Monday, August 25, 2014

Bike the Trail of the Hiawatha, YW High Adventure

When I was a young women I always swore that when I grew up and became a leader in the Young Women's Organization we would do lots of adventurous things like the boys always got to do, but we never did. So I have been trying to accomplish this goal! This summer we organized a YW high adventure. On the first day we hiked Mineral Ridge up above Lake Cour D' Alene. It was gorgeous and the girls played the rhyming game the whole way up to take their minds off the uphill burn.  We spend the afternoon swimming in the lake, and then camped in the Beauty Creek Campground.

The next day we headed up to the Trail of the Hiawatha. This in one of the most scenic bike trails in the US. It was an old rail line through the Bitterroot Mountains, that was abandoned and converted into a bike trail. It is complete with long dark tunnels, high trellis bridges through rugged mountain landscape. This ride is pretty famous in the Inland Northwest, so we have heard about it since moving here, I was so pumped to get to go and take the YW on a trip they may never have gotten to do. It was such an adventure!

Mt Kit Carson

Sometimes it is necessary to have your Young Women Presidency meetings out on the trail, it really beats sitting around talking church business.

Nicole, Cassidy, and I hiked up Mt Kit Carson. It is the second highest peak in Mt Spokane State Park. It was glorious and perfect, and of course we were inspired by 90 year old Don up at the top.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fort George Wright Cemetery to Bowl & Pitcher, Riverside State Park

I started coaching track at Cheney High School, and I am loving it. I basically just bring Tate to practice and meets so she runs around has a great time. This last Saturday our team traveled to a invitational up in Colville, where the weather was supposed to be cold, wet, snowy, windy, and terrible. I didn't want to have Tate in that kind of weather all day. She is pretty easy to dress warm and tolerate the cold for a few hours, but I was worried about her being cold if she was outside all day long. So I opted to stay home from that track meet, which was good, I found out later they had 3 or 4 thunderstorm delays and didn't get home to Cheney until 1am.

Anyways, the point is, the weather in Cheney that day was glorious! So we joined up the the INH group and hiked a nice seven miles along the Spokane River. We started at the Fort George Wright Cemetery and followed a nice trail all the way to the Bowl and Pitcher area in Riverside state park. There is in incredible suspension bridge there and the river was roaring though that narrow part of the river with the Spring run off. The whole way Tate kept saying, "Water, Pretty" or "water, swimming" She wanted to jump in the river so badly! I hope she lasts a few more months till it is warm enough to swim outside.

At the very beginning of the hike we passed through a tiny little meadow, as we walked through it Tate kept yelling, "Night-Night Bunny! Night-Night-Bunny". It was cute but we didn't think much of it. Then, 3 hours later, on the way back when we passed through that same meadow Tate suddenly started yelling loudly, "Wake-up Bunny! Wake-up Bunny!". It was way to cute that she had remembered putting the imaginary bunny to sleep in that same spot hours earlier. 

Don lead the hike, he is an 88 year old man who can out-hike and out-paddle the best of them. What an inspiration for lifelong longevity! He says the secret to his success was that he never stopped moving, don't let more than two days go by without doing something active.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hog Lake, Folsom Farm

Nice hike to a hidden gem South of Cheney. We are loving that the weather is starting to warm up and that the sun is actually shining!

This is Karen J, she leads many of the hikes for the Inland Northwest Hikers. She is my absolute idol, she has done so much work through the Washington Trails Association and the Sierra Club to make the trails that we enjoy available. A true outdoors-woman, conservationist, and lifetime hiker. She is also kind enough to let Scout play with Tate every hike.

I am worried that Tater isn't going to let me carry her in the pack for long periods of time for much longer so we are trying to squeeze in as much hiking as possible before that day comes!

Monday, March 31, 2014

49 Degrees North, Ice Cave Campout

Every winter the young men in our congregation have their traditional winter camp out up at 49 degrees north. They spend all day building their snow shelters, camp, then ski the next morning. Naturally, I was not okay with the young women not being invited, so I pulled some strings to make that happen. All the girls, including myself, had never slept in a snow cave before. We were so scared, but really excited at the same time. We did a little winter camping seminar beforehand so the youth knew how to build their shelters and how to stay warm and dry the entire trip. Erik was kind enough to stay home with Tate so I could go. Neither of us wanted to miss this adventure so I was grateful he let me have this one. I think next year we will just bring Tate, she could handle it.

We spent the whole day building the snow caves. You wrap all your gear in tarps, then pile snow on top of it, and keep shoveling, and shoveling, until you have a huge pile of snow. Then you let it settle for a half hour, aka lunch break.  Then it is time to dig out the shelter, so you decide where you want the door, and start digging in. We used sleds and small shovels to move all the snow. I was so scared it was going to cave in the whole time, but these things are strong! When you reach your buried gear, you pull all that stuff out, and then you have a hole big enough to crawl inside and keep digging to make it a sleep-able size. Then just poke a few holes in it for air and build a wind break and you are good to go! Each cave slept 3-4 people. The beehives, mia-maids, laurals, and leaders build caves. The Young men built smaller caves that slept 1 to 3 each. The building process was my favorite part. You stay warm while you work and it was just so fun to build that cave out of nothing. Sis Davis and Sis Chesheski and I built a bomb cave!

Some of us were still building into the night, after the cave was finished you put in a lantern to generate some heat, which kind of forms a melty inside layer that later freezes and makes it rock solid. We ate some amazing warm chili and played mexican horse races, the roaring game, and "Who stole the Bishops Hay" around the fire. That night I was seriously so scared the cave would collapse on us. All the experienced men kept reassuring us they were solid but at night you could hear snow settling and the roof dripping. I was very warm in the shelter but slept poorly because I felt strange in that thing. But it was a good first experience and now I know they won't cave in, so next time we do this won't be so scary.

The next morning we had a giant breakfast and then the traditional cave wrecking ceremony commenced. We went around to each cave, and the kids who slept in it would jump on the roof until it caved in. Man were those things strong! The snow wall was only 5-8 inches, but the roof could hold several adults jumping before they caved in!

The priests built this massive cave. They had the TNT letters for their names, Tyler, Nathan, and Trevor, they didn't even catch the irony that TNT also means dynamite and that their door looked like a min shaft. Silly boys. . . After the wrecking ceremony some kids went home but most of them stayed to ski. It was only $4 to ski at 49 if you brought two cans of food for the food drive they were having. This trip so was fun! It is going to become a new tradition for our youth.