Sunday, August 31, 2008

Escaping the storm

I have been meaning to write about all that we have been up to, but instead I have to start by writing about what happened yesterday. We headed out to the lake early in the morning. It was beautifully calm!

In the picture above, I thought Matt was taking a picture of me, but he was actually trying to get a shot of his brand new ski, which you can also see:)

Matt took these pictures of me skiing. They really show just how perfect the water was. It was the best day we've seen all summer!!! It was awesome. We both skied twice before taking a break, during which the wind picked up and the glassy waters dissipated.

Around one in the afternoon, a couple of friends joined us. We skied a bit more and tubed before calling it a day. We dropped them off at the State Park docks and then headed back over to the free launch to put the boat on the trailer. As we headed over towards the launch, however, the few dark clouds in the sky became a huge storm in no time. It was thunder, lightning and strong winds as we made our way to the dock. It took me a couple of tries to drive the boat on the trailer through the rough waves. Luckily a guy from shore came over to help us. Once we got our boat on solid ground, we hurried to get everything ready for the trip home as 50-60 mph winds blew us and everything else around. It was getting pretty bad!

No sooner than we had gotten ashore a jet ski pulled up. A woman was trying to back her trailer down the ramp, but clearly did not have much experience and jack-knifed the trailer with the truck several times. The guy who helped us offered to drive it for her. She was clearly relieved and said the woman with the jet ski usually drove the trailer. Five of us tried to hold the jet ski on the trailer as the waves tried to send it over the edge, but we secured it and pulled it out of the water.

The guy who helped us out of the water had also borrowed our air pump earlier in the day when he had a flat tire on his truck. Now that the flat was repaired, he backed his truck in and went to get his boat, which was "parked" on the beach. When we got to the boat we saw that the waves had flooded it, but we had to get it farther inland so it wouldn't be washed away or filled any more. The strength of six or seven adults was not enough to slide the boat through the thick clay, so one of the guys tried to pull the boat out using our tube tow rope and his F-150 truck. Even with several guys (including Matt) pushing on the boat, the truck tires just spun. Matt asked if it had four wheel drive and the guys looked at him as if to say, "of course not, can we use yours?" So Matt got the Jeep, put it in four low and the boat came right up the shore.

With one problem averted, we saw another boat coming ashore. An older man was bringing his fishing boat in, and his wife was intending on backing the trailer into the water. She was a bit nervous considering the weather, so Matt drove it for her. By that time the waves had died down a little bit and it was not as difficult to help bring in his boat.

Our little entourage, now including this fisherman as well, walked back to the water-filled fishing boat, and attempted to bail it out. As we devised a plan for this boat, we saw another one coming our way. A pontoon was towing a catamaran, which was capsized and its sails were becoming increasingly filled with water. By now it was raining, too, I think. They dropped it off near us, and the men pulled it in by rope. When they got near shore, the guys stood on one side of the pontoon and hung from a rope, trying to pull the catamaran right-side-up with the weight of their bodies. They eventually got it to flip and we worked furiously to get the sails down in the strong winds.

By this time we had some company. The local firemen, police, ambulance team, parks and wildlife officer, and channel six news had all come to get in on the action! I thought they were there to help, but strangely they just stood and watched. Not long after this, we brought in both the catamaran and the once water-filled fishing boat. The storm had died down considerably, all boats were in, and we went home for dinner.

This is what the lake looked like at the time that we left. I wish I could show you a picture of what it looked like during the storm, but we were a little occupied. It was pretty exciting!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. John Carlson

John and Beth got married on July 26, 2008! Matt and I went to CO for the wedding, which was in Black Forest. We are very excited for John and Beth! It was a beautiful wedding, and so much fun. We really enjoyed getting to see so many of our favorite people.

Liz was gracious enough to send me these pictures, which were taken from her camera. I'm not sure why they are blurry, if it was the camera or the transition to the computer. They give you a glimpse of the wedding, but if you really want to be blown away with some beautiful pictures, please go to the photographer's website, which is:

There are two galleries of Beth and John's photos; a designed album with about 150 or so photos and the complete set of images from their engagement to the last dance with about 750 photos.

Password to "Beth and John's Album Design": bethjohnalbum
Password to "Beth and John's Wedding": bethandjohn

Enjoy the gorgeous pictures!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Purple mountain majesty

We just returned from a week in Colorado and it has been the highlight of our summer! Our main reason for going on the trip was for Beth and John's wedding, which was beautiful. We were fortunate to visit some old friends and take a couple days to enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park as well.

As much as we enjoyed ourselves, I think we were a little too comforable with the Rockies and forgot to make sure we were as prepared as usual. First, as we were packing the night before we departed, I realized I forgot the stuff sack for my sleeping bag. When our bags aren't in use, we store them in large mesh bags to help them retain their loft. When hiking, however, we of course want them to fit into as small a space as possible. I tried to just roll up my sleeping bag and tie it with rope. When uncontained my sleeping bag inflates like a rubber raft though, and the stuff sack was proving to be an essential item. We stopped in Boulder the next day for a compression sack, which solved that problem.

When we arrived at RMNP, we went straight for the backcountry permit office. The ranger set us up with a nice hike that allowed us to venture decently into the wilderness, but also wasn't too difficult as we are now far from acclimated to the altitude. The route planned was to begin at the Bear Lake trailhead. From there, we would hike five miles to Fern Lake. We planned to camp just one night at Fern Lake and then hike out to the Fern Lake trailhead the next day. Just one problem, at the trailhead: it was raining. We don't have pack covers, so we usually just fit large trash bags over our packs to keep them dry. Matt asked me where the trash bags were, and I said I thought he had them. We eventually found some, but they quickly proved to be way too small. We resolved to put all the items inside our packs into trashbags and then back into our packs. Onward we went, finally on the trail.

My finger is on the trail head. Fern Lake is to the Northwest. The Fern Lake trailhead is near the top right corner of the picture. The trail started off moderately difficult because it was steep and crowded. Also, while our rainsuits kept the rain off, they kept all the heat in, which made them like personal saunas. Within the first hour, the rain had passed and so had our fellow hikers. Now on our own, we came across a beautiful view (the top picture), one of many. I got out the camera to capture the splendor, and . . . low battery! We couldn't believe we had completely forgotten to charge the battery! We took a quick picture and put it away to save for later.

Several hours later we arrived at Fern Lake. We were saving our battery for a picture of the falls, and it was hard to find a place for a good picture of the lake, so this picture is just from yahoo images. It is an amazing shot though and really shows you where we were.

We saw a beaver on the trail and a few deer in the woods. It was so beautiful there. The air was clean, fresh, and cool. It was perfect. We felt like we could just live there forever.

This leads us to our next mishap. The next morning, Matt went to the river for some water. He was planning on boiling it and putting it into the bag of dehydrated eggs for breakfast. Strangely though, he read the directions and this time, you were supposed to put the eggs directly in the pan. Strangely again, Matt followed the directions, which meant he forgot to boil the water first. The eggs were almost done when Matt realized the water wasn't sanitary and we had no way of knowing if we would contract dysentary from the eggs or not. Rather than risk a very unpleasant hike back, we burried the eggs and started over. Our other option for a hot breakfast was Jamaican BBQ Chicken. We boiled the water first this time, but the pot hardly got warm before the fuel ran out! This attempt clearly wasn't going to work. We are lucky we had plenty of Clif bars to eat instead!

An hour or so into our hike on the second day, we came to Fern Falls. They were beautiful, strong, and made a wonderful sound as the water pounded the rocks and logs. This was a good time to use up the rest of our camera battery, so Matt climbed down a ledge for this awesome view.

This is us at the falls, and then the camera battery finally died. The rest of the hike was gorgeous and problem-free. It was almost all down-hill from here on out. We soaked up the scenery and followed the river to the trailhead. One night in those mountains felt like we were there for a year. I mean that in the best of ways. It was the perfect end to a great trip.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...