Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Busy Bees

After Joel and I got back from Havasupai we didn't really take it that easy! We decided to take advantage of Joel's vacation while he had it. On Saturday, the 4th, Joel and I went to Jesterz Improv with some friends of ours. It was a hoot! It's a clean improv place with all-ages appropriate humor. We definitely had some good laughs, and when we were done there we stopped at Angel Sweet for some gelato. Yum!

On Sunday we went to my sister's ward because they were blessing their new little boy. We had a great time visiting with family and hanging out at the Blau's house, not to mention eating some delicious food. :)

Joel and I went to the temple on Wednesday and had a wonderful, spiritual time, as always. After that we went to Chipotle Grill for lunch. It was a great date.

On Thursday we went to a fun beach pool with the same friends we went to Jesterz with. Its pretty cool to have a sand beach and a regular swimming pool in one. Here's a few pictures of the kids at the pool, hanging out and enjoying their lunch. (They aren't great pictures, they were taken on my ipod.)

Don't you love Will's farmer's tan? He always wears a rash guard, and he'd taken it off while he ate because he was cold. But that Capri sun was pretty good. :)

Then on Friday Joel and I had a real treat! We got to finally go see Les Miserables; we bought the tickets back in December, so we've been patient for a long time! We went out to Four Peaks for dinner, which was absolutely delicious! (Joel had the filet mignon, and I had a salmon BLT)

And here we are in front of the Les Mis poster before the show...

We really enjoyed the show. It was the first time Joel's seen it, and it was my second time, though it's a little different than the time I saw it. They re-conceptualized some things, the staging was different, etc. I thought most of the changes were amazing. A few stand-out parts for me; Javert's suicide, the sewer scenes, One Day More, Bring Him Home, and the Finale. I know that doesn't really matter to whoever is reading this, but I would like to remember that in the future. :)

In other news, we had to buy a new computer last week. Our old one (which wasn't very old; less than three years) started having major problems. After a friend looked at it and tried to install a new hard drive, it was determined that there were multiple problems that would most likely cost more to fix than a new computer. So, we bought a new computer. Happy and sad news.

Joel went back to school on Monday, and Jenna started a basketball camp. Below is a picture of her with her camp shirt and new basketball that they gave her. She didn't have a whole lot of fun on Monday; it was harder than she expected it to be and she was really nervous. But she's been enjoying herself more the last two days, and overall I think it's a success.

We've only got two more weeks before the kids and I head North for a lot of family fun! It's going to be quite the trip- very long with a lot of driving- but I think it will be more than worth it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Joel and I had the great opportunity to take a trip down Havasupai! Joel's friend, Reyn, has been multiple times and he organized a trip. We're so glad that he did, because it was an amazing opportunity.

Joel's Mom flew in to stay with the kids, which we are SO grateful for! We knew they were in good hands and didn't have to worry about them at all. Thanks, Bren!

Late Sunday night we drove to Glendale to meet up with Jared and Andrea. We rode with them up to Hilltop where we started our hike Monday morning. We tried getting some sleep in the car on the drive up, but we were basically unsuccessful. But it turned out alright, because we all seemed to have enough energy when it was time to go!

Here are a few details about Havasupai before I talk about our trip down. According to their official website, the trail is 10 miles from the hilltop to the campground. (I thought it was 12 miles, but their website says 10.) It is eight miles to the village where you check in and pay, then two more miles to the campground. There is 1.5 miles of switchbacks at the beginning of the hike, and then it is a slow decent down to the village. You have to pack in everything you need, including food. Joel and I weighed our packs before we left; his was 48 lbs and mine was 36 lbs.

Here is a picture from the top. The sun was just coming up and it was beautiful. We left at a good time because it was light, but we were in shade almost the entire hike to the village. It was actually a little chilly when we started.

Here's our group! This is who ended up going: L-R Tim (top row), Todd (in front of Tim), Andrea and Jared, Joel and I, and Heidi and Reyn. Don't we all look happy and excited to get going!? Well, we were. But we didn't look that way for too long. :)

There were dogs all over the place. This dog, who we named Rabies (Rabes, for short), followed us all the way down the canyon. He also started the hike out with us, but he didn't make it to the top with us. I'm not sure where we lost him. Reyn posed with him during one of our breaks.

Andrea, Jared, Todd, Joel, and I taking a little rest.
The hike down really wasn't too difficult, it was just long. The hardest part was just having the pack on. It made my shoulders and back pretty tired pretty quick. We took a few breaks on the way down and they felt great! By the time we reached the village I think we were all happy to be nearly done!
Here you can see Todd, Andrea was in front of him, then myself and Heidi, and Reyn is in front of her.
In the village we took a break and payed for our stay. Then we continued on to the campground, which we figured would just be a quick little walk. Wrong! Two miles feels pretty long when your legs already feel like jello! Not to mention that you are walking through fine, dusty sand, which zaps your energy quite efficiently. That was the hardest part of the hike in for me.
On the way to the campground we passed one of the falls. This a new waterfall that was created a few years ago after a major flood. I don't remember what they call it; it doesn't have a sign. But it was so gorgeous.
Same waterfall, different view...
We then came to Havasu Falls. Also very beautiful! It's always hard to capture the beauty in a picture. We couldn't wait to get to camp so we could come back and swim in this!

We found a pretty sweet camping spot and after resting our feet in the stream for a few minutes we set things up.
Then it was back to Havasu Falls for a swim! I brought one of those waterproof disposable cameras. It was fun to take pictures in the water, but the photos obviously weren't of the highest quality. But it was still fun! The water was a little chilly, but we braved it anyway. It was nice sitting under these little falls; kind of like a deep-tissue massage. If you look closely you can see Joel in the middle of that water.
Jared, Andrea, Me, and Joel enjoying the cool water. Falls in the background.
Joel, Todd, and I also tried to swim into the bottom of the falls, but it was harder than it looked! We got pretty close by swimming along the rocks, holding on, and trying to get in there. But the water was coming with such force that it would push us away. Not to mention that it was impossible to see anything because of the water flying in our faces! But we got pretty close, and we had fun trying!
Tim made a downright gourmet meal Monday night...
Joel and I just had some dehydrated meals. :)
I think we all had our various aches and pains Monday evening and Tuesday morning from the hike in. There were a lot of blistered feet and sore joints and muscles! It was pretty comical watching all of us hobble around. Well, I don't think Tim and Todd hobbled quite as much as the rest of us, but I like to think they were at least sore.

On Tuesday we went to Mooney Falls, which is just about a quarter mile from the campground. Even from the top it was incredible. You could hear the force and power of the water coming down.

As it turns out, Mooney Falls had a fun little "trail" that you have to take to get down to it. First there was the cave, which wasn't bad at all.
Then there were the stairs, which reminded Joel and I of the stairs in The Lord of the Rings in to Mordor. If you've seen the movies, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Here's another picture of those stairs. You can see the handrail at the right of the picture near the top. If you look closely you can see the chains and the ladders that are the way down.
Once at the bottom the waterfall was even more amazing, I think.
We continued on to try and get to Beaver Falls, which is a few miles past Mooney Falls. The trail was not so much easy to follow; at least not if you didn't know where to look. So we spent more time figuring out the best way to go than was really necessary.
This picture of Todd kind of shows what we were walking through.
We didn't end up making it to Beaver Falls, but we stopped at a nice pool to swim and eat and relax.
We headed back up to Mooney Falls after that, but we stopped at a place we called the showers. It was SO beautiful, and the water felt pretty good.

We are back in the cave area behind where the water was falling. It was so green and pretty, but these were taken with the water poof camera, so you just can't see the greatness of it.
Heidi and Reyn...
Andrea and Jared...Taking a shower...

Back at Mooney Falls they tried to reach the bottom of the falls. This water was so powerful it was no small task.
First, Joel and Reyn and Tim made it.
Then the men of A.T. Still. (They are all in the PA program together)
Then us wives braved it. I'll tell ya, if I didn't have Joel there to hold on to, I wouldn't have been able to get that far back. The current was strong, and I'm no swimmer. It looks shallow, but it got deeper between the shore and the falls.
Coming back up.

After Mooney Falls we went back to camp for awhile and then headed back to Havasu Falls for some more swimming. I didn't get any pictures of that on Tuesday, but Andrea snapped this one.

Wednesday morning we woke up before dawn to get our camp packed up so we could hike out early. We ended up having three of our packs taken out by donkey, so Heidi, Andrea, and I didn't carry packs on the way out. We put all of our heaviest stuff in those backs, so our husbands' bags were lighter. I just had a camelback on the way out, and that was the way to do it! It might have taken me all day to get out if I'd had a pack on my back!
Resting at the bottom of the switchbacks before heading up...
I haven't mentioned that I'd been surviving on a regimen of ibuprofen and tylenol all through Tuesday. My left knee started to hurt after the hike in on Monday, and without the drugs I had a pretty attractive limp and it did not feel so great. Wednesday morning I took four ibuprofen and a NoDoz, which I've heard is a great combo for pain relief.

We set a pretty fast pace out of Havasupai. We went much faster on the way out than on the way in. I was feeling pretty good! We only took about two breaks between the village and the bottom of the switchbacks. My shoulders and back didn't hurt this time because I wasn't carrying a pack, but boy was I breathing hard! It is definitely an up hill climb the whole way, even if it is a moderate grade.

On one of the breaks we took before we hit the switchbacks Todd had half of a NoDoz and I took the other half because I was feeling like I needed a little pick-me-up. At the bottom of the switchbacks we rested for a bit before heading up. I was feeling pretty good, but I could tell I needed to slow down just a bit. I told Joel that he could go ahead. I know sometimes it's easier for him to just got fast up stuff like that and get done, and it's not like I was going to get lost or anything. He was ahead of me for awhile, but he waited for me at some point and I'm glad he did.

Not too far into the switchbacks I stopped to rest and was feeling a little lightheaded, so I sat down on a rock. Things started looking a little strange and I told Joel that I was feeling weird. Then my chest got really tight and I felt like my throat was closing up. I was freaking out a little bit, and Joel took off my camelback and helped me calm down and take slow breaths. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest, but when I was able to slow down my breathing I felt a little better. It was kind of scary for me because I've never experienced anything like it. We rested for a little bit and I ate some food. After that I had to go up very slowly; and I do mean very slowly. It didn't take much for my heart to beat really fast and hard, and then it got harder to breath and I would get light headed again. Joel was my hero and let me go as slow as I needed and was very understanding and reassuring. I'm not sure how many times I apologized for going so slow, and every time he told me to stop saying I was sorry and he didn't mind. I'm pretty sure that last half of the NoDoz was a mistake, and I was reacting to too much caffeine. Live and learn.

I did eventually make it to the top, where there was some cold ginger ale and grapes waiting. Yum! I'm not sure I've ever been so dirty in my life. The dust of the trail mixed with three days of sunscreen and sweat makes quite a combination!

We didn't get any pictures on Wednesday. I think Andrea got some. She took a lot of pictures that I'm going to need copies of! When I get them I will add them to this post.

Overall the entire trip was a lot of fun and totally worth it! It was definitely challenging and not for the faint of heart. I'm so glad Joel and I went together! Thanks to Reyn for putting the trip together, and thanks to Heidi, Reyn, Andrea, Jared, Todd, and Tim for making it so much fun!