May 31, 2015

Banana Boats

Most people love roasting marshmellows and eating smores while sitting around a campfire. I have never really been a huge fan of smores, but I sure do love a good banana boat. What is a banana boat? A banana boat is only the BEST campfire treat ever!


1 banana
Chocolate of choice - I prefer dark


Rinse the banana. Then cut off the stem at the top and the hard brown spot at the bottom of the banana. Next cut the banana length wise but do not cut all the way through the banana and the peel. Cut just enough so you can create a space to fill with chocolate and marshmellows. Stuff the banana with the chocolate and marshmellows. Wrap the stuffed banana in aluminum foil and place in the coals of your fire. Once the chocolate and marshmellows have suffiently softened pull the bananas out of the fire-- becareful not to burn yourself. Dig in and enjoy!

*Note: leave the banana peel on the banana the entire time.

May 29, 2015

Astoria, Oregon

When I was a little kid the Astoria Clowns would always march (aka ride bikes and drive clown cars) in our local parade. The clowns were a bit on the creepy looking side but they always intrigued me-- maybe that is why I went to clown school as a teenager. Cool creepy clowns and The Goonies naturally made me want to visit Astoria, Oregon.

On our way back from climbing Mount St. Helens we decided to take a little bit of a scenic route back so we could make a special stop to...drum roll...Astoria!

Our first stop was a church yard sale and barbeque. We didn't find anything at the yard sale but we did manage to snag ourselves some lunch and directions to The Goonies house.

We also saw the school where the movie Kindergarten Cop was filmed. I've never seen the movie, but Andy has-- he was excited!

We talked with some locals and they suggested we see the Astoria Column and Fort Clatsop.

We didn't have the slightest idea what the Astoria Column was but decided that since multiple people recommended it we better check it out, boy were we in for a treat. The Astoria Column is a 125 foot column. We learned very quickly that climbing up and down a flight of 164 stairs is a painful process after climbing a mountain.

On top of the Astoria Column-- we look pretty good having not showered in 4 days.
Inside the column is a spiral staircase that takes you up to the top. From the top you get a 360 degree view and you can throw planes off the top. Andy enjoyed throwing his plane off the top and watching it sail across the street. I made the mistake of looking straight down, that fear of falling gets me every time.

Our final stop was Fort Clatsop, this is where Lewis and Clark were said to have wintered. We really enjoyed walking on the trails and learning a little bit more about history.

We hope to make another trip to Astoria someday so we can visit some of the museums, there are a lot of museums in Astoria.

May 28, 2015

Thursday Thought

I don't watch a lot of TV, there typically isn't enough time in my day for that. One show I do enjoy watching though is Once Upon A Time. One night as I was watching an episode David (a.k.a. Prince Charming) said, "There will always be people in the world who make you want to give up. Don't make their jobs any easier." When I heard him say this fireworks starting going off in my head.

How many times has someone said something mean or unkind to you? Has whatever unkind thing that person said made you want to give up? I know I have experienced this on more than one occasion. Do you really want to give someone who is being unloving that kind of power over you? I don't think so. It's time to let it go, move on with your head held high and be the awesome person you are! It's time to take charge of your life and live that life that you have always imagined!

May 26, 2015

Ape Caves & Lava Canyon

We thought it would be fun to camp at Climbers Bivouac a few extra days so we could explore the Ape Caves and Lava Canyon. We went and explored the Ape Caves Friday morning and spent the afternoon at Lava Canyon.

The Ape Caves were really BIG! Neither of us had been in a cave that big before. We chose to go down the lower cave because it involved less climbing and we were pretty stiff and sore from our hike. Next time, I think we will go through the upper cave.

Lava Canyon was so beautiful! The water that runs through the canyon is a brilliant blue color-- the pictures we took don't do the water justice. The trail is rough and kind of steep. We walked across a swinging bridge and Andy decided it would be fun to swing it side to side while we were in the middle of it-- I didn't think that was very fun, that fear of falling gets to me.

Andy jumping on the bridge.


Out of the two stops, we enjoyed Lava Canyon the best. Lava Canyon is a must see if you are ever in the area.

May 24, 2015

Conquering Mount St. Helens

Some might say I'm crazy or stupid or pushing my luck -- but I like to think of it as living life to its fullest and making my dreams a reality. Four years ago, I developed a desire to climb to the top of Mount St. Helens-- an active volcano. I'm not really sure where this desire came from but it was one that would not go away.

I started researching climbing Mount St. Helens and I quickly learned that you had to have a permit to climb and permits were limited. Each time I would make a trip home I would look into getting a permit but couldn't manage to get my hands on any. So, each year for the last four years climbing to the top of Mount St. Helens has been on my list of goals. This year I decided I wanted to make the climb and scratch Mount St. Helens off my list once and for all.

I was able to get my hands on two permits-- one for me and one for Andy. I consider myself very lucky, there were only a handful of permits left through the end of October.

Wednesday night we drove to Climbers Bivouac near Cougar, Washington and set up camp. The next morning we woke up, made some last minute adjustments to our backpacks, and set out on the trail for the ten mile journey that awaited us.

Feeling just a little excited.

Love him!

The first two miles were beautiful! We hiked gradually uphill through a forest, the temperature was cool and crisp.

The next two miles were very different, we hiked up a ridge line of rocks, boulders, and ash. These weren't just ordinary rocks and boulders either-- they were quite abrasive and rough. We eventually put on gloves to try and prevent cutting our hands open.

The trail along the ridge line wasn't distinct. Wooden posts were placed every so often and we knew we had to make it from one post to the next and that is just what we did.

Through this stretch of the climb we experienced a wide variety of weather: wind, rain, hail, sunshine, and clouds that came from what seemed like every direction. 

The last mile or so to the summit was mostly snow--this was my first time hiking through the snow and it wasn't too bad. We took turns lead climbing all the way up the mountain and I led us through the snow. Someone who had climbed up before us left a nice set of footprints for us to follow-- it was very helpful.

6 1/2 hours after we set out, we made it to the top of Mount Saint Helens. It was surreal to stand up there, look out at the forests below and realize that I had achieved my goal at last! I still can't believe it is done, it feels like a dream.

We did it!

Me & Andy -- yes, he wore shorts. Crazy, right?

On top of the world!


Unfortunately, we weren't able to get very close to the crater rim, it is very fragile and can break off if people get to close-- signs warn that people have died from this. I had hoped to see the dome that started rebuilding itself back in 2004 but wasn't able to see it without risking my life.

While we were on the summit the clouds parted and we were able to see Spirit Lake, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood. The view was spectacular!

We glissaded about 1500 vertical feet down the side of the mountain. Glissading was so much fun! This was probably our favorite part of the hike. If you don't know what glissading is you can watch a video of it here.

The trail we took glissading.

As we were making our descent down the mountain a thunder and lightening storm rolled in-- I started to envision a repeat of climbing Mt. Timpanogos and freaked out. Andy and I hustled as fast as we could safely down the mountain. With a downpour threatening, I said many prayers and asked the Lord to hold off on the rain until we were within the safety of the trees. My prayers were answered, just as we reached the forest it started to rain. I know that the Lord hears and answers prayers and He is there waiting to help us if we just ask. 

May 21, 2015

Thursday Thought

Have you ever stumbled upon a quote and thought, "That was great!" or "That was meant for me!"? I feel like I come across inspiring and motivating quotes all the time. Often times these quotes boost my confidence and motivate me to be better.

I thought it would be fun to start a new series on the blog called the "Thursday Thought." I want to share with you the quotes that have touched me, in hopes that maybe they can help you in some way too!

Without further ado here is the first Thursday Thought.

C.S. Lewis  once said ,"You're never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." The year is about halfway over but that doesn't mean it is too late to make some positive changes in your life. What you do you want to achieve and accomplish in life? Now is the time to go after it.

May 4, 2015

Summer 2015 Bucket List

The weather here has been really nice lately, in fact it has started to feel a bit like summer. When the sun comes out and the temperatures start to rise, I can't help but daydream about the summer adventures that lay ahead. Last summer we did so many amazing things, I'm not sure we will be able to top it. We can sure try though.

Without further ado here is this summers bucket list in no particular order.

1. Watch the local drag races.
2. See a movie at the drive-in movie theater.
3. Go kayak in the Puget Sound.
4. Go to a Mariners game.
5. Ride the ferris wheel on the pier.
6. Run the Dirty Dash.
7. Run the Color Run.
8. Run the Electric Run.
9. Climb Mt. Adams.
10. Climb Mt. St. Helens.
11. Climb one of the Sisters.
12. Explore the Ape Caves.
13. Visit Seaside.
14. Visit Astoria.
15. Go to Wild Life Safari.
16. Ride a camel.
17. Ride an elephant.
18. Camp in a yurt.
19. Fly in a biplane.
20. Ride the Apple Century (50 miler).
21. Ride the Newport Century (100 miler).
22. Hike Silver Falls.  
23. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
24. Hike Driftwood Falls.
25. Go white water rafting.
26. Go para sailing.
27. Visit the Medford, Oregon Temple.
28. Go to the Science Center in Portland.
29. Go backpacking.
30. Ride my bike around Crater Lake.
31. See the Spruce Goose.
32. Go camping.
33. Hike the Hobbit Trail.

I think the bucket list is off to a pretty good start. If you have any suggestions of places/things we should see or do in Oregon/Washington let me know, I'm open to suggestions.

What fun things do you have planned for the summer?