Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mt. Humphrey and the Bear

July 12th found Leigh and Eric (along with others that Eric works with) charging up the side of Mt. Humphrey, the highest mountain near Flagstaff, AZ. They had planned this little outing several months ago and had taken the appropriate measures to get in physical condition. Caroline and I and the children were in Flagstaff, as well, but our outing was of another kind.

The maps that Eric found on-line indicated that they would probably be hiking 3.9 miles one way. They headed out to the trail head from the motel about 7:30 and thought they would return by noon or one.

Caroline and I began our outing at a beautiful city park, then moved on to a donut shop, Bookman's and a drive-by nostalgia tour of NAU campus. I say this because nearly every time I get to Blackfoot, Idaho, where I graduated from high school, I try to do the nostalgia tour for my kids in the hopes they will get a sense of what my life was like and where I lived, etc. The children were very well behaved, especially considering there was alot of the in-the-car- seat. . . out-of-the-car-seat. . . .in-the-car-seat. . . out-of-the- car-seat action. All those straps and buckles just complicate THAT whole process, let me tell you. We returned to the motel about noon and I promptly began reading my book and fell into a restful nap.

When I woke up it was 2:00 and we had heard nothing from the guys. I was thinking they could have at least called us. . I mean cell phones, . come on. I wasn't too frightened but felt a few pangs of worry. . . I'm sure it had something to do with Leigh's dream the night before in which they encountered a bear while hiking. In the dream Leigh promptly pulled his little pocket knife out, opened it up, stepped between Eric and the bear and said, "You go on back, son, you have a young family, I will deal with the bear." "Are there bears on Mt. Humphrey?" I asked myself.

Caroline and I determined that if we had NOT heard from them by 3:00 we could officially "get worried" and drive to the trail head to recover their mutilated and mauled bodies. (I don't think I actually shared Leigh's dream theory with Caroline until they were safely back.) Shortly after 3:00 we did hear from them.

Turns out that the hike was closer to 13 miles, with the first four being extremely steep. Much of the trail was littered with rocks which made for unsure footing; not shale but river rockish type of stones. . Meteorologically, they encountered it ALL: Clear skys, partly cloudy, in the clouds, hail, rain,. . . the works. But thankfully, no bears.

I'm proud of them for following through on this goal. As you can see the scenery was beautiful.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Who says it's hot in PHX?

I arranged for Leigh and his boys to have a Boy's Weekend. I don't know how many times Leigh has asked why they (the guys) don't ever get to have one since I often get to go to the "Girl's Week" activities my sisters and I plan for us and our daughters. I arranged a week at our time share in Scottsdale and informed everyone about three months ago. As it turned out, none of the boys could make it; so there you go. . . I went down after a couple of days so Leigh wouldn't be too lonely. To be fair, some of the kids were able to bring their families by for a day visit or even a couple of nights stay and it was nice to share the resort with them. Kawika, Katie's baby boy, was really into the grapes and I liked this picture so I'm sharing it with you.
I hope your summer is holding a few fun vacation moments. They are wonderful.

This one's for YOU, Buffy

My mother called them Forget Me Nots. . . I remember them as "those cloud cookies". Want a treat but your out of shortening. . . not a problem. . . .out of brown sugar . . . . not a problem . . . out of flour. . . . NOT a problem. The trickiest ingredient for these cookies is NOT an ingredient at all but the BROWN PAPER BAG that you are to bake them on. . . What store has brown paper bags anymore? Luckily for me I have a roll of kraft paper for gift wrapping that worked just fine.

Preheat oven to 325

2 egg whites
1/8 teas. salt
1/8 teas. cream of tartar

Beat until foamy, sort of stiff then add:

3/4 cup white sugar - slowly
1 teas. vanilla
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (optional, pecans or walnuts)

place teaspoon sized dollups of mixture on ungreased paperbag lined cookie sheet.

Time to bake may vary from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the cookies. . . . I usually like them to be a little browned and if they get too crunchy then they are a little messy to eat. . . . Let them cool completely then place in air tight container.