessons, and Michael guitar lessons), we do our best to get some sort of daily exercise, we make sometimes feeble attempts to keep up with the families and individuals we have been assigned to watch over from our ward, we on occasion get to spend time with our children and their families, and if there is time left over, we try to fit in some choose time – and hopefully some adventures.

My choose time has been hampered with a sore neck that started during a pickleball game several months ago.  I tried to play for a couple more weeks, but finally gave up because it hurt too much.  It is hard to play pickleball when you can’t turn your head.  Tennis started soon after that and I have only played a little here and there before I have had to say uncle and take myself off the roster.  I have seen a chiropractor, a doctor, and now a physical therapist is working on me and I surely hope to be back to normal soon!  A sore neck just seems like such a small problem to be giving me so much grief!  I tried tennis again this week, and was again disappointed by my neck that doesn’t want to let me have fun.

For Michael, the getting old problem has been his knee and his continuing stomach troubles.  We were very hopeful that he would feel much better after getting his gall blaldder out, but he has been a little disappointed to feel sort of the same since.  I am trying to convince him that life can still be fun if you walk instead of run, because your knees feel better,  but it is going to take some convincing to get him to slow down.

So those are some things we are trying to be brave about.

I lucked into an adventure on Monday – Michael spent the day at work but I spent it at Tony Grove up in Logan Canyon.  I went with my friend Marie and some of her family.  We started the day with a hike to the top of Naomi Peak.  We had some kids along – Marie’s great neice and nephews, which made the going quite slow.  That was nice because when we finally got everyone to the top, it didn’t feel like we had done all that much work.  I was surprised to find out that we had climbed close to 2000 feet!  It is one of those peaks that feels like the top of the world with views all the way around – it was beautiful!   We had about 15 minutes or more on the way down where we were not exactly sure where one of the kids (about 8 years old) was.  He decided he couldn’t make it to the top, and was going to wait for us but wasn’t there when we came back.  I was amazed at his calm mother who just assumed he had started down the trail.  I, the catastrophisizer, was looking at trails leading other directions and remembering the search helicopters we had seen in the Uintahs last week.  Despite my worries, we eventually passed someone on their way up who reported they had passed little boy in a blue shirt on his way down.  I was very happy to hear that.


We made it back to the lake and spent the rest of the day lazily paddling around in Marie’s kayaks and reading books.  She and I were successful in taking her little grand daughter out for a ride/nap that lasted 45 minutes or so.  I thought I was paddling pretty lazily, but that might have had something to do with how bad the next morning’s tennis felt on my neck now that I think of it.

For me the real need for bravery has come about with our scuba lessons.  I am a scaredy-cat!  It just doesn’t feel all that natural to put yourself way under the water, especially in the ocean.  I am SO excited to go and see under there, but SO scared!  But our second class this week was not as scary as the first one – in fact I was scared before but not hardly scared at all in the class and did all the crazy stuff with really no problems.  So now I am not that afraid of scuba diving in an 8 foot deep swimming pool.  Very brave, right??  Next, we will go to the crater at Midway and learn to go much deeper.  So I am scared again.  But I think I can do that.  Mostly I am scared when I think about jumping off a boat into the ocean.  I am going with Michael to San Diego in a couple weeks and every time we talk about maybe trying a dive there I get feeling a bit wound up ( Michael will be laughing when he reads that I characterized that as “a bit”).  I am pretty sure that diving will be amazing and when I get used to getting myself equalized and breathing comfortably under water, it will be awesome.

Anyway, we went and saw the new Mission Impossible movie this week, and scuba diving is not in the least dangerous or adventurous.  Kind of boring, really.


Two adventures

Sherrie and I had two big adventures this week. We started our PADI open water diver certification classes, and we went on a big hike with Sherrie’s brother Kevin.

When Sherrie was younger, she always dreamed of being a marine biologist. Growing up in Utah made that a far away dream. We’ve had a couple of trips to Hawaii and California where she’s had the opportunity to snorkel, but the idea of learning to scuba dive was something that seemed out of reach, or even out of our conscious thought. On our recent trip to Southern Utah, we learned that our friend Glen, who is an experienced diver, was planning a diving trip to Cozumel in December, and the thought occurred to me that this was our opportunity to learn to scuba and help Sherrie get closer to something that’s been a dream of hers for a long time.

So we took the plunge, so to speak, and started a dive class this week with a local establishment that teaches classes here in Brigham City (yes, Brigham City!). We took our first class this week. Learning to scuba is a bit intimidating. They talk about all the things that can go wrong and teach methods to cope with potential problems. It’s technical, because you have learn how to use the equipment. There’s a lot to keep in your head, and you have to learn a new language–that is, you have to learn to talk underwater with hand signals. And, it’s scary to be under water breathing through a tube! But we’ve started, and we’re looking forward to learning more and becoming more comfortable as we learn. Our “graduation” if you will is to do four “open water” dives, which for most Utahns who learn to dive happens in a hot spring crater in Midway called the Homestead Caldera. We’re looking forward to learning more and becoming more comfortable and less anxious while in the water!

Our other great adventure this week was a loooonnnnnggg hike in the Uintahs with Sherrie’s brother Kevin. We started at Trial Lake and hiked north through notch pass. Our original goal was to hike over the pass and go to Ibantik Lake. We got there early in the afternoon and decided to continue our hike further and go all the way to Meadow Lake. Here’s a screenshot of the track:Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 17.29.08

The hike was probably 7 miles each direction, with about 900 feet of climb up to Notch Pass. Our endpoint of Meadow Lake is about the same altitude as Trial Lake, so it was up, down, up, down for 1800 feet of climbing. It was a long day, and we were tired at the end, but it was awesome!

We had some fun things on the hike: (1) we caught fish at most of the lakes where we stopped (Wall, Lovenia, Ibantik, and Meadow), and (2) we saw tons of wildflowers! We also saw a mountain goat near the summit of the east portion of Notch Mountain. It was walking along the ridgeline up high, and we could easily spot its silhouette. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a goat in the Uintahs!

Wildflowers near Notch Pass:uintah-wildflowers

Panorama looking south toward Wall and Trial Lakes from Notch Pass:IMG_0597

Panorama of Ibantik Lake (One-half of Notch Mountain in the back left; Notch Pass is the dip in mountains near the middle of the picture. This view is looking almost due south):IMG_0649

Sherrie with a fish on the line at Ibantik:IMG_0651

Michael on the trail somewhere:trailMichael with a monster (!) but colorful Brookie at Ibantik:brookie

Yes, it is the middle of the summer, and I am wearing a warm jacket in that last picture. Early in the afternoon at Ibantik, a small rainstorm blew in and cooled us off quite a bit. It warmed up later, but it was a nice respite.

The trail on the north side of Ibantik to Meadow is some of the most beautiful terrain I’ve seen in the Uintahs. It was great to be there, out in nature, enjoying a beautiful day with Sherrie and Kevin.


Venetian Falls?

Sherrie and I had a wonderful (too short!) trip to Southern Utah at the end of June.  On Friday, we stopped in Parowan to see our friends Bruce and Kathy and had lunch with them at La Villa’s, which was Michael’s mom Susie’s favorite place. It wasn’t Taco Thursday, but we still had a nice lunch and got caught up with Bruce and Kathy.

That afternoon, we hiked the Ramparts Trail in Cedar Breaks National Monument. We saw lots of wildflowers, which are just coming into full bloom in the high altitude.



And we also saw some old, big bristlecone pines


The cones were beautiful. Some turn red and blue depending on whether they are male or female; we didn’t see any blue ones but we did see red ones.

DSC_0012 . DSC_0019

The view from the rim trail isn’t half bad either:


It was a smoky day from wildfires in Southern Utah, but it was still fun.

After Cedar Breaks, we drove to a site below Navajo Lake where the lake leaks out of the mountain at Cascade Falls:


The view at Cascade Falls was a bit anti-climactic. There’s a nice wide trail and a built-up landing, but the falls itself is only about six feet tall, and not super spectacular.

By time this, it was late in the day and Sherrie was not feeling well. In retrospect, we now believe that she got altitude sickness. She had a horrible headache and nausea, but a couple of hours after getting “down” to Cedar City (still around 5800 feet), she was feeling much better. I felt bad for her, as the afternoon and evening weren’t very pleasant. But we still enjoyed the day.

On Saturday morning, we checked off an item on our bucket list: we hiked the Kanarra Creek Trail to Kanarraville Falls. We have been wanting to do this for a few years and finally got our chance. Our friends Tracie and Glen from St. George met us there and hiked with us.

DSC_0097(Admittedly, Sherrie is none too pleased with this candid shot. My only regret is that I didn’t get it in better focus!) That’s Tracie and Glen in the background; I was glad they were with us because they have hiked the trail may times and helped us know what to expect.

What you should expect is to walk through amazing slot canyons in very cold water (ankle deep most of the time at this time of year) for a couple of hours. Interspersed with water up above your knees from time to time.

DSC_0115(Yes, the trail continues behind us as seen in this photo).


There are a few beautiful falls from time to time:




And of course the famous ones you have to scramble up, using sketchy means:



We climbed the first one (the tree trunk with the metal rungs), but not the latter, as it is the end of the line, and there’s not much to see above the last falls. And the woman in the latter photo (with her head peaking out on the left), who is in charge of the Kanarra Creek Trail conservation society (unknown exact name) told us that in the past few weeks, a couple of people have fallen off the logs at that last falls and broken various body parts. It wouldn’t be easy to evacuate someone from there!

Saturday night, we attended a “preview” showing of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. It was a “preview” because the festival had just started, and our show was in essence an advanced public dress rehearsal. It was a fun play. We’d not been to the festival since they opened the new building. In spite of being toward the back and side, we still heard well and enjoyed the play a lot. But the play also instigated some conversation between us about the apparent (blatant?) anti-semitic nature of the story. We saw in Shylock a compelling figure, and one of his monologues in particular is a robust statement of the way society treats many sub cultures today.