Saturday, July 17, 2010

High Uintas

Bradley and I have been talking about going back
packing in the Uintas all summer long. I decided that it was a little slow at work and the weather was nice so I took Thursday and Friday off so we could do it.

I needed to find a lake to go to that wasn't too far from the road in case Bradley wasn't in a hiking mood and I had to carry him and all of our gear. I asked around at work where a lot of people frequent the Uintas and was told by two guys that Ruth Lake is an easy hike and would be good for our first back packing adventure together.

It was a perfect pick. It was only 3/4ths of a mile to the lake and the amount of up hill wasn't very hard. It also helped that Bradley was in a hiking mood. He stole my trekking poles and took off. He made a lot of stops and slight detours but it was fun to follow him along.

Here is Bradley showing me the best route to take up the trail. He was very watchful and if I didn't follow him exactly he would send me back down the trail to come up, "the right way". It was really fun to see him using the trekking poles.

Here he is telling me that he is a, "strong hiker, the strongest in the mountains". He was quite funny. After a while he noticed me looking at my watch to (it is a compass watch) orient our map. He decided that he would come up with a pretend watch and every 10 steps or so he would make us both stop while he consulted his wrist. He would then inform me which way his watch told him we had to go to properly negotiate the trail. He was very serious about this.

At one point on the trail he told me that his watch told him we needed to go a certain way to find the letters. I was really surprised, as I think he was, when we went around a corner of rocks and there was a trail marker sign saying the Ruth Lake was straight ahead (letters!) Bradley started cheering saying his watch told him right! It was pretty funny.

Here is Bradley having a break. We were nearly at the end but he said he needed to rest and just sat down right on the trail. After a few minutes of resting he stood up and continued to lead me on.

Nearly there but we had to stop at this small lake to throw rocks in.

Yeah! 1 hour and 16 minutes later we finally made it the 3/4 of a mile to Ruth Lake. Bradley was very proud and started cheering. I decided to let him pick our campsite. We looked at about 5 different spots and he picked the best one all by himself.

Bradley happy at camp.

Here is Bradley checking out the campsite he chose and letting me know that it was time to make a fire to, "die the bugs." Yes there were a lot of mosquitoes around.

Here is our 1 1/2 pound tarptent. It was cozy inside but worth it considering it's weight. It is actually only a single person shelter but with Bradley as skinny as he is it worked out fine for both of us.

Here we are looking for a stream coming into the lake to get some water from. We were camped in the trees behind us to the right of the picture.

Bradley jumping over a small stream Friday morning.

With Bradley cars are a necessity of life even when back packing. He did carry all his toys as well as his blankets in his own backpack so I can't complain.

Here we are right before heading back down the trail to the car.

This is my favorite picture of the whole trip. It was right as we were leaving and it was our last look at Ruth Lake. Bradley stood there awhile saying, "goodbye Ruth mountain lake".

When me made it to the car this was his state about 3 minutes after buckling him in. It was a lot of fun and Bradley was a great back packing companion. I am sure we will make this a yearly tradition as long as he stays interested it camping.

Christmas in July

We had an Ekstrom family reunion at my grandparent's cabin. It was fun to see my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. In looking back on my pictures I think next year I will make everyone sit for a group picture since there were quite of few I missed getting pictures of. The weather was really nice and we had a real fun weekend.

Here is Daniel peeking out of our tent. He was supposed to be sleeping right now.

Bradley spent most of the time playing in the sand box. We will have to get him some sand to play in. He sure seems to enjoy it.

Here we are all decorating the "Christmas Tree". It was fun and all the children had a lot of fun helping with the decorations.

The sign is hard to read in this small picture but it says, "Bradley's Brown Bear Hollow".

Daniel spent most of the time clinging to Lesa. This was a time when she was able to let him sleep and for her to get in some reading time.

Daniel really needs to stop trying to eat dirt, rocks, sticks, leaves basically the entire mountain! I hope we can get him over it before we go up to the Tetons in a couple of weeks or we will be spending the entire time digging mud out of his mouth!

4th of July Parade

Our Stake does an annual 4th of July program and children's parade. We thought Bradley would have fun riding his tricycle in it and he sure did. We had a lot of kids from the neighborhood come out and we rode around two blocks. We ended at the church where we had a flag ceremony performed by some cub scouts and a retired military man gave a talk about his service.

They then had some musical numbers and after the program was over we drank milk and had cinnamon rolls.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Running Much?

Why yes, yes I have. I started running with some friends in November in an attempt to get back into shape, and train for a half marathon. Well, that training for the half marathon quickly turned into training for a half and the Wasatch Back Ragnar relay.

Now, here we are, 8 months, 400 miles, and two races later, and I'm addicted. I've been an on again, off again, fair weather runner for a long time, but I never ventured into many races. But now my eyes have been opened. The races make the running and training fun and meaningful. And besides that, they are full of energy and rewarding.

So, enough of the sentimentality, on to the race recap. My first race was the Ogden Half Marathon on May 15. It started in Eden, up Ogden canyon, went around the north and east sides of Pineview Dam, then through Ogden Canyon, and into downtown Ogden. It was a beautiful run. The scenery was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, and it was an all around great time. My friends really pushed me, and I was able to hold about an 8 minute mile pace for just over half of the run. Then I ran out of steam and sent my friends on their way, running the last part primarily by myself. That made it harder, but I was still able to finish at a pretty descent time. 13.1 miles from the start, I crossed the finish line in 1 hour 53 minutes, and 32 seconds. I'm told that's really great for a first half. My goal was to finish under 2 hours, so I was pretty pleased. Here is a picture of me and the two ladies that pushed me in training and on the course, after the race. They are two of the best runners and greatest friends. I am so spoiled to have them to run with, they are such a blessing in my life. (The pink shirts were completely accidental. They were not planned, we're just cool like that)

My second race is the very definition of insanity. It was the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay. It is a 188 mile relay race from Logan to Park City on the back side of the Wasatch mountains. Each regular team is made up of 12 runners who each run 3 times in a 36 hour period. The team is split into 2 vans with 6 runners in each. My first run was 7.4 miles up the Avon pass at 4:00 in the afternoon. It was HOT and hard, but I managed to keep a descent pace considering, and finished the run in an hour and 20 minutes. My second run was 4.2 miles out of Morgan, and through Richville (don't worry, I'd never heard of that town either). I ran that leg in 38 minutes at 1:40 in the morning. My last run was another afternoon run. At 2:45 in the afternoon, I ran 3 miles in 29 minutes and completed my portion of the race by running into Heber. My team started the race at 11:30am on Friday, June 18, and we all crossed the finish line at 9:45pm on Saturday, June 19. We weren't the fastest team, but we were the greatest team (at least in my opinion).

It was the craziest 34 hours of my life, and some of the most tiring. I'm not sure I really slept at all in that time, but I did close my eyes for about 2 hours. When it was all over, I felt physically great, but it took me a few days, and some extra naps to catch up my sleep and really feel normal again. It was crazy, but so much fun, and I am looking forward to next year. Here is a picture of my team at the end of the race, and me holding my medal. I have pictures of me running, but I don't like how I look when I run, so you're not going to get any of those.

There you go. I'm sorry for the long and rambling post, but now you know what I've been up to lately. I still have a bit of a love / hate relationship with running, and I'm not sure I consider myself a runner yet, but I'm loving it now. (I'm already signed up for another half in August this year.)