Thursday, September 28, 2017

Be Yourself

Last week was spirit week at the kids' school.  One of the days was "Be Yourself" day.  I thought Xander might follow the wisdom in this sign that hangs in his room:

I guess he figured he wasn't up to being the caped crusader, so he let his true colors shine through:)


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Silver Lake

Last summer Taylor and Parker decided they wanted to go backpacking with a couple of their friends.  I took their group up to a favorite hike of mine --  Silver Lake in American Fork canyon.  We had a great time, and the boys decided to do it again this year.  So in July, just three short days after we returned from our Alaska Basin trip, we set off again into the wilderness.  (As I was driving home from the Tetons, I was seriously worried about the ability of my legs to recover in time.  Teenagers have no such issues, but as you can see from the videos of me in the water up in Alaska Basin and also on this trip, I am not built like my teenagers!)

Taylor and his friends Cohlton and Brody, Parker and his buddy Austin, had a blast.  The first portion of the hike, up to Silver Lake, isn't too steep.  The payoff is magnificent when you arrive at one of the most beautiful alpine lakes you'll ever come across.  Once at this point we had to jump in:).  







(As I watch this video, a slightly modified Sesame Street song comes to mind "Five of these guys belong together, five of these guys are kind of the same...") 




After Silver Lake, the trail gets super steep for about three fourths of a mile up to Silver Glance Lake, which is where we camped.  The camp spot up there is perfect!

To help get a feel for the steeples of this terrain, look closely for Parker and Austin in the middle of this picture...

Last year this rock was easily accessible.  This year they had to create a bridge with a dead tree to get out there...





I got a new bug net for my hammock:)



Flashlight light sabers!

The next morning we hike up another 1200 feet to the top of Red Baldy, an 11,150 foot peak.  Unbelievable panoramic views!



Taylor found this perfect zen spot last year and made sure to replicate the experience this year.


Mid-July and plenty of snow to sled down:



On the way back down, Taylor wanted to enjoy one last dip in the lake...


I am a lucky dad to have kids who enjoy the outdoors so much.  Great trip!  Love my family and love where we live:)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"The Bye Bye Summertime Blues" or, "Thanks to Simon and Lucy"

The Green family summer officially ended last week.  How do we mark this sad occasion on an annual basis?  It's the week that American Ninja Warrior and America's Got Talent both end 😿.  

There are not many shows we watch together as a whole family.  Besides the logistical difficulty of getting 12 people together at the same time, there is the challenge of finding programs that interest everyone.  Our first foray into a true family television experience was I Love Lucy.  One Sunday afternoon several years ago, the kids were bored.  I invited them to watch one of my favorite comedies and see what they thought.  When I told them it was I Love Lucy, Parker asked if it was in black and white.  After my affirmative response, the invitation had to become a mandate.  One episode was all I would require. Then they could take it or leave it.  We have the entire series on DVD, and before the evening was over, we had watched 11 episodes:).  The kids were hooked.  In the several years since, we have watched the entire series and have come to view the Ricardos and the Mertzs as close family friends.  Thank you Lucy (and Ricky and Fred and Ethel) for providing us so many laughs together.

We would watch these episodes of I Love Lucy on an intermittent basis when we could find the time, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that we began having must-see-TV nights as a family.  Taylor and Parker had started watching American Ninja Warrior.  I had seen clips of it here and there, and was definitely impressed with the strength and the agility of the contestants, but I had not yet caught the vision.  It wasn't until I came across Jessica completely engrossed in an episode that I realized I needed to take note.  Jessica detests watching sports.  She won't watch basketball, baseball, tennis, or anything else even remotely similar.  She decries our Saturdays-in-the-fall college football watching with vehemence.  And yet here she was, cheering on some guy she had no real rooting interest in with all her might.  What was this program that could transcend the pink force field our Jesi had surrounded herself with?  I sat down next to her and the rest is history.  Monday nights through the summer, anyone who is free gathers on the couch to watch these tenacious athletes cheer each other on through brutally difficult obstacle courses.  Sadly, the inspiration they give me to get into shape is counteracted by the bowl of ice cream I'm eating as I watch. 😏

Christi and I started watching episodes of Britain's Got Talent many years ago on youtube.  The American version was ok, but they struggled to get the right mix of judges and hosts.  If you're a fan of BGT, you know that Simon Cowell makes the show and that Ant and Dec are the best hosts ever.  Given that it is very difficult to find BGT episodes online any more, we are so glad that Simon has brought his unique mix of Evil Stepmother and Fairy Godmother across the pond.  Now our summer Tuesdays (and Wednesdays once they drag out the live shows into two nights) are filled with adolescent singers, death-defying rollerskaters, geriatric crooners and all manner of magicians, dancers, ventriloquists, dog acts and other novel forms of really spectacular entertainment.  It has become a very fun tradition that just about everyone in the family can enjoy.  Thank you, Simon, for sharing your creative genius with the world and giving us such spectacular fun.  

It's not the best family picture, but it is a good representation of a large group of us chillin' on the couch, grateful for a big screen TV:).



Monday, September 25, 2017

Sophi Selfies

Sophi loves to take selfies with our phones.  We will often find surprise videos and pictures she has added to our collection ;)






Friday, September 22, 2017

Random Photos

Best friends!


 Christi loves my beard, but she will not come near me with this thing on my face:


Elli taking a break at church...

 What a lucky dad to have so many delightful daughters!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

2017 Scout Camp and High Adventure

Since 2011, I have had the privilege of spending at least two night each summer at scout camp and/or high adventure.  Scout camp is generally for 12-13 year olds.  High adventure is for 14-18 year olds.  This year, the entire group, age 12-18, went to scout camp together for six days up at Island Park Scout Camp in Eastern Idaho.  I was able to make it up and spend half a day with Xander on Thursday morning.  Then I had the unbelievably amazing opportunity to go with seven of the high adventure aged young men (including Taylor and Parker) for a two-night, 22-mile hike in Teton canyon and Alaska Basin Wyoming.  It was an unforgettable adventure I will always cherish.  Thanks to Jordan Johnson for putting it together and taking the time from his busy schedule to guide us!

The morning with Xander was great.  We had a great breakfast, some of which was prepared by Taylor.  Xander spent awhile finishing up a merit badge (he finished six in all! Way to go:)  Then we got to shoot rifles.




Before I arrived, the older scouts did both a low and a high COPE course, shot rifles, and also visited Yellowstone National Park.

They had to help everyone through these ropes without anyone touching the ropes:




Try to keep your balance!






Getting ready to watch Old Faithful erupt:



Bonding time for the boys - Parker putting a ponytail in Taylor's hair :)









The high adventure portion of the trip was incredible.  The first day we hiked in six miles to a perfect campsite.  No facilities, we packed everything in.  As we went through Teton Canyon, we were treated to one of the most scenic trails I've ever been on.  Because of the heavy snowfall last winter, there was still a huge amount of runoff in mid July, resulting in about a dozen 200 foot plus waterfalls cascading down both sides of the canyon.  Amazing!

On the trail!  I love the red backpack to the right.  It's as big as he is!!!



It's so hard to capture the beauty of these waterfalls in an iPhone picture :(


Parker plugs along...

On the trail:




At our campsite:




On day two we hiked six miles around the cirque of Alaska Basin.  We had no idea that in the middle of July we would be hiking on snow.  It was somewhat slushy and we weren't prepared with the best gear.  (We should have had snowshoes!)  But in spite of the additional challenge it presented, we had a great first half of the day.




We seriously hiked through miles of snow that day.  I twisted my ankle three different times.


When we reached the first of the basin lakes, we had another surprise in store.  It was still 70% iced over!  Parker and I have a deal: if he gets in the water, I get in the water.  And he always gets in the water πŸ˜‚.  He was the first one in, but then all but two of our group jumped in as well.

It took a lot a intestinal fortitude to sit in this pond like they were in some warm-water paradise:



After the lakes, we really started to get tired.  Some of the seven young men who were with us were not as experienced and prepared as others, and the snow and elevation gain was starting to wear on them.  But we all decided to continue on until our destination: Hurricane Pass.  Over 10,000 feet in elevation, this is the back entrance to Teton National Park.  If we could reach it, we were supposed to have incredible close-up views of the Teton range.

So. Much. Snow!



After brutal switchbacks and many false peaks (where we thought we would be there over the next ridge, but were not), we finally reached the pass.  There was immediately no question that all of the effort was worth it.  Pictures cannot capture it, but you can get some sense of the ruggedness of these amazing peaks:


Best friends:



The clouds are amazing in this view back over where we had just hiked:



To get back to camp more quickly, we did a variety of things.  For one, we slid down the snow where we could.  This is a much steeper, longer run than it looks on video:


We also took a shortcut trail that made our hike back only about two miles.  But wow were they steep and somewhat treacherous.  We all made it back safely and were so glad to be out of the snow!

The next day we hiked six miles out and drove five hours home.  None of us will ever forget this experience.  I'm so grateful to live in Utah so close to so many natural wonders!