Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Time We Found Paradise

I had heard about this magical tropical oasis in the middle of the Grand Canyon for a few years.... but it wasn't until Craig went last year to celebrate his first year of Med school ending that I knew it really was worth all the hype.... How did I know?  When Craig said, "Kristin, it is better than Disneyland."

So somehow I convinced my adventurous cousin Erica and her geologist husband Mark to make the trek with us.  Yes, we are planning on returning soon.  And yes, I don't think it is going to be hard to convince them to go back!

Now I recognize sometimes I tend to exaggerate.  I like to live in the moment and so there are many places that are the best places ever, the most magical, the most beautiful.  But I can not think of a place on earth that could top what we saw in our short visit.  It was fun planning for and packing for such a unique trip.

So without further ado.... our trip to Havasupi.

Team Montana vs. Team St. George

For those that don't know.... Havasupi starts with an 8 mile hike down to the village called Supai.  It's a drop of 2,500 feet deep into a tributary canyon of the Grand Canyon.  If you look close in the first picture you can see the beginning of the switchbacks...

The view of where we were headed.........
and one view of the canyon along the way.

I had seen pictures of Havasupai.  I knew the water in the pools was going to be a brilliant blue.  I still don't know what I was expecting and why I was so blown away when I saw the creek for the first time.  It was unbelievable.  I had never and probably never will see anything like it.  It wasn't just the pools that were brilliant, everywhere the water was, it was that color!
The village of Supai was WAY more advanced than I was expecting.  Sure everything in the village has to either be horsed in (including the mail), hiked in, or brought in by helicopter but it was still a pretty impressive little village with two grocery type stores, a cafe, a huge nice community center and a few churches including an LDS church house.
We had heard all sorts of horror stories of wild dog packs, mean locals, and animal cruelty.... and I am happy to report besides vicious squirrels that eat through any pack in reach and a poor colt that broke a leg.... all rumors or horror stories were that.... stories.

So from the village we hiked the last "two" miles to the camp.  I used quotation marks because because this was hands down the hardest part of the trip.  I thought the only fresh water was in the village so we loaded up on 6-7 liters of water each adding 12-14 pounds to our already heavy packs.......... AND it was now almost noon making it a blistering 100 degrees with the sun beating down on us through soft sand.  But man oh man was it worth when we saw this.

So that night we set up camp and enjoyed time in Havasupai Falls for the rest of the evening.  The next day we got up and made the venture down stream.  Once again I had no idea what to expect.  So when we saw this "cave" that said enter at your own risk...... of course we went for it.
the cave led to another cave and then to a long climb down to the falls.
and then you saw this.......................

we spent the rest of the day swimming, hiking through the water to other falls, and just having the time of our lives.

This area the water was seeping through the rock... like Weeping Rock in Zions?  But it was so brilliant green with lush vegetation!  It was unreal.

Jason thinking of what type of flip to do.

 Every turn we made we had to laugh.  It was so unique, so beautiful, so picture perfect, EVERYWHERE!

It was unreal.  Words can't describe how incredible the experience was.  We got up early the next morning to hike out.  It was a glorious trip.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Apartment Search...

First.  If you want to get into the real estate market.... you know buying places and making money off them.... Orem/Provo is the place to do it.  I thought I knew it.... but I had no idea until now.  I'm sure there is a lot a money in the "singles" apartment market... but I think married housing is the way to go.  There is less hassle, kept cleaner, and I think a more desperate need.

Now if only I had a few hundred thousand dollars to throw around....

(The rest of this post is probably pretty boring. Just to warn you.)

So Jason and I moved down to St. George for the summer for a few key reasons.
- an empty condo with our name on it. (thanks mom and dad)
- Dixie State is $300 cheaper than UVU
- Dixie State is way more laid back especially in the summer.
- a fun exciting place for both of us.
- my own pool.  (extremely important)

but the best selling point for me in why we should go to St. George for the summer is to get to move out of our current apartment in Orem.  Hallelujah.

So I started searching for different places to live in the Orem/Provo area when we return in August.  I really wanted to live in Provo for two reasons.  Provo is so much prettier than Orem and Google Fiber.

So here is exactly what I wanted.
- North Provo
- 2 bedrooms
- a garage for Jason to put all his tools in so we don't have to have a storage unit any longer
- grand total for everything (rent, garage/storage unit, utilities, internet) under $1000.

That doesn't sound too difficult right?  I mean this is Utah Valley.  There are probably more rental units per capita than anywhere else in the world.  (Ok, that's a gross exaggeration but still)

Well long story short, after hours of searching, calling, applying, and straight out begging...followed by stressing..... lots of stressing......... we got our dream condo!

I'm pretty excited to get in there and make it our own!  (If you noticed I never put pictures up of our last apartment.... that's how thrilled I was about it)  This place will be different.

 Out our balcony you see this....
 and literally across the street is this trail....

add hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, huge master bathroom with walk in closets, a guest bathroom and bedroom on the opposite side of the condo, and I have to say.... I couldn't be happier.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

God's Beauty

We were watching the preview for Disney's new plane movie last night and I got thinking.  You see in Disney's new Plane movie (I haven't seen any of the previous movies) of course the Planes are off doing Plane things..... flying.  The preview shows the planes flying over Yosemite.  It was so beautiful.  I was thinking about how even when artist try.... nothing seems as beautiful as the world that God has already created.  Sure we could argue that it imaginary isn't as beautiful to us because it isn't real but still... no one can argue how beautiful the world is.

Yesterday I couldn't believe how beautiful the world was once again.  We went on a hike.  I almost hesitate even describing the location of this beautiful hike because it's pretty unknown in an area around that thousands of people travel from around the world.  Less than 45 minutes from our house... and FREE.  It was beautiful because of the breathtaking cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls, canyons, deep green oasis in the middle of a desert.  But it was even remarkable because no one was there.  No handrails, no mobs of people, no signs saying don't climb here or feed the animals.... it was amazing.  Once again it made me appreciate God and the world He created.

There's something magical about being alone in nature.  Something that even Disneyland can't replicate.  So today I just want to write about how grateful I am for His creations.  And of course our ability to view it, experience it, and hopefully try and appreciate it.

I didn't bring my camera or phone so I stole some pictures from the internet to try and capture what it looked like while we were hiking... and a few from my brothers phone!

Yes the water was cold....... especially at the beginning of the day.  By the end we were jumping from pool to pool.

The group that went... minus the photographer, my dad.

What a great day.  And if you want to go on this hike with us...... we'd LOVE to go again :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer of 2004.

10 years.  I honestly can't believe it.  Summer of 2004, one of the funnest summers of my life.  I can faintly hear the Mad Caddies, No Use for a Name, and AFI playing the background.  I can smell banana laffy taffies and Charleston Chews mixed with Diet Dr. Pepper from Horky's.  Long summer nights followed by WAY too early 6:30 aerobics classes I was teaching...  Monkey Rock. Oh Monkey Rock.

(If I was up North right now I'd go through my scrapbooks and find all sorts of incriminating pictures from that summer.... luckily for me and Sharla my scrapbooks are 4 hours away)

As I was sitting in the Taylor Building for the first time in 10 years remembering my second to last semester at BYU-Idaho.... I was thinking how differently I view things than I did 10 years ago.

So often I dream about what it would be like to be able to go back and just be a fly on the wall in a previous time.  Not even try and change things.  Just be a fly.  Watch.  Observe.  Imagine what we could learn.

So what have I learned in the last 10 years of life?

Really I know that I haven't learned that much.  I realize that I will view this current stage I am in life and laugh when I look back and think that I thought I actually knew something during the summer of 2014.  But I do think it's good to look back and remember.  Stew over it.  And realize that we have learned something.

I think the two most important things I have learned in the last 10 years are, in no particular order.

1. Life never goes the way you planned.  (I know pretty cliche right?)  I think I would have probably stated that even 10 years ago.  But here is the hard lesson I seem to learn over and over again.  Life doesn't go the way you plan but that doesn't mean you aren't being blessed.  That doesn't mean that you aren't living righteously enough.  Even if you live a life exactly as the Gospel and Christ taught, things still aren't always going to go as planned.  But the good part about this is, sometimes they go better.  Sometimes they don't.  But it has nothing to do with being blessed.

2. There is only one thing in life you can count on, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The only thing.  If your faith, your security, your foundation is based off anything else it will crumble.  Your family, your talents, your job, your friends, your boyfriends, heck even your body will fail you.  And it seems that as soon as you start to lean on something other than the Gospel, that thing will get knocked right out from under you so fast that you won't know what hit you.  So make sure the Gospel is always number 1.  Nothing can and will bring you peace, security, and ultimiately happiness like the Gospel.

For 10 years you would think I would have learned more.  Maybe the importance of sunscreen or the evils of sugar..... but alas the good thing is I have another 60 years to keep learning.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Oh Idaho.

It was funny listening to my dad try and describe what Idaho is like during the summer.  He stumbled over so many words but then finally said, "You can just feel it.  You know it.  It's God's Country."  I couldn't agree more.  I love Idaho Summer more than anything.  And the great news is.... I think Jason felt it.  Not a lot.  He's not begging to return.... but I think he's starting to get it.  So here we go...... to Idaho.  
I don't I can't seriously capture it.  But nothing beats an Idaho sunset.  This was
taken on our drive up just north of Malad.
 We stayed at my dear cousin Franci's house on the butte outside Menan.  It's in the middle of absolutely no where but when I went for a run the next morning along the river.... I didn't complain.

After my 4th of July run, we headed to Rexburg for the end of the parade.... but this next picture is most important for my family.  Two of the best things are together.... McDonalds and the Rexburg Temple.  Yes Rexburg now has two McDonalds.  Kinda a big deal.

 Later that day we headed out to the farm in Lewisville.  The farm belongs to my Uncle Nils' parents.  But for anyone that hasn't been lucky enough to head out there, I honestly don't know if there are words to describe it.  It doesn't matter who you are, how you are related, or if you are related for that matter.... you are welcome.  Not only are you welcome everyone is thrilled you are there.  Grandma and Grandpa Lindstrom are so wonderful and have always treated me as if I was one of their own.  So of course they are now taking Jason under their wing.  Grandpa can't wait to take Jason up in his flying machine.  Anyway, here is a picture when we took off on someone's 4-wheeler to ride along the river.
 Later we floated in a double tude down the river with Nils, Brita and her kids, Alina and her kids, and my cousin Tinell's husband and their kids.  It was a party.  We then hopped on Nils' brothers wave runner and drove up and down our own private river.  It was amazing.

That night rather than fight with the thousands of people that went to watch "the best firework show this side of the Mississippi" we stayed at the farm and watched $600 worth of illegal fireworks they got from Wyoming.  I love fireworks it's true.  But the fact is no firework show can compete with Disneyland so rather than fight through the traffic of Idaho Falls this homemade show was way better.

 Sadly I didn't get enough pictures......... but luckily my cousin Myra's talented husband made this cute little video of all the kids.
The next morning Jason went shooting with the family.  I wish I could describe in detail why this shooting experience was so cool.... but sadly I just don't understand.  I just know it was hands down the coolest shooting experience Jason has ever had.


We headed over to Jackson Hole with a lot of the Leon Parson family.  Jason and I drove separate because I was dying to see if I could find this sandwich place.  See... one time like 5 years ago....
Lars and I had this great idea to drive from Rexburg up through Yellowstone and down through Grand Teton National Park.... to Jackson and back to Rexburg....  What we didn't understand was..... this was like a 12 hour drive. No. Joke.  And that 12 hours...... no food.  None.  By the end we were dilierious. And we finally stumbled upon a small sandwich shop that was one of the only places open in Jackson.  (It was late October so it was the off season, too cold for summer travelers but no snow for skiing)  I remember it was the most delicious sandwich I had ever eaten.  Great new is.  It did not disappoint.  It was just as delicious as I remembered.

 Then we met up with all of the families in the park for the iconic Jackson Hole Antler picture.... Oh and of course one of me and Franci in the flowers.

 Then we stopped at Yippee-I-O Candy Shop...... yes, that was it's name.  It was darling.

Then Jason and I went with my cousin Justin and his family to ride the Alpine Slide.  It was a blast!!!

The View

Of course I didn't get a picture with the whole group but it was so fun!

After dinner at a hole in the wall pizza joint, we headed back to Rexburg.......... Man oh man the Tetons rock my world every time.

That night we met Jason's little brother Jared at Sammy's in Rexburg for shakes.  The next morning we jointed him at the singles ward on BYUI campus...... first off let's just say I couldn't resist taking a picture of how they fixed the Hymn book...... #onlyinIdaho

 But as I was sitting in the Taylor Building listening to these clueless 20 year olds I got a bit nastogic.  It's been 10 years since I last attended sacrament meeting in the Taylor Building.  10 Years.  Holy Moly.  I thought about what I've learned and how I've changed in that 10 years.  Don't worry, it's another blogpost..... But man time flies....
 It was a wonderful weekend with so many people that I love so dearly.  Idaho.  You've done it again.  Somehow you always steal my heart.