Brownie Updates

Brownie Updates
this is the life

Monday, June 26, 2017


I do believe that it is very hip to set your hammock up anywhere and anytime you can these days. It just so happens that Anthony and I both have two hammocks and so we have tried to take advantage of it this summer. Hammocks are so comfortable. And it really is fun to to lay in them and just relax, especially if it is Sunday.

Our first trip was up Hobble Creek Canyon to the Rotary Park. This was actually on a Saturday. We headed up in the evening and just kind of chilled in our hammocks until dark.
 We tried a double stack. I almost died getting up there but I made it.
 It was a fun evening.
 Last night we went up to Payson Lakes. We got up there a little after 8 and just enjoyed watching the sunset. Anthony took lots of pictures. I just sat and laid in the hammock.
 The water on the lake was so calm.
 Me posing for Anthony:)
 We started at this spot and then moved across the lake so we could watch the sunset.
 I was actually out over the lake in my hammock. it was a little sketchy.
 The view from Anthony's hammock.
It really was so beautiful last night. We stayed up there until 10pm. It was 55 degrees. It was so fun to watch the starts a[[ear in the skies. I think I may have found my favorite Sunday activity.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Capitol Reef

There is one National Park in Utah I haven't had the chance to visit . . . . . Capitol Reef. I am so excited I can finally cross that off my list!

So excited I had to take a jumping picture.

 Hannah was willing to come knock this little gem off my list. We headed out Friday after our weight lifting class. You know workout for an hour and then sit in a car for three so you can barely walk. Her aunt and uncle let us borrow their tent trailer so we were super excited to give it a try.
 We stayed at Wonderland RV park. It was great. Very clean and friendly. It was only 8 miles from the entrance to the park. After we set up camp we headed into the park. It was already the middle of the afternoon so it was pretty hot.

We went to the visitors center first so we could see what activities we really needed to do. A kind ranger helped us figure out a 24 hour plan for Capitol Reef that fit our desires.

Stop #1 The Gifford store and farm
This was a great stop during the day while it is hot. The store is cute and sells yummy homemade treats. The farm is gorgeous and you can pick and eat the fruit in season. Currently it is apricots and they were delicious. This was my first time using this handy tool to pick fruit. You can see the cool barn in the background.
Stop #2 The Scenic Drive
This is a 10 mile one way out and back road that lets you look at the beautiful scenery the park has to offer. We stopped and took some pictures along the way.
 We finally killed enough time to let the temperature drop just enough to allow us to hike safely.

Stop #3 Cassidy Arch
This is a little hike that was about 3.3 miles total. It was rated strenuous but I would not rate it that way. You climb quite a bit in the beginning but there is a lot of level walking. There is not a lot of shade. Lots of water is a must.
 There was a little cave to climb in
 The arch is cool because you can actually go stand on it. We had the worst lighting possible but what do you do.
 You are also kind of far away when you are taking the picture.
 It was a fun little hike but very hot.

Stop #4 Petroglyphs
 I don't have a picture but we stopped and did a short little walk to see the petroglyphs. Something Capitol reef is known for.

Stop #5 Hickmans Bridge
Hickman's brisge is a short 2 mile loop to a bridge (or another arch, someone please explain the difference). The sun had finally set at this point so we had a nice little walk that wasn't too hot.
 By the time we got back to the car and out of the park it was dark. Just in case you ever go to Torrey Utah the town shuts down at 9pm. We missed the shut down time so we got to eat snacks for dinner. It was fine but kind of funny.

We headed back to our camp had amazing showers and slept for the night, well tried to sleep. It was really windy.

Stop #6 Capitol Reef Sign
We needed documentation that we were actually in Capitol Reef

 Stop #7 Hike Sulphur Creek
This hike was not in the books I had looked at but one the ranger suggested. It is a five mile through hike that ends at the visitor center. You hike past three different waterfalls so we were game. It starts off very hot and dry. Two miles in you come to the first waterfall.

That's it back there. We were underwhelmed.
But I did hold up an entire rock. That was much more impressive than the waterfall.
 I didn't take anymore pictures of the water falls because they just got smaller as the hike went on. The waterfalls were small but it was nice for the three miles of the hike that you spent walking in water. There are some technical spots so you would need to help smaller children down off the rock shelves but definitely family friendly. It really was gorgeous.
Once you are off the trail you either have to walk 3.3 miles back to your car or hitch hike. We hitch hiked while walking. After about a half mile someone picked us up. Maybe it was the 100 degree weather that convinced him!
 We got a sweet ride to our car in the back of a pick-up truck. Thank you!
 Stop #8 Slackers Diner
The weather was now in the triple digits so all hiking was suspended for the afternoon. We made our way back to Torrey and tried out Slackers. There is a reason the line was long. It was delicious.
 Stop #9 Yuba Lake
It was so hot and we had never seen Yuba lake and it is on the way back to Provo. Don't let this picture fool you this place was NUTS! So many people. I don't know how I got a picture where the lake looks empty.
We swam for a little bit and then lounged in hammocks while we dried off.
 It was a great way to end our trip. We decided we should probably go back and camp at Yuba Lake someday. Also I would love to hike some of the longer rim trails in Capitol Reef when it isn't this hot. It was fun to explore new places and be outside. I am feeling very lucky to have a friend that is also a teacher. It is keeping my summer life more exciting.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hiking Close to Home

I love to hike! I just really enjoy being outside in the beautiful weather. It is a little bit trickier when it is so hot but I still love it. Moki loves when I hike as well. She loves to run all over any mountain. Recently we have done a few of my favorites.

We hiked Squaw Peak. This one is for those that like to torture themselves. Not really but it is a little over seven miles round trip and very steep. The way up is great cardio, the way down kills my knees. I prefer going up. The view is worth all the work.
 Hannah and Moki hiked with me on this day. It was a cooler day and it was crazy windy. We didn't stay on top for too long.
Moki was not afraid to get too close to the edge. This hike offers some of the best views of Utah county.
It really is gorgeous.
 Hannah and I went straight from hiking to our workout with Celissa. We were really tired that night.

On another day Amber and I decided to pull a double header. We haven't done one of those in a while. That is where we do two exercise sessions in one day. We biked 38 miles in the morning and then after lunch hiked Stewart Falls. If you live in Utah you should hike Stewart Falls. Very family friendly. Fun waterfall at the end to play in. Lots of shade along the way. It was a hot day in the valley but much cooler at the trail-head.

It is still so green up the canyon.
 This hike starts at Aspen Grove on the Alpine Loop.
Moki loves any hike that involves water.
We got so much water this winter that there is still quite a bit coming off of the falls. It was providing a very nice mist. Such a nice hike.
One day I was able to show Hannah one of my favorite hikes. Silver Lake. I love love love this hike. It is kind of a pain to get to but it is always worth it. It is up the American Fork Canyon. It is a pretty moderate 4.8 mile hike. The great thing is that you start at a lake and then you hike to a beautiful lake you can swim in.

The snow was still there this year. I still got in up to my shoulders but it was so cold. We were also there in the evening so that didn't help the swimming situation.

 Moki didn't care that the water was cold she was in heaven.
 Moki loves to retrieve sticks from the water. Every time she got out she would head towards Hannah to shake:)
 Dogs are so annoying.
 After the hike we set up hammocks and watched the sun go down. It was a gorgeous evening.
  I have also had the chance to hike the Y some mornings with Jacqui Carter from my ward. Those are early mornings but I never regret getting up early once I finish the hike.

I have also been trying to get lots of miles on my bike. I love spending time outdoors in the summer!

Backyard Remodel

After girls camp was finished I wanted to do at least one project in my home. You know one that costs a little more than you planned and takes way more time and effort. Yes one of those. I decided to do my backyard. Mainly because I knew it could be a fun little hang out place with a little work and because I have really given it very minimal attention since I moved in years ago. So this is the mess I was starting with . . . . .
 You can see the weeds were out of control. Moki also thought she owned the backyard and she just pooped wherever she felt like it. Once I decided to go for the change I watched and read a ton of Do It Yourself stuff on the internet to familiarize myself with the process for what I was trying to accomplish.
 When it is weeded it did look better but it still was not a place I would go to hang out. Or even GO!!! It was just a poop place with a shed for some stuff.
 My goal was to create a space where I could hang out outside, especially in the evenings when it was cooler. I knew for sure a porch swing needed to be part of the deal.

Day 1:
The first step was to remove all the pavers, grow boxes and weeds. It was a hot week so this was a long and tiring day. My arms were so sore from wheeling those heavy pavers!!! This part of the project took me about a half a day. 5 hours or so. Caleb came over that evening and went to Home Depot with me. We bought all the materials and built a poop box for Moki.

Day 2:
The next morning I turned over all the dirt. I also had to take out some dirt. I put some in the poop box and hauled a lot of it to the dumpster. That was dirty and tiring. Once that was done I bought gravel and sand. 20 fifty pound bags of this gravel stuff and 10 fifty pound bags of sand. I needed to create a level and somewhat softer surface. I rented a compactor from Home Depot to help with that.

The yard after I turned over all the dirt because I don't have a rototiller. Ready for the compactor. Luckily Hannah, a teacher from work that I am friends with, came and spent the ENTIRE day helping me try and figure out how to do this crazy project.
 Lots of rocks and sand in piles to add to the dirt.
 Once the dirt was compacted we added a layer of gravel and compacted that. Then we added a layer of sand and compacted that. It was finally looking good and flat.
 I decided I wanted artificial turf. it seems like less maintenance and it really is a small space. Caleb came to help me lay the turf. I worked from 9am until 12:30am with the help of Hannah and Caleb. When Caleb left for the night the turf was in place and cut. We had just ran out of lawn spikes. So I needed to make a Home Depot run and then put sand on top of the turf and rake the turf the next day.

Day 3
I woke up the next morning and went to Home Depot for what seemed like the millionth time:) I got home and started putting in the last of the 6 inch spikes/nails. Jana and Benji were nice enough to come over and spend their morning helping me put sand on top of the turf and raking the turf.
 Once that was done I got to go shop for a swing!!! I was really excited about the swing. I think because Father's Day was coming up there were not a lot of swing options. They were sold out at a few stores but I found one I really liked at Lowes. It is so comfortable.
 Then I finished off the backyard with a tiny sand box, pool for Moki, chairs and a fire pit. It is awesome. I am so in love with it.
 It took me all of day three to get everything looking like the above picture. I worked right up until my 8:15 basketball game. After the game Caleb and Anthony came and hung out while I put together the fire pit.

The next day was Friday and I wanted to use the backyard so I invited Sam and Amanda and crew down to visit. The pool was a HIT!
 So was the sandbox. Andrew stayed the night with me and the first thing he did when he woke up the next morning was go play in the sandbox.
And Andrew loved making smore's.
 I can't be held accountable for how many marshmallows Andrew ate, but look how happy he is!
 Overall this was a good project. It took three long days but it has been so fun to have a place to hang out. I have since had two other nights with fires and both were so fun. It is a great space that I am excited to enjoy. I was so grateful to those that helped me pull it off. The best thing is that I only went $27 over my budget!

This project was done the week leading up to Father's Day. I knew Father's day was going to be hard for me. I think this project helped prepare me for the sadness I would feel. I really feel a huge sense of loss when I do a project or my car breaks. I would always talk with my dad about these things and it is so hard to not be able to pick up the phone and get his opinion. I really HATE that. But I also really loved doing a project that I knew he would want to be a part of and help me do. It was a good time remembering so many great things about my Dad. And it didn't hurt that he taught me that I can work hard!


Amber and I decided we needed a weekend away. We debated for awhile on where to go. In the end Moab was a great option for us. I could bring...