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Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Camping

Jon and I had a quick camping trip to McCormick's Creek State Park this weekend. It was a great park with tons of hiking. We also took Scruffy, which made it his first camping trip!

Pretty fall trees.

McCormick's Creek

Scruffy loves hiking!

Wolf Cave

McCormick's Creek waterfall.

The park was FULL of different mushrooms!

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Jon and I went to Indianapolis for our anniversary and while there we stopped at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Some awesomely beautiful flowers there!

California 2010

I got to visit Mono Lake, California again this September. I just love it there. Here are some of the photos.

Lee Vining Creek

Elin smelling some plants.

Blooming rabbit brush.

Fluffy plants.


More tufa.

Pirate ship tufa.

Maggie shows off some kutzadika (fly pupae).

California gulls.

Some cool rocks at Obsidian Dome.

Looks like the moon up there on Obsidian Dome.

Parker Lake.

"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Utah 2010

Jon and I just got back from over a week spent out west in Utah. We had an amazing time and saw tons of cool things. We went with my Aunt Julie, Uncle Kermit, their two kids, and our friend Sam.

To see all the photos from the trip, see the Facebook album.

The first leg of our trip was spent camping at Arches National Park near Moab, UT.

Arches is very dry, and very hot! Coming from central Illinois with humidity hovering around 80% on an average day, the total lack of humidity of the desert was great! It was much easier to cope with 95 – 100 degree temperatures that way. It actually got pretty chilly at night (upper 50s), so once the sun went down, things felt great. We camped at Devil's Garden camp ground – there were flush and pit toilets, but no showers. The campground was surrounded by beautiful red rocks, but no real trees to speak of. The campsite is also at around 5,600 feet elevation, which is about 80% of the usual amount of oxygen. When we first arrived we started setting up camp in the mid-day heat and the low oxygen, I got really dizzy and didn't feel well. I sat down to rest, and promptly passed out and fell to the ground! Luckily the ground was soft sand, and I came-to right away! I drank water and rested a little while, and felt much better afterwards! Such excitement to start off the trip!

Our first day was spent exploring Arches National Park. We went to the visitor center, hiked a few trails, stopped at tons of viewpoints, and saw many of arches, of course!

Our second day was spent on a rafting trip down the Colorado River with Red River Adventures.

Our guide was great, and we had a blast. Although it was a mostly-mild stretch of river, we hit some rapids and everyone but the kids and one adult fell out of the boat! We lost Jon's shoes, two water bottles, and we almost lost Sam's swim trunks (which were saved in the nick of time!). They had folks out there taking pictures of us and we definitely had to buy them! Despite the overboard adventure, we all enjoyed the river and would do it again in a heart beat!

Day three was spent visiting Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. Both places were amazing and full of more beautiful scenery.

Canyonlands National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Day four was spent traveling to the next site: Monument Valley. We stopped at Natural Bridges National Monument to check out some cool bridges along the way. The difference between an arch and a bridge, by the way, is that arches are formed by wind and rain, and bridges are formed by the meandering of a river. After Natural Bridges we made it to Monument Valley, which is on the border of Utah and Arizona on Navajo land, for a sunset jeep tour. The open-top jeep tour was great and an amazing way to explore the valley. We stayed the night at the brand new hotel right on the edge of Monument Valley called The View.

Natural Bridges

Monument Valley

On day five we left Monument Valley to head to Page, Arizona for a tour of Antelope Canyon. This was one of the most amazing parts of the trip. Another open-top jeep took us to the canyon for a beautiful hike through.

After the tour, we continued on to Kodachrome Basin State Park. This is where things got crazy. We followed the GPS to the park, and it took us through a few country roads. We went on a gravel road for a few miles, but we were only 20 more miles or so until we reached the park, so we continued on. The road quickly degraded to a rocky, windy, steep, washboard dirt road. Our little low lying Honda Fit should not have been driving on this rural backcountry road of Utah. Somehow, after only bottoming out once, we made it back to the highway and drove the remaining few miles to the campsite. We were too frightened to take any pictures or really appreciate any of the scenery! We later found out we were driving through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument on Skutumpah Road. We literally forded at least two small creeks on the drive... enough said. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. NEVER GO ON SKUTUMPAH ROAD. Our campsite at Kodachrome was completely adorable with our own little bridge! Great place to camp, except the one month out of the year when the gnats are around... which was when we were there!

Our sixth day was spent exploring Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce was the park that inspired the entire trip, so needless to say, it is a strikingly beautiful place. Truly awe-inspiring.

The next morning we packed up everything and headed on home. The drive out and back was 24 hours each way, so it was two days of driving out, and another two days of driving until we made it home. After our long car rides, we were all grateful to be home!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Multimedia message

Csa week 2. Onions, radishes, asparagus, mixed greens, and dill.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture

Our first share of our CSA! Buying food directly from the farmer.
Thank you Moore Family Farms!

Also testing mobile blogging!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Illinois Marathon

** Updated with links/photos!! **

Jon, Caty, Derek, and I ran on a relay team for the 2010 Illinois Marathon. A relay is the full marathon (26.2 miles) divided up by 4 people. Everyone ran between 6 and 7 miles each. We were Team STFU – Speed To Finish United! It was such a blast! The energy and excitement was great, with over 14,000 runners! The weather held off and although it was humid, it was a great run!

There were so many funny moments, from both runners and spectators! My favorites:
-- A runner dressed as a banana (See here!)
-- A runner dressed as Abe Lincoln and carrying a giant Illinois flag (See here!)
-- A relay team dressed as pirates!
-- A guy who ran the entire marathon barefoot.
-- A couple running with shirts that said "Just Married" and the woman had a veil.
-- A spectator who got out his garden hose and provided a cooling stream of water for runners who needed it!
-- A spectator who created his own "aid station" to provide runners with "BEER" – and many runners actually took him up on it!
-- My Dad, who was in the stands watching us finish, said there was a proposal at the finish line (50 yard line at Memorial Stadium) right before we crossed!

And my personal favorite...
-- A spectator within a mile of the finish who had a sign with a picture of Kanye West on it that said "Imma Let You Finish!"
(SEE HERE!!!!)

Overall we had an amazing time! We had a celebratory pizza party at our house afterwards, which was also tons of fun!

Happy Running!
(see all my pics from the day here!!)