July was a busy and fabulous month. We had many adventures (and a few misadventures). Read on for more details.
Last year, we went backpacking over the 4th of July. It was such a great experience, we decided we wanted to do another backpacking trip this year. We snagged some permits earlier this year to backpack to Crater Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. We were supposed to go with some friends, but it didn’t end up working for them so Noel invited his sisters and cousins to join us. Several of them did. It was a tough trip and I think many of them will think twice before agreeing to do anything with us again, but for me it was in my top five trips ever.
It was a tough 8 mile hike to get to Crater Lake, especially with packs. Noel, Cooper, and I left the group to get to camp a little sooner. We set up our stuff and then Noel and I went back to get the others. In the process of going back to find everyone, I lost my phone. This is something that usually would send me into a panic, but I felt really calm about it. I prayed that I’d be able to find it and began to retrace my steps. I retraced my steps quite a bit, but still didn’t find it, but still felt really calm. I decided to head back to help Noel bring the others in. I ran into Jessie and Ellen first. Jessie handed Ellen off to me and went back to get the others. After I got Ellen to camp I headed back out again. I kept looking for my phone, but still didn’t see it. When I ran into the group, Jessie had found my phone. She said it was just lying on the side of the trail. We’d crossed boulder fields, streams, and really muddy areas; it felt like a miracle that it was found and completely undamaged. Danielle (Noel’s sister), Annie (Noel’s cousin), and Greg (Annie’s fiance) had all come from low elevation and were struggling. Noel had taken over someone’s pack and I took another one. Noel stayed with the group and I ran the pack I’d taken back to camp. I returned again and took another pack. We got everyone into camp well after dark. We’d had all these plans to celebrate the fourth of July, but everyone was pretty tired so we decided to postpone. We made dinner and got to bed around midnight.
We spent the next day checking out the lake. It was so unbelievably gorgeous – wildflowers, waterfalls, rugged peaks. We soaked our tired feet and the kids swam. In the afternoon, it rained and we played cards in the tent. The only thing that wasn’t perfect was the mosquitos. We had to constantly reapply our bug repellent, but other than that I was seriously in heaven.
That evening, we made cocoa and ate our fourth of July cookies while we stared at the mountains. The kids entertained us with a glow stick light show. I felt full of awe for nature and love for my family. It was basically my idea of a perfect evening.
The next morning, I woke up and went to watch the sun rise. Noel joined me and it was another moment I wanted to freeze in time and play over and over again. We packed up camp and headed back down the mountain. I seriously got teary-eyed as we said goodbye to the lake. It’s hard to explain, but being there was like a spiritual experience for me. My faith has struggled this last year and I felt the spirit more strongly in those mountains than I had in awhile. We had to make decent time because Danielle needed to catch a flight back home. The kids started to struggle as we got closer to the trailhead and it became hotter, but they were troopers. We got Danielle back with enough time to eat pizza and take a shower before catching her flight.
Back at home, we resumed regular life. We finished out Ellen’s summer soccer program. We played the same team every game and lost every. single. time. We only had one practice under 90 degrees. There were a lot of hard things about it (such as coaching my own headstrong child), but after the final game was over, everyone stayed and played long after the other team had left the field. The other coach and I said all along that this was just about learning skills and having fun, so on that front we absolutely succeeded.
It was a hot July (hello, Global Warming!). It gave us ample opportunities to use our backyard pool and visit the city outdoor pool. The kids, by the way, are too cool to be seen with me at the pool which is sad.
We also had several miscellaneous small adventures (pictured above). Noel and I ran a lot (pictured below).
Noel and I also went on a date! And ate at an actual restaurant! (Technically outside on the patio, baby steps people.) For our date we were also able to go to one of our church’s temples. It had been well over a year since we’d been able to go and it was much needed. They required reservations and the reservation email said masks were required, but then we got there and we were the only people wearing masks. The fact that I didn’t have a panic attack and run out of the building speaks volumes about how peaceful the temple is for me. We finished the evening with a trip to Ikea where the one thing we were looking for was not in stock (though it said it was online), but somehow we managed to find a bunch of other things to buy. That sums up July and all it’s adventures.