Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Most People In Utah Have No Idea How Lucky They Are

(Disclaimer: This post is LONG. I fully expect you to skim read, or to just look at pictures. No offense taken.)

Not the kind of blog post title you expected from me, huh?

On Friday, we had a reprieve from the daily thunderstorms we have been having for the last couple of weeks. The whole day was actually beautiful: warm bordering on hot, crystal clear skies, and (since there has been so much rain lately) everything was green. So, after Evan got home from work we decided to take a family hike to Stewart Falls, around the Sundance area.

We left at about 5pm, which ended up being perfect for us - not too hot or cold, enough sunlight to easily see where we were walking at the end - and it was beautiful! Now that most of the snow has melted, and with all of the rain we have had, the wildflowers were just starting to come in. In about a week the whole place will be multicoloured, and we can't wait to go back again.

Now, there are a lot of things about Utah that I loathe, but Evan and I remarked several times that when you are down in the valleys it is very easy to forget that Utah can actually be a very beautiful place. In fact, 'very beautiful' doesn't even cut it: 'Spectacular' would be more appropriate. Utah has 5 national parks, two of which are consistently considered to be in the top 10 national parks in the country. The fact that Evan and I have beautiful mountains, waterfalls, lakes, scenery, and wildlife less than 20 minutes drive from our apartment is an incredible thing. As beautiful as England is, if I had have wanted to see a waterfall on an even remotely comparable scale to Stewart Falls (or even Bridal Veil Falls for that matter) I would have had to travel to either Wales, Northern England, or Scotland: that's a 3 hour drive minimum for those who don't know, and for England that's a long drive. Sometimes I feel that, just as youth is wasted on the young, Utah is wasted on the Utahns (broadly speaking here). Not only are Utahns notorious for not taking care of the land in which they live, but they take for granted the fact that they actually live in a gorgeous part of the world, and have backdoor access to some phenomenal beauties of nature.

OK. Off my soapbox. Our hike to Stewart Falls, as I said, was beautiful. Lena did most of the walking herself, and apart from a snack break about an hour in, Oliver was really great too.
And, you look closely on the picture above you can see Lena's little builder bum. So cute!

As always, my photos never seem to do the adequate justice to how beautiful everything was, but I just have to share...
We also ran into a beautiful clearing somewhere in the Aspens that was full of little blue flowers (Forget-Me-Nots?).
Unfortunately, (as Evan found out, since I made him go an take pictures from the middle of the field) the whole thing was filled with stinging nettles.

It was also really cool to walk through old rock slide areas, and see trees that had been flattened by avalanches. There were also Aspens that had been (recently) bent double, which we suspect was probably from the heavy snow we got during May once the trees had become supple for growing season.
The falls were spectacular. Lena was very impressed: "Wow! Look! It's a waterfall! Oh no! It's so beautiful!"
The pictures kid of make the falls look pathetic and piddly. But they actually weren't. It has two tiers, and I guess it must be at least over 200ft tall. I believe that over the top of the main ridge there is another smaller part to the waterfall too. The roar of the water was incredible, and it was moving so fast that it was really windy.
This was about as close as we dared get. To get any closer we would have had to clamber over rocks, and between Lena, and Oliver throwing off my balance, we decided that maybe next time would be better.
And just because, here are some wildflower pictures. We can't wait until they are in full bloom, it is going to be amazing!
And if you click on that last image, you can see a bumblebee. And the flowers really were that blue.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just My Luck

Periodically I visit this site to see what free stuff I may be able to win. Yesterday, I just so happened to visit and they were having a massive giveaway. Most of the stuff was stuff I didn't care about (handmade, ugly, kids pinafores??, free hair coloring??, Seven Peaks All-Day passes??) but I did enter for a free photography session with a featured Utah photographer.

And I won!

But... I won a 30% discount on a wedding photography package not the free family session. Blast! That comes about 3 years too late, and I quite obviously have ZERO need for it.

SO! I am giving away the discount I won to anyone who needs it, or who knows anyone who needs it. I have until 7AM MST to claim it, or it goes to someone else.

Here is a link to the photographers site. Her name is Shelly Geller. On there you will find pricing info, and examples of her work. My understanding is that the 30% discount can save you up to $950.

Let me know!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Another Facebook Album

Here you can find pictures of our family trip to SD over Memorial Weekend (it was a blast BTW, but more on that later). And here you can find another album to which I have added some more recent kid photos.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oliver's New Expression

A week or two back (Wha...?? It's already June??) Oliver developed a new facial expression. He kind of lifts his eyebrows, and squints his eyes, and does his usual open-mouthed smile. He does it for practically any reason (and especially when he knows he has done something wrong and is about to get into trouble...), and it makes him look rather comical.

Somehow, pictures never seem to do things like this justice, but you can't tell me that these don't make you smile...