Wednesday, September 30, 2009

well friends...

It's been awhile since i wrote a post about Starbucks Coffee.

I just was wondering if you remember my mentioning Starbucks VIA Instant Ready Brew last year? Well, it was on the test market in Seattle and Chicago and was only available to us there. Just wanted to let you know that it is now available to YOU EVERYWHERE. seriously.

And I promise that they will be giving out free samples right now and they are organizing taste tests at your local starbucks this Friday through Monday, so go get some!

I am getting ready to leave for my first convention this fall and I am making sure to pack my VIA. I don't have time to get breakfast at the hotel in the morning (because it takes me WAY long to actually do my hair and makeup in the morning since i haven't really done that Haley's wedding in March. not liein') so i just bring some packages of oatmeal and Starbucks VIA and I am good. And it's cheaper.

A cold front has moved into Utah and there is supposed to be snow in the mountains with these crashing temperatures and pouring rain. It's actually really nice for a change and I'm finding myself a bit bummed that i'm leaving now that the weather has finally turned autumn. But then i realized, that i'm going to PORTLAND, surely i'll catch a bit of rain while i'm there. seriously 3 days in Oregon give me very good odds for precipitation right? Well, not that i want to wear my Marmot hardshell over my fancy schmancy Ann Taylor suit as I walk from my hotel to the convention center.

These conventions are so important in my acquiring new sponsors for our sweet little kiddies. This will be my fourth fall of traveling to teacher conventions with my sign and student pictures in tow. I have tried many different ways of getting peoples' attention: giving out free candy, being pushy, and the way that i've reverted to: praying constantly. Yesterday I started praying that God would be preparing peoples' hearts already to encounter my student profiles. It's a tricky thing, since i'm not "selling" anything. I don't want to talk someone into a one time commitment by making them feel guilty or getting them momentarily excited. We ask for a LONG TERM commitment to these kids every month throughout the remainder of their schooling. So I know that this is something that must be on a person's heart before they see me standing there with these beautiful children.

So these trips are spent in a lot of prayer. And God has always been faithful to bring people to support these children. I am just amazed. Though with the current economic times, we have had many sponsors drop their sponsorship this summer and I have many many kids who have been receiving support who do not now have it. And it makes me concerned for these kids. We need many new sponsors this year.

Maybe after you read this, please just say a quick prayer for me and pray for the hundreds of children that I represent - that God will bring them a sponsor. I would really appreciate the prayer support. Thanks!

Catch up with you again this weekend. Hope you have a fantastic rest of your week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

watch me wild and free

(photo by John and Ketura)

One thing that I've said that i miss most about Colorado is the ability to enjoy the outdoors on a whim:

 "I miss going rock climbing after work whenever we feel like it, or going to the Garden to run the trails before sunset, or making a bonfire in the mountains with friends on a random Friday night" and the list goes on.

So yesterday after Landon got done with his classes and some additional studying and after i closed out my day of work, he says to me, "want to go up into Ogden and climb before it gets dark?"

My reaction was, "what!? are you crazy?!"

All that went through my head was the work that i needed to get done before i leave for Portland Convention tomorrow morning and the fact that i want my tulips planted before the first frost, which very well could be Wednesday (forecast for snow!), and that i had a yummy dinner planned, and we would only get 2 hours of climbing in before sunset anyway, and it was rush hour, and, and, and....

AND then I realized that i certainly haven't gotten too old, too boring, too busy to reject a random evening of outdoor fun with the man of my dreams. HELLO!!! This is what you've been complaining about missing for the past 2 years! 

In less than five minutes we were in the VW driving 89 parallel to the mountains, amazed at the beauty of the beginning of fall among the forests along our drive: brilliant reds and oranges wihtin the green. With the windows down and 80's power ballads on the radio, headed to a new crag with my beautiful and smiling husband - i couldn't have been happier.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"The Scripture of Nature": our National Parks

(photo by Patrick Smith)

Utah has more National Parks than any other state in the lower 49. (although the picture above is of Yosemite National Park in CA - not sure why I chose that pictures besides the fact that it's breathtaking) I love the idea of National Parks and I am proud that past leaders in our country took the initiative to preserve the beautiful places. I have only been able to watch a snippet of this video since it's a work day, but so far it is really awesome. Will have to watch the rest tonight. Maybe you'll like it too.

check out this video:
 National Parks: America's Best Idea

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Climbing Maple Canyon

Yesterday we climbed Maple Canyon.

(as always, click on images for a better idea)

A two hour's drive south of Salt Lake City past Provo through a rural community (called Freedom - next to Jerusalem), lies a beautiful canyon with truly unique rock. Because this canyon is slathered with maples, we were hoping to see some amazing fall foliage, but it looks like we were a bit too early. Maybe we'll have to plan a camping trip in a couple of weeks.

I've never climbed cobblestone before. Linds, Brandon, Aaron and Sara, I got this close up just for you!

This stuff was crazy to climb. Our first few runs we came down super pumped and exhausted because these walls were very steep and over hanging, so you're making big moves for these huge jugs that you see everywhere and they end up to be  crazy slopers. so we were sliding off our holds and getting really tired because it took a lot longer to make the moves because we had to find good hand holds even though the feet were sure.

Eventually we knew what to look for: the best holds were the pockets where the rocks USED to be. Landon and i were trying to decide if the first climb that we did was ACTUALLY the hardest climb or if it was the hardest because we were getting introduced to this crazy cobblestone. It was awesome.

Here's a booty shot of me on that first climb. "What the heck is this stuff!?"

Landon on rappel.

This is from Duvick's point of view. Whenever Duvick sees Landon starting to descend a climb, he get's so excited. He'll seriously watch Landon the entire time. So cute.

This wall is called "the pipeline" because everything is super overhanging and it's actually shaped exactly like a pipeline. Wish i had a better picture. It was crazy.

Here's Landon in "the Pipeline". Unfortunately, i didn't get a good shot of him at the anchors of this climb. This climb was really really steep. Can't tell as well in the picture. Landon was awesome.

Aw. my boys. Don't they look so happy together? They really love each other.

Having fun. And a little FYI: those cutsie earrings I'm wearing are a handmade gift to me by a very good friend who has a really awesome etsy shop.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Visitation

I have been letting this post sit in my browser for a very long time this morning. I even published it on my blog and then quickly went back and deleted it. argh.  In the past i would just save it as a draft and never actually post it - but since earlier this week i have committed to sharing more of my heart, and by the encouragement of my husband (who actually hasn't read this yet - he's finishing writing a paper), i'm putting this out there for you to read. And there are some of you who "know that this church is true" to whom this may seem very offensive. but certainly know that you are just as dear to me, though maybe i may seem as more of a hopeless case to you.

(photo by Alex Mahan)

So we had our second visit with the Mormon missionaries last night. Both Landon and I were disappointed. I guess we just had such a large chunk of time with them last week and brought up some interesting topics, we were really looking forward to seeing them this week. But they came 30 minutes late, and then only had 30 minutes to go over lesson one with us until their next meeting with someone else.

It was kind of like tug-of-war. I mean, i read over that booklet they gave us really intently and wrote questions and found scripture references. Landon read it also. I guess as a Lit major in college, it bugs me when someone gives me a piece of literature for homework and then when we get together we just pretty much regurgitate and repeat the text. Those were the classes that i ditched in college - if we weren't going to elaborate on the writing then i had no point in going to class if i can read it myself and even do further study at home. It was like that. They were trying to go through the booklet and retell everything that we just read, and we  (actually Landon, i kept pretty quiet) were trying to ask questions and actually talk about what was in the booklet. So they would trudge along, trying to get everything in since we only had 30 minutes. but we wanted to get deeper. It was pretty fruitless. I enjoyed their company immensely - very sweet girls. But when they left, Landon said to me, "that was so frustrating" I agreed. Ha. I wonder how they felt.

Though I was really convicted because when we would bring up questions like, "but what about when the Bible says this" and they would say, "where?" and we look at each other and just said, "hmmm. i don't know". I felt awful that we weren't prepared in knowing our Bible references. Especially because these ladies were whipping out all these scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Maybe next time we will be better prepared. I wish we just had more time, so we could actually FIND those scriptures and talk about them. Maybe next time.

One thing that I have noticed about the Mormon faith, is that they heavily heed the feelings that they receive  as testimonies of truth. The booklet we read (and the women last night) encourage us to just read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to know if it is true. Then if we receive the "feelings" that Galations 5 talks about (being the fruits of the Spirit) then we know that we have a testimony of the truth of Joseph Smith's revelation or a truth about the Book of Mormon or whatever. The way that I've always understood the fruits of the Spirit is not that if you possess those "feelings" then you are receiving a testimony from the Spirit, but rather, that if you possess the Spirit, then those fruits will be revealed IN you. Just like in John when it says that "they will know us by our love" for each other (love being a fruit).  Anyways.... one of the sisters quoted from memory the story of Joseph Smith's revelation from the book of Mormon (this is actually a part of the Book of Mormon that i have read several times - though i haven't read much else) and afterward she asked us if we received any feelings about it.

And while she was quoting this story of both God and Jesus Christ revealing themselves to Joseph Smith to answer his question about which church is the right church, i did have deep feelings in the pit of my stomach rising up through my chest. I did get a knot in my throat. And I definitely think it was from the Spirit. Yet, I think it was a flush of heat and unease as a warning, not as a confirmation.

Ever since I started getting in deeper relationships and involvement with our local ward and my sweet Mormon neighbors, I have been cautious. I am constantly praying that God will continually reveal to me his Truth, and give me huge sensitivity and discernment when it comes to false teaching and prophecy. And I think he has been faithful to answer my prayers (i guess I am trusting in receiving "feelings" from God also, in a way - I think that testimonies of the Spirit are one way that we can know that God is revealing something to us. But I think it must not be the only way).

Of course, my greatest desire is to know God. In order to know him, i must seek him by finding truth and knowing truth. If Joseph Smith's revelation about Christ is true, then it is what i want. But so far, I can not see it as true. And I can not imagine a world where i will ever regard Joseph Smith's revelation as a restoration of Christ's atoning ministry.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The unfortunates

Everywhere we've lived, I've shared with you the little quirky things about living in our actual house. You know that in Kenya we had safari ants, huge slugs, bats in the chimney, concrete floors, and vampire mosquitos that only came out at night. And you know that in Illinois we had big juicy ants in our kitchen cupboards, a full size window in our miniature shower, and tornado warnings every now and then. So I thought i should share a bit about our quirky Utah home.

But first - you know I love it here, right? I do.

Okay, now that that's settled....When we were in Illinois, we noticed these little moths in our home in the dead of winter. I thought it strange to see bugs in the winter time, but i actually realized that bugs come IN in the winter time because it's too cold outside. So these moths were just one of a handful of different kinds of bugs that made their home in our house. They were a neusance, but we never did anything about them, aside from smashing them on the walls.

(photo by David A)
Within the first week of living here, we have seen the very SAME moths. After some online research, Landon discovered that they are called Indian Meal Moths. After reading about these moths, we discovered that it's not the moths themselves that are the pesky part - each moth lives only about a week and during that time, can lay from 50 -500 eggs. And they only lay their eggs beside a food source for their little babies (we definitely moved them here and they multiplied during the 3 months in storage). Gross. So we read about how to get rid of them: we actually threw away ALL the foods that we brought from Illinois (corn meal, grits, spices, pastas, oatmeal, etc...) and in doing so, we actually found many of their little worms. gross. Then i cleaned out the drawers and cabinets with bleach. That was 2 weeks ago. Since then, we have probably killed over 10 more moths (which is much less, but still FRUSTRATING!). The little wormies can chew through paper and plastic, so simply closing boxes, or even taping them shut, does nothing. The only other thing we can do is purge EVERYTHING, bleach every surface of every cabinet, and from now on use tupperware for every. single. thing. argh. Maybe if we were nicer to Illinois, Illinois wouldn't be plaguing us still.

Since we've moved here, I keep hearing noises in my house. Every once in awhile, I have heard a ringing coming from my family room. I walk in there, putting my ear to everything....and finally discovered what it is! And while I'm working alone at home, sometimes I think i hear someone in my house. You know, when it sounds like steps are being taken - like there is actually movement? So i grab my scissors and search for any perpetrators. But there never are any (sometimes this happens more than once a day). The other night while i was asleep, Landon felt the bed vibrating. He thought that it could have been an earthquake (that is rumored to be the most likely natural disaster around here), and then realized that in fact, it was something else....

(photo by Ryan Greenberg)
The ringing in our living room is the wine glasses on the shelves "dinging" against each other ever so lightly but constantly making a ringing come from the shelves. The train tracks are actually SO close to our house that it MOVES the house. The movement we've been feeling and hearing "every so often" we have realized, coincides with the roaring train in our front yard. ha!

(photo by clockmaker)
The last quirky thing: our water. I'm not sure if it's because the ground here is rich with minerals (SALT, for instance, duh), or what, but my neighbors warned me of the "hard water" here. Having never lived in a place with hard water, I thanked them for their warning, and went on about my merry way. We've been here for just a bit over a month now, and I definitely know what they mean. There is a white film on everything that water touches: my amazing showerhead and curtain, and faucet, etc..., Duvick's water bowl, the sink, etc... So we bought a brita water filter for our faucet. So now the minerals are filtered out at least in the water we drink. But we were noticing little floaties in our glasses of iced water and now finally realize that the white floaties come from the ICE. gross. how do you filter your ice machine? And there were two things in the house that we absolutely had to replace because the mineral deposits were so dense that they stopped working. I guess we can attach a water softener to our water tank or something like that. I'm being persuaded to do so more every day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I love writing. Ever since i was a little girl and wrote sillies in my journal every night by flashlight, I've loved it. In college i more seriously contemplated being a writer. So i changed my major (for the 18th time) to English. I took a creative writing class and absolutely loved it, but realized that I wasn't that good, and that the peer critiques were too painful. So I gave up and decided to study literature, which is the opposite of writing. (Well, if there could be an opposite of writing your own words, wouldn't it be reading others'?) And i loved it.

I've had an opportunity to write something significant. And i didn't take it. I didn't want to be labeled by what it was they wanted me to write. Like Stephanie Meyer, for instance, could write something amazing and heartfelt about motherhood, or about God, or about children sold into prostitution. But we would never remember. To us, she is Twilight. And Joshua Harris will never move beyond I Kissed Dating Goodbye, no matter how many books he writes about marriage and ministry. And the opportunity I had was a wonderful one, and one that i used to regret declining. But now i see my friends who had similar opportunities (and took them) whose entire lives are traveling and speaking and writing about the Columbine shooting. And although they are touching lives and they love what they are doing, I'm glad that I said no to the opportunity.

That was confirmed the day that Steve (my patient and amazing editor) told me that if i wasn't going to put out a draft, then i could at least write a book review, he said, "as a Columbine survivor". Which sealed the deal for me: no deal. And i don't regret it. Though at times I have imagined how much easier my life could be if i had taken him up on the amazing opportunity - we would have more money, at least enough that i don't have to work two jobs, maybe a few kids by now, and I think i would really love a life of writing. But, then i would be someone I didn't really want to be. At least now, I can approach the world as completely me. Not as a "Columbine survivor".

But i stopped writing well awhile ago. I was reading our blog from Africa and realized that I used to just pour my heart into those posts. And now I don't. I think realizing the number of people that read my blog made me want to filter my words a bit more. And I don't want to waste your time with my thoughts - you really just want to see the pictures and the happenings so we can stay in touch, right? But maybe I need this blog to be more than that now. And i'm sorry to you. If you are committed to reading this, you should at least get to read something decent. Something thought provoking, or at least enjoyable. I just worry that i get corny or long-winded. I don't promise that this will change. But i'll try. I'll use this as an avenue to challenge myself and enjoy myself in my writing instead of just giving you the nitty-gritty daily stuff. Maybe some more stories? Maybe some more thoughts? Maybe a little more heart? I seriously do appreciate your time in reading my blog - i know that there are many many better blogs out there, and yet you're reading this right now.

So i want to make this worth your while. And i want to make it worth mine as well. Maybe we can enjoy this together.

took the plunge


thanks to Anna and Sara, I'm beginning my two week trial today. I had so much fun looking through the huge selection of movies last night. I think we have about 20 on our list. And i was even more thrilled when i discovered that i didn't have to wait for the mail AT ALL for a few of the selections - they were available to watch immediately on my PC. Awesome. So we watched the first 30 minutes of this amazing documentary, Born into Brothels. If you haven't yet seen it, see it.

p.s. happy fall!

for those of you in GA, keep dry! be safe!

for those of you in CO, enjoy the snow!

those of us here in Utah are enjoying the chilly morning and the sunshine!

Monday, September 21, 2009


(photo by Stephen Laverack)
I'm not sure what to write to you, this Monday morning. I usually do a weekend re-cap, but i did that a little yesterday.

I wish i could write something to encourage you. something profound. Something that makes this particular Monday a great Monday! Because, seriously, Mondays are rough.

They started being rough when we were in grade school. Especially around this time of year. It's a cold walk to school this morning, and though the day should warm into the 70's, this morning is 40-something. i had to shut all the windows in my house and dig deep into my drawers for some wintery warmies. And if i were walking a mile to school today, i know i would have a warm jacket and mittens on, even if they would be useless the rest of the day. And cold Mondays are rough when you're a kid. I would always rather be home watching Dennis the Menace than walking in the cold, worrying about if little what's-his-name would try to kiss me on the playground again during recess. being a kid is rough.

Being an adult brings dreary Mondays as well. I always sleep in a little later on the weekends because i turn off my alarm. Just about an hour later each day, but it makes Monday mornings seem so much earlier. And it's hard to wake, knowing that the beautiful carefree weekend is over and yet another jam-packed work week is upon us. It's rough.

Although i know i am lucky. I do wake with a bummer to my alarm during the week and i do wish for the weekend to come swiftly to rescue me from long work days. But, at least I get to drink my pot of coffee down to the last drop, because i don't leave my home. At least i'm STILL wearing my winter warmies and my work day starts in just 15 minutes....and i have no intention of washing my hair or putting on makeup. I don't have to pack a kid into a car seat and race through rush-hour to get to work on time. I know, i'm pretty lucky to spend my Mondays (and every other day for that matter) in my own house without the frenzy of commuter family mornings.

Landon has it even harder: I've heard his alarm go off probably 8-10 times in the last hour and a half. Mornings are hard for him. Especially when he is up late studying. Especially when the house is cold.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

a little lovin'

just some pics from this last week:

we went rock climbing yesterday. it was nice. i'm sore.

produce from my local farmer's market. our farmer's market is open every thursday evening and i've been there enough to finally know exactly what i want from whom. it's fun to support the locals and it's great to connect with the community. not to mention that the produce is AMAZING. seriously home grown cuc's and tomatoes are significantly better than store-bought.

roses from my garden. yes, every time i walk in the room, they make me smile.

cupcakes revisited:
this week i got together with a neighbor for "breakfast" at cutsiecakes. because there were two of us, we got to try a lot of cupcakes and it was so fun! we got to spend some time talking to the owner. the larger cupcakes are well worth the price. and she had some yummies to choose from. it was a lot of fun.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We knew they would come knocking..

(this picture is not mine, and with new rules from blogger i'm supposed to credit all of the pictures i post. but this picture was saved on my computer a few weeks ago and i have no idea who's it is and couldn't find it again online. i'm sorry, oh brilliant photographer - you are amazing - i am not amazing.)

Yesterday evening, we had some visitors. Quite honestly, my door bell rings AT LEAST once a day with another of my Mormon neighbors there to offer me something delicious to eat and see how we are doing. I wonder if they choose a day on a sign up sheet or something. ha. maybe they do.

But yesterday we had the actual kids on their "mission" stop by to call on us. They were sweet girls. They came in and talked with us while Landon and I were eating dinner - I felt badly that i was not prepared for them with more food. Each of the "sisters" shared their testimony of how they became Mormon and what it meant in their lives. We scheduled an evening next week to go over a "lesson". I guess there is a series of five different lessons that they like to share that give the basics of Mormonism. The title of the first lesson is, "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ", which in itself is a little off-setting to me. But i'm eager to get into it and learn more.

As Landon and I have been reading different books and i have even so much as gone to the "Relief Society" at our local "ward", we are obviously very serious about learning about Mormonism, as we are completely surrounded and submerged here. Even the sisters said that about 90% of the doors that they have knocked on in our community have been LDS.

I think they thought they hit the jack pot when I answered the door with my nose ring and invited them inside of my house and they saw the empty box of beer on the table. Ha! They were seriously sweet girls and I look forward to their next visit.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things i'm loving lately:

Hemingway. Landon's been reading me Hemingway periodically when he "tucks me in" at night. I love it when Landon reads to me - he has such a sexy voice!

Duvick. He's almost 2 1/2 now and he remains very sweet and still so much like a puppy with his energy and playfulness. he's adorable and so much fun!

Local beer. This is "The Party Pack"

Red Box.

Beth Moore Bible studies. This is the one i'm doing right now in the mornings before i work. Just sitting down with Beth Moore, my Bible, Duvick, and a warm cup of black coffee. I love getting out of bed!

I've been enjoying one of Amanda Soule's favorite summer snacks with yummy produce from my farmers market: Cucumbers and Tomatoes with a little vinegar and sea salt. cheaper than avocados - so they have become my typical lunch around here these last few weeks. (amanda's picture also)

These have been on sale lately at Albertsons. Lucky us. Yum.

This is most exciting of all!!! Our first washer and dryer: Whirlpool Duet's. We love these babies. They're stackable (because who the heck knows where we'll be living next year!?) and they're high efficiency, which is great! love these!

DISHWASHER!!!! whoohoo! you KNOW that this is amazing.

Working with ACSI Student Sponsorship full time. Since i'm only working one job (THIS JOB) right now, i'm actually enjoying it so much more! It's amazing when I can put in 8 hour days and feel like i'm getting stuff done and I'm not completely exhausted and dragging after lunch time. I just enjoy it so much more when it's my only job. It's a precious job and a wonderful ministry and i am so grateful to get to be a part of it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Discover these unsigned artists

So some of you will think this is lame. But for those of you who will be really into this, people like my sister, check it out:

I've found this super creative website that showcases TONS of unsigned artists in the Nashville area. In fact, a handful of some of my fav's are on here: Derek Webb, Dave Barnes, Sandra McCracken, Katie Herzig, etc....

I wanted to hear more, so these last few months I've spent a little time adding each artist that has stuff on onto a new playlist that i have called "into the woods". I have replaced my "relax" playlist on the right with this new one for awhile. Probably until Christmas music comes around, or until people start demanding the former play list because it is so stinkin awesome. but i know you won't.

So check it out. You can check out the website, or just listen to the playlist for awhile. Some really really incredible artists on here.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It is by believing in Roses that one brings them to Bloom

I love roses.

My mother always had a rose garden at every house I lived in. Every home we moved to (we only lived in 3 that i can remember fully), she would plant lilac bushes and then on the South side of the house, Roses.

Both of my grandmothers had(have) amazing rose gardens.

I love to have fresh flowers in the house. And I am so grateful to have my own roses for the first time! I have 4 rose bushes planted on the south side of our house. When i arrived, it looked like someone had taken a chainsaw to square them off. Not a bloom on them. I spent a couple of hours with them, pruning every single stem in the way my grandmother taught me- down to the 5-leaf.

And though it was near the end of the summer, i hoped that from these square bushes would come some beautiful blooms to warm our new home.

It's been a month now and they have grown beautifully (a little out of control, actually) and they are now all four in bloom!!! And i LOVE it. It makes me happy.

So we have little pockets of rosies in our house (like posies, get it?)
and it's so relaxing for me to bring my pruning bowl and sheers into the yard and spend some time with my roses. Some for the kitchen, some for the bathroom, some for my office, and some remaining for the neighbors to continue to enjoy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Climbing Ruth Lake

(click on pictures to see a larger image)
Friday evening, i picked up Landon after class and we headed into the Uinta's. Every weekend we've lived here we make sure to spend one day rock climbing. We've climbed the limestone in Logan Canyon and American Fork and decided that it was about time to get into the MOUNTAINS. We (actually, Landon - he's awesome at choosing stellar places for us to play) decided to hike into Ruth Lake in the Wasatch National Forest. We started our hike pretty late in the evening - as you can tell by the awesome color in our pictures. And we were actually able to set up camp before it was dark. It was a very quick and easy hike up to the lake (website says it was 1.6 miles, but i swear it was less). The hike was very comfortable - only 300ft altitude gain, so very flat and easy. It was a beautiful hike in the trees beside and very still and small winding stream leading up to Ruth Lake. The lake was beautiful at sunset! And there were not designated camping spots, just little patches of dirt next to fire pits that you could tell had been developed over the years. We found a spot that was tucked into the trees, but still really close to the lake. We were the only ones there (although we saw a couple in the morning during our hike out who had camped a big distance from where we had been). It was amazing. Quiet. Beautiful. The stars were brilliant. and we were safe - never bombarded by moose or a lion or bear, even though we were in their world.The next morning we woke eventually - slept in, actually, and enjoyed a leisurely morning with Starbucks VIA instant ready brew (i'm so serious) and cereal.
We filtered enough water to last us a day climbing, and hiked 15 minutes down the trail to the the quartzite cliffs.
We stashed our over-night pack in the trees and were the first climbers to approach the cliffs. (sorry, for some reason we don't have any pictures). It was SO COLD there! It got in the 30's the night before and because these cliffs are always in the shade, and the wind bounces off of them, they were freezing. well, not literally, but landon and i were shivering the entire time, and each climb was a challenge because our fingers would go completely numb and we'd have to stop and breathe on them and shake them out so that we could make sure moves. I was afraid i would slice my fingers on the sharp edges of the rock and not realize it, but that wasn't a problem - i'm not as awesome as i think i am. The climbing was so fun and really different than the limestone. It was beautiful!

This place was just so amazing that i put WAY more pictures on this post than i normally do. I usually only like to add a max of 5 because i'm lazy and that's the max that blogger allows to upload at a time. but this place was just so awesome, i had to share more! Hope you enjoy seeing them!