Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm Not Alright

Burn away the pride
Bring me to my weakness
'til everything I hide behind is gone
And when I'm open wide with nothing left to cling to
Only You are there to lead me on.

'Cause honestly, I'm not that strong.

I'm not alright, I'm broken inside
Broken inside
And all I go through, it leads me to You
It leads me to You

-I'm Not Alright, Sanctus Real

So I'm flying who knows how high above the earth and I find myself, blogging? Yeah this world has definitely come up with some crazy things for us to use. I mean, I'm happy enough to fly! No matter be able to surf the web in flight! Anyways, Christmas was good. I was with family and that always makes for a good time, but now that I'm flying back, I really wish I could be there with them. I mean, it's not because I don't have fun at home, and I mean, a ton of this is because my time with them has been the only time since school started that I haven't had appointments or work. It's just been one, big hangout. Now that it's all over that means it's time to start getting ready for next semester. My acceptance into the nursing program comes with a lot of different requirements and little things I need to complete before I go to my first class.

I guess I can't get depressed too soon, I mean, I still have time left before school starts, but I just remember last semester, and I know I'm going to have to work even harder this semester. So long any small amounts of free time I might have had. I still have the weekends though and hopefully I will still have time to relax and recuperate before getting slammed into the next week.

Haven't written in a while so this feels pretty good. It keeps my mind a little less cluttered and helps me focus usually. Hopefully I'll find some time to write on here, but if I have to use it to study, so be it. Thanks for reading, peace out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where I Would Rather Be

Now to be honest today was a really good day. I finished my last fitness for life class, my last speech class (I'm exempt from the final!!!), and my last lab exam (which I believe I got an A on hopefully!). So overall an excellent day. I even got to see the girlfriend! So you know, can't go wrong there!

Drew this up in speech class wishing I could be somewhere else because it was so boring. I just never really get into the speeches at all and he gives us these little sheets that are about the perfect size to sketch on! It's not my fault! Anyways, the Jeep is not pulling some object, the road turns, it's a switchback. Just to clear things up. Chico.

p.s. The images can be viewed much larger if you click on them!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weird Day

These past couple of days have been weird days actually. The weather appears to be favoring more of an antarctic feel than usual. Great. I guess I'm not dressing smart either wearing my Chacos to class.

This quick sketch definitely carries a little bit of an M.C. Escher vibe. Always liked that guy.

(The snowman is there just because it's getting closer to Christmas!!! And because it was really cold outside.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

But At Least My Feet Are Dry! (Part 2)

Rolling into the Outdoor Education Center at 9 o'clock last night was a bunch of exhausted college students. After spending three days out in the Smoky Mountains backpacking through the ice, snow, and 20 or so degrees had left us all drained of energy.

On December 2-4 I spent my days hiking the Appalachian Trail through the Smoky Mountains. If you really want to check out the hike, it was between Davenport Gap and Newfound Gap, roughly 30 miles. Starting our days early and hiking all day long before arriving at the next shelter with an hour or so of daylight left was the norm. There's something about living off of what you can carry on your back that gives backpacking such an atmosphere of excitement. Eating one-pot-wonders or boiling water for a heart-warming drink all are glorious parts of the exciting adventure!

This trip was a little crazy seeing as it was a winter backpacking trip, and therefore required a little warmer of gear! Hiking during the day though usually kept us all warm enough to not even require too many layers. At night, it was a quick race to fix supper and crawl into bed to rest and rejuvenate for the next day.

The last day of our trip was plagued with wet weather. I say wet in the full meaning of the word. The clothing I was wearing slowly but surely got soaked through and through. I'm pretty sure the only part of my pack to stay dry was all the gear I had stuffed into the main pocket lined with a trash bag! The other two days of the trip had been beautiful, clear, sunny days, but then the last day decided to not cooperate and the weather turned on us all! Now, during this trip I had on my beautiful hiking boots. These boots are incredible! Even they couldn't stand up to the freezing rain we endured the third day! It was insane! Luckily enough my socks were warm enough to keep me going, but I was still amazed that the rains soaked the boots! I guess it goes to show that sometimes there's just no stopping mother nature.

Now that I'm back from that trip though and rested up it's time to prepare for the week ahead like usual. Finals are coming up in a week, and I have a lab exam for A&P I need to prepare for. The backpacking trip was a good break from all the hectic hustle and bustle this time of year brings, but now it's time to buckle down and get to it. I guess I'll be ready for it like usual!

And at least my feet are dry! (well, today at least!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

But At Least My Feet Are Dry!

At the beginning of this school year I purchased a pair of $139 hiking boots. Usually I scoff at the idea of spending so much for shoes, but today I have come to the revelation that these shoes are worth it.

Wow...so I wrote the above paragraph around eleven hours ago. Those past eleven hours have been the best eleven hours ever. So much has happened and some of it completely random, but it totally made today rock! Just to list a few things: I finished writing a 2000 word research paper, work and extrication (it's a fire department thing) class were both a breeze, I finished my pre lab, I found bumper stickers that I thought I had lost months ago (can someone say time to outfit The Jeep?!?), and I had plenty of time to go hang out with my wonderful girlfriend (who's adorable, by the way). This day was awesome.

To think, eleven hours ago my day was falling apart, but at least my feet were dry.

Monday, November 22, 2010

And So Begins Monday...

This is a sketch I came up with on Friday along with the TGIF sketch. Who knew that those two sketches would work so well for the beginning and end to my weekend! Now I don't have much to say at 5:33 in the morning, but I'm kind of glad I'm giving this a go. I have an A&P test and I'm hoping that by getting up this early to review I'll be awake and well studied by the time the test rolls around. We'll see how it goes. Anyways, I guess I can't complain about having to get back to desks, computers, and paper too much. We only have two days of school this week anyways until Thanksgiving break!!! So thankful for break. So so thankful.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Drawn in Survey of Chem (of course), but it reflects my thoughts about today perfectly. Ah....Friday.

(Also the main cloud kind of looks like Tigger's head to me. Anyone else? Anyone?)

Photo originally from: http://www.tripletsandus.com/disney/pooh&tigger.htm

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lazy Days of Landscape

This is the brainchild of our wonderful time sitting around at my landscape job. I present our idea: To get a live squirrel, put it down a leaf blower, and then shoot it at unsuspecting longboarders.

(The pond behind them is optional, but it would increase the fun meter!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Men Whose Hats Look More Like Ships Than Their Ship

Begin the adventures of the men "Whose Hats Look More Like Ships Than Their Ship" and their trusty ship the U.S.S Bathtub.


So this is what happens when Survey of Chem takes too long... I can't really explain it, but for some reason I found it kind of funny.

Deflowering: You're doing it wrong.

(Sorry for being a tad vulgar, I didn't get much sleep the night before!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Free Time

Or the lack thereof...

I find it amazing that some days I can stay on my feet from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. I find it incredible I can do this twice a week. For the past two months. My Tuesdays and Thursdays I have come to realize must have extra hours secretly placed throughout them when I'm not looking (Usually this happens during things like class or work instead of the more useful sleep hours I could use). Luckily enough for once I find myself relaxing in my dorm room until I head to work. In addition to this wonderful time I also have with me graham crackers and chocolate frosting. So delicious. I think it's a great treat to have in the dorm room. Along with our donuts, cocoa krispies, gummy bears, skittles, m&ms, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and five pounds of Jelly Bellys (It might be down to three and a half or four). It's amazing how much sugar is contained within this small area, but hardly any of it is eaten. My roommate and I are usually out, and for some reason never feel the need to eat all this sugar (Which is probably a good idea since the freshman fifteen could attack at any time! (I'm pretty sure it lurks up there around the skittles...) I'm pretty sure Chris, my roommate, is hitting the gym enough (ladies...) to stay pretty safe, but I'm not so sure about how much time I spend actually doing something active. I guess firefighting sort of counts, but I still haven't done too much with that.

Ugh, one of these days I'll have to spend some time sitting down really putting some effort into a post. Maybe throw in some pictures or some quotes! Whatever the cool kids are doing these days. Unfortunately it would appear my break is coming to an end and therefore I must prepare for work. I think I should leave with something of substance, value, or maybe even heroic.

"What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?" - Timon from Disney's "The Lion King"

Peace out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Right Where I Belong

"All he knows is what he's not. If only he could see what he is." - Boris

I never really bring it up too much, but I think my favorite character from any movie is Balto. I have always loved that movie ever since I was a little kid! I know the real story is much different, and about the only truth in the movie is the fact that sled dogs brought antitoxin to Nome, but I still love the movie just the same! I guess it's because I've always related to Balto. No, I don't see myself as a wolf, just more of an on-my-own type of guy (and a pretty fast runner). Balto also comes across as being adaptable, well-rounded, and mixed. Throughout the film he continually is reminded about his half and half heritage. I don't come from a really mixed background, but I seem to be quite mixed when it comes to certain things.

So today for my speech class, and this is what really got me thinking about this, we took a personality test to see if we are sanguine, choleric, melancholy, or phlegmatic. I filled out the initial survey part with no problem. When I began to tally up my score, I wasn't too worried either. My scores looked to be leaning more towards choleric than anything else. Now, I don't see myself as a choleric, but I had to remember I never had taken a personality test before. About halfway through and still choleric. Well apparently I'm not choleric though. Final results? (drumroll please)

Sanguine: 10
Choleric: 10
Melancholy: 10
Phlegmatic: 10

Even. Not even one point different in any of the categories. Thank you personality test for clarifying what personality I am! I guess I'm not too surprised, but I did find it rather amusing. Although I'm still not quite sure what personality I am, I have an entire lifetime to figure that out, which brings me to another favorite thing! "Go The Distance" by Michael Bolton from the animated movie Hurcules.

"I'll be there someday
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance
I'll be right where I belong

Down an unknown road
To embrace my fate
Though the road may wander
It will lead me to you
And a thousand years
Would be worth the wait
It may take a lifetime
But somehow I'll see it through"

I really enjoy listening to this song. After a long day it's a nice pick-me-up. So to sign off today I'm going to leave you with one final thing: Balto and Hercules COMBINED!!! So enjoy and have a good day!

Video credit to LoneWolffanwriter

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And There'll Be Sun, Sun, Sun

I love being outdoors. I know that probably doesn't come as a surprise to most, but I just needed to say it again because these last few days have been beautiful! Unfortunately for the past couple of days (Few=3, couple=2 I believe? For now just kinda estimate whatever numbers you want, it's not a big deal) I have been acting lazy in my brothers apartment in Knoxville. Stretched out on my new sleeping mat (I'm really pumped about that mat!) surfing the web and playing games (Electric Box 1 and 2 are amazing!) to keep myself entertained. Right before I rode up there with my mom I went swimming for probably the first time in a week and it felt amazing! I really need to get out and swim more...

School seems to be getting harder, days shorter, and sleep rarer. Go figure. Welcome to college I guess, but I hope to straighten it all out. I'm glad to know that I have people around me who care though, and a God up there that cares more about me than I'll ever know! I need all the help I can get right now and soon I'll pull through! This post might not have real length to it, but I'm happy enough just to be writing again. Gives me a chance to debrief and sorta step back and look over my week (Or weeks in this case). Or maybe I *gasp* just enjoy writing. Someone should definitely show that to all my english/handwriting teachers from K-12 grade. I think they would get a few good laughs! Really though getting to do this blog (And my blog for my college) I think helps my writing and I just enjoy getting to do it! So hopefully I'll have some more posts up soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

9/17 - 9/19 Mike's New Apartment

This past weekend was a glorious time. To start things off let me just clarify how amazing Fridays are. I get out of school at eleven on fridays. Every Friday. The weekends start off as glorious!!! I finished my firefighting orientation, cleaned the Jeep and my backpack, and then drove solo from Collegedale to Knoxville (Completely illustrated map above).

Why Knoxville? It just so happens that my bro found a job up there and will be living in an apartment by himself for the next six months (Or however long he has the contract up there). This being his moving weekend I went up to help out and to see him off. It was about an hour and half drive, but it was a great time to listen to tunes and just enjoy the beginning of a bright and beautiful weekend!

On Sabbath we went to the Knoxville Seventh-Day Adventist Church where, surprise surprise, we found people we knew! Go figure, right? Yes, it's true, wherever you go in the Adventist system there will be people who know you. So Church was nice, but after we got home I promptly ate and fell asleep for the next four hours. Finally, after waking up mom decided it was time for a walk and we headed out. Ended up doing a little shopping too. Got some food, some kitchen items, a microwave... all that good stuff. Interesting Knoxville fact: On game day, everyone, even at ten o'clock at Wal Mart will still be wearing their Vols paraphernalia!

Although we had to leave Mike on Sunday we did make one last shopping run to McKay's Used Books and CDs for a quick look at their selection. Left there with a Top Gun poster, six vinyls, and the new Tenth Avenue North CD (Which is amazing). Then after saying goodbye it was back off to Collegedale for another week of school.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekends Are Magical

So relaxing, so peaceful, and so enjoyable. When Friday arrives it's like an extra energy boost! I realize that real sleep, afternoon naps, and not worrying about class is a possibility. This past week has been an exhausting one. My alarm is set for six and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I'm off to the pool for a morning swim while on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Fitness for Life at seven. A couple of days I actually got to bed at a ridiculously reasonable hour like nine or ten, but others I barely made it through the door before grace period (11:15)! This weekend I actually thought about checking out of the dorm, but I was too lazy to. My roommate did so the dorm is now a pretty lonely place, but sometimes a little solitude isn't the worst thing. The only issue is when they kick me out of the dorm tomorrow morning... I think I might just take a nice walk before that happens. So this week has been pretty busy, where do I even start?

Firefighting. That's right. Guess what I'm volunteering for? Tri Community Volunteer Fire Department (TCVFD)! Usually the application process, interview, and orientation could last for a couple of weeks even, but I'm wrapping all mine up in four days. Just this last Tuesday is when I visited the fire hall and a friend of mine started asking questions to see if I could join a first responder class that they're starting. She got it all set up and then Wednesday came and I had my application turned in. Thursday I started my orientation (before my interview, which is totally out of order) and visited two fire stations before having to be back in the dorm (it was one of those nights I barely squeaked in). Friday was finally my interview and next Tuesday will be the first day of class!

Another exciting part of this week is my recent opportunity to be a freshman blog at SAU! In other words I'll be doing a post (such as this) every week about how school is going and I get ten bucks for it! I'm pretty stoked about it because I already enjoy blogging so this will be no problem!

Another job that I've obtained is landscaping. The job description appears to be me, in a golf cart, running around SAU with a leaf blower and a weed whipper cleaning up campus. I GET A GOLF CART!!! Oh yeaaah. I'm excited about this one too. Hopefully it will be an exciting job.

So maybe all this excitement, running around, and getting used to college/jobs/firefighting is spreading me out, but I feel like I'll be able to slow down and get used to it all here soon. I've handled my time decently well throughout high school and I have a feeling I'll be able to keep it up here and now (or at least I really really really hope so). Just this feeling I have right now of peace and quiet gives me the confidence that I can make it through, but I know it's not going to be on my strength alone, I'll need some help. Friends are great and I know I have some of the best, but I've always got to realize when I need someone stronger. God is always there for me, always has been. When I spread myself this thin, get myself into trouble I shouldn't, or just plainly lose my way I can always call and He's there to answer me. I just wish I could realize this all the time instead of pushing Him aside the way I have over and over again... If I somehow make it through all this it will be because of Him. Not because of what I've done, but because of His love for me despite what I've done.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Do You Hear The People Sing?

Not only is it an amazing song and musical, but I have my choir audition today! I figure listening to some Les Misérables would be suitable conditioning. Mondays sure are an easy day for me! Three short, one hour classes and I'm out at 11:45. Getting the chance to go eat with friends, have plenty of time to finish any homework, and still have tons of time in the evening is great! I wish more of my days could be like this, but unfortunately I must work, have labs, and more classes. I can savor my Mondays at least!

So this music audition doesn't have me really concerned. When I auditioned for choir back in high school it was amazing how nervous I got, but today I just want to go have a good time and if I make it, added bonus! (Though I probably will be disappointed if I don't make it) The director of the choir is an amazing lady and I know that being in the normal choir would be a blast. Being in the elite choir would be great too, but I just don't have the time for it. I'm also not that crazy about choir. I enjoy singing, but when it comes to music and everything I'm not as quick as everyone else to get it. Hopefully I'll have a good time regardless of what happens. Before I go audition though I need to go see what the smoothie shop has to offer! Wow, that's probably the worst plan before an audition. Don't worry, I'm to poor to actually afford crazy things like smoothies! Peace!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The World Is Spinning Too Fast

Right now I feel like I can't keep up with anything. I mean seriously, I moved who knows how much stuff into the dorm, checked to make sure I survive and when it came time to actually start classes? I didn't have any notebook paper or even a pencil! Talk about poor planning. Sometimes it feels like there's so many things happening so fast around here right now. I'm not a very quick person. I can run fast and all sure, but when it comes to signing up for things and going around to different places I just enjoy taking my time. I hope the entire year doesn't feel quite as rushed as it does now. College is fun and I want to enjoy it more than I did high school. High school was great, but I don't want college to go by so fast.

That's enough complaining for one day. Today was actually my first day of real college. Real classes, real teachers, and real work to start doing. I'm kind of excited about all of it. I just need to remember to sit down and actually start putting together a list of everything I need to get done. Tomorrow is Friday (Thank God!) and that means my first classes of A&P and Survey of Chemistry. Those are the two biggest subjects I'm really going to have to study for. Anyways, right now I actually have to print stuff off and get ready for A&P! Adios!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dorm Time

So this is it. This is the big time. Finally have the dorm room outfitted with the essentials. We have beds, desks, a fridge, a microwave, macs, speakers, a tv, a PS1, a Sega Genesis, an NES, a laser show, a couch, and plenty of other stuff! Okay. So maybe a little bit more than the essentials. We're set though. My buddy, Chris, and I, also Chris, are the we that I am referring to. We spent today moving in and tonight will be our first night in the dorm. The set up is pretty awesome as it should be since it took us a while to rearrange everything just right. We're happy with the results and our room is sure to be a marvel in the coming months.

Our first meal for the dorms we decided to Christen (Ha ha, "Chris"ten?) the dorm in the correct way with some delicious Ramen. I was hungry, now I'm somewhat less hungry, so it worked pretty well. Today wasn't all that busy. A little time was spent running around picking up a few last minute objects, but now the dorm room has really taken shape. I'm excited about it's future and will happily post any new additions we might add.

I'm really excited about starting this new adventure. College has always seemed like a great time and I've anxiously awaited its coming. For the next two days I won't have much to do besides go to meetings and learn more about how the campus is run. Hopefully it won't be too bad and I won't lose my excitement for University. I've got all the books, and I've lived here most of my life so I know where most everything is, but who knows what all could happen! There's so much to do around here it seems so I hope I can stay busy. Mom figures I should try studying so I might give it a go (I guess it could be helpful). I'm in an awesome place, with awesome people, and awesome times ahead I hope. Peace out for now, I'll be checking in fairly regularly from now on hopefully!

Project X-Ray

Sea kayaks prove to be very interesting boats. Just today I had my first experience rowing in one. Around sixteen feet long and only around two feet wide in the middle these kayaks make for a different feel than a smaller whitewater kayak. My adventure today consisted of accompanying my dad to a evening of food and kayaking with our local kayaking club he is a member of. The afternoon started with a nice dinner and then everybody headed down to the water to paddle a comfortable mile and a half to the "bat cave". Yep. That's what they refer to it as. I believe the real name is Nickajack Cave. That could be because it rests on Nickajack Lake. Maybe. Anyways, we were met by an older genteman who gave a great talk on bats and how helpful they are blah blah blah. I tuned in and out as sometimes facts he brought up were actually interesting. The most interesting part of his whole talk had to of been about Project X-Ray.

Project X-Ray was started by the Army as a solution to bombing Japan. The entire idea behind the project was that a small incendiary bomb would be dropped on Japan by none other than... bats. President Roosevelt actually approved the idea. One testing facility for Project X-Ray was consequently burned down when the bats, after being released, decided to go home and flew back to the Army base from which they had come. Upon roosting in many of the buildings they were detonated, burning most of the base. One very unfortunate bat even found his way to a fuel tank and took up roost there. Soon after these accidents the project moved from the Army to the Navy and quickly from the Navy to the Marines. Two years and two million dollars later after its approval, Project X-Ray was disbanded. The development of the bat bomb was just moving too slowly. The atomic bomb was progressing much faster and appeared to be the better solution to ending the war quickly. Dr. Adams, the man who conceived this idea, made this comment about the effectiveness of the bat bombs compared to the devastation of the atomic bomb. "Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped. Japan could have been devastated, yet with small loss of life." Simply incredible the ideas people have. Imagine the History books if the U.S. had really gone with the "Invasion By Bats". I think I would have found World War II much more interesting of a section.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back To The Future

I would love a time machine right about now. There is so much in my life that I would be willing to change, but maybe there is more to my life that I wouldn't want to change. Yesterday happen to be a pretty amazing day. The day started with the return to Collegedale from my three week college class that had me kayaking, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and caving (That's another story for later though!). After cleaning gear and packing up my car, I loaded the Jeep with four of my friends from the class and took them out to Taco Bell. Pretty typical. Then to the Samaritan Center. That's not always usual, but it has been known to happen. This time, however, I purchased a couch. One nasty, orange, plush, love seat. For fifteen dollars. After the purchase, my group hoisted up this ancient artifact and we placed it on top of the Jeep. To hold it down? Only two hammock straps and four college students (That sound different) holding on to the ends of the straps inside the car. I'm proud to say it made it home safely! I believe the real credit goes to the Jeep though.

So how can I say I want to change things when days like this keep popping up?! Instead of looking into the past for everything that went wrong, it is so much better to focus on the future and what exciting memories might be coming up! The rest of the day carried on with much joy. Eating real fruit for the first time in a month, riding my longboard with friends for the first time in years (It's felt like years!), and finally getting to sleep in my own bed for once. Just having my own bed to collapse in would have made this an amazing day. The whole trip all I had was a hammock or the ground, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and whatever clothing could be made into a pillow. My bed felt like a cloud.

So today marks the first whole day I have back from my class. I'm up pretty early (I can never sleep in), I have two friends from the class staying at my house at least for tonight, and pretty soon I'll have to make them pancakes. One of the rules in the backcountry is when someone starts talking about food he has to provide that food for everyone later. I talked about pancakes obviously. I'm glad I finally get to use an electric skillet instead of our camp stoves that have created every meal I've eaten in the past month. After pancakes who knows what we'll do. We enjoy having fun and whatever we can come up with is possible. College will be starting soon, but who wants to focus on that part of the future? I'm good focusing on this next week and making it one of the most memorable weeks I've ever had!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Starting To Bring It All To A Close

Last post was spent bragging about the small towns in Colorado, but I unfortunately had to leave those awesome towns. After packing up camp we set out for Great Sand Dunes National Park. A very interesting place seeing as when you arrive it appears that 700 foot sand dunes have suddenly popped out of no where. Really it's because of the mountains, the valley, the winds, the mountains, and then a creek that deposits the sand back where we see it today. It's all very interesting so look it up, I'll wait.

Okay waiting over, well the dunes were cool. Our group climbed to a peak around 700 feet tall. It wasn't the tallest dune, but it was close. After achieving our climb we did a little golfing off the top and then rolled down to retrieve the golf balls. Probably one of the best parts of the day was running down the 700 feet that we had just climbed up. Despite biting the dust and almost getting the wind knocked out of me, it has arguably been one of the greatest times on this trip. Unfortunately our stay there came to an end today and we had to say goodbye to my Aunt Rachel and her three boys and my Uncle Randy and Aunt Cheri. We packed up our camp for the last time and then headed opposite directions. They are travelling back to Grand Junction (By way of the gator farm) and we head back East for a long trek home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Out West Is Best

So I think I've decided to move to either Silverton or Ouray, Colorado. You can view them with Google Maps and street view even if you can, but it will never be the same as actually coming here and checking out these towns! The two towns are in the San Juan mountain area hidden in valleys connected by one road, the Million Dollar Highway. Just driving that road scares my mom because of the narrow shoulders that lead to at least 500 foot drops straight down to the bottom of the canyon. No guardrails to stop you, just trees if you're lucky. Running off of tourism as their main income, it's hard to live in either town, but for some reason I really want to try.

I keep coming up with crazy plans that I run past mom, though she thinks I've lost it, but I really really like these towns. In Silverton it seems every road ends up climbing a mountain, running a creek, or riding along a canyon. In winter it's suppose to be rather hard to survive. I can't imagine a better place to have a small house with a real fire as my central heating. Though land around here can be expensive I'm sure there has to be a nice place for sale. That might need a little fixing up.

I hope you've realized by now that I am having the time of my life camping four miles outside of Silverton. Our group has spent the last three nights here and we still have two more to go before we head off to Sand Dunes National Park. So far here it has mostly been four wheeling, camp food, trains, and hiking. Luckily everything we've done has been a blast! Just a little bit ago they had a gunfight out in the street and in a few minutes we'll be listening to a barbershop quartet. So with that said I actually have to run to catch that concert, but I'll be back to steal some more internet from the public library here in town ;) Peace!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Change In Scenery

Today has been a full day. I woke up with a beautiful view of the Grand Tetons and now I'm going to bed 100 miles away in the little town of Pinedale, Wyoming. As quickly as the scenery can change, so can certain circumstances. For example, just a few days ago I received an e-mail about my Smart Start class, Survey of Outdoor Adventures, which is starting July 26th. This e-mail informed me that I need to get a fair amount of clothing and gear together by the 26th because the class is shipping out that day. No time to grab more stuff so I better not leave anything. The only problem with this new situation is the fact that I get back to my house late the 25th. Not much time to prepare. Luckily it seems my mother is getting quite use to me springing new plans on her so this hasn't come as a big surprise. Don't get me wrong, I really look forward to this class! It's full of caving, mountain climbing, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, mountain biking, and backpacking. (All of which sounds like a blast!) I just wish I had had a little more time to prepare.

Sometimes though these same things happen between people. Things are going one way and in the moment, everything seems fine. Suddenly, the scenery changes. Some of the time you can see it coming, others, you don't. Maybe the scenery took a turn for the worse or, even more common, it's always been the same scenery but now you finally recognize that it isn't the scenery you wanted. Then a change can be good. Luckily for me, even when I get surprised in all kinds of different ways, it tends to work out. Maybe not immediately, some things take time, but in the end I realize maybe this new scenery isn't that bad. Right now on this vacation I'm happy with where things are and I hope that the people I have in my life are too. I know I couldn't get far without them.

Next stop on our trip is Grand Junction, Colorado to pick up my Aunt Cheri, Brady (Aunt Cheri and Uncle Randy's dog), and the Dodge Raider we'll be using to get us up and over some rough roads. After stopping in there we head straight for Silverton where we'll be making camp for the next five nights. This will be the longest time we spend in one spot on our trip and I am looking forward to it! So many things to do and plenty of family to enjoy this time with.

peace out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Beautiful West

Every time I've stepped outside these past few days I realize how important it is to protect the natural wonders of this world. With amazing sights such as the Black Hills of South Dakota, the geyser fields of Yellowstone, and the majestic peaks of the Grand Tetons. All of these beautiful sights are so important to keep around because they are part of what makes so much of this Nation's history.

At sites like Devil's Tower I learned about the different Native American legends surrounding the creation of the Tower. Still today even surrounding the Tower there are prayer cloths tied in trees symbolizing prayers either for loved ones or to them. Sometimes the cloth is from a piece of clothing the loved one wore or just some important possession of the owner.

Another incredible part of these historic places is the early attempts to settle in these areas. Old pictures of the construction of things like the Old Faithful Inn, the ranches around the Grand Tetons, and the first attempts at climbing these giant peaks. On Devil's tower there is an actual wooden ladder that two guys used to climb to the top to raise money. The record for climbing to the top of the Grand Teton and back down was set in 1983 by Bryce Tatcher who climbed to the top (an elevation difference of about 7,050 ft) in three hours and six minutes.

I'm so glad I've gotten to come out and enjoy these amazing sights this past week. Today our little troop (which has increased by two since my Uncle Richard and Aunt Caprice joined us last night) took a boat over to the mountain range and got a great view of Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and one bull moose who was hiding out back behind a pond. Now, it was sunny, I probably got a little burnt, and after six miles of difficult hiking my legs were a little sore, but really all I could think about was how much I'd rather be climbing to the tops of these mountains. It sounds crazy when six miles of hiking can get me pretty fatigued, but just the thought of getting together a group and climbing to the summit of the Grand Teton is really exciting to me! I hope to make it back out here some day to do just that. For now though I guess I'll be content with just hiking around on the lower trails.

It's a good feeling when I know my trip isn't even half done. I still have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful West and in a few days I'll be fulfilling one of my biggest dreams! Finally getting to do some real off-roading! I've gotten to take my own jeep on a few trails around Collegedale, but nothing like the trails out here! My mom and Uncle Randy have always been telling me stories about how they got to climb up mountains in their families Ford Bronco, and now I'm hooked on doing just that! Except we're taking a Dodge Raider, but it should still be fun. I know I'll have plenty of pictures and stories about that so stay tuned and hopefully it won't take me so long to find the time to post all of them here!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Close Encounters of the wifi Kind

Yes! That's right! Internet! Found a small hot spot at the edge of Devil's Tower National Monument. That's where our travels have landed us today. This has to be a short post since I'm typing from the back seat of our rented Town & Country we've been touring around in.

This trip started out Wednesday, July 7 and we drove on from noon to 7:15 (Including time changes a total of 24.5 hours) having to pass through two detours. The first detour took us through the town of Christopher ;), and the second left us in bumper to bumper stand still traffic. We visited Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, drove through Spearfish Canyon, and finally found real beds to sleep in! The back of the car was slightly too cramped...

That's really all for now, hopefully I'll have more time next time so thanks for reading! And I'll post again soon! I hope...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Is The End (If You Want It)

Luckily I dont.

This could be the end. My job is over for the summer, I won't be home for the next month and a half or so, and after that I move into a dorm room. It's easy to see this as being the end, but I like seeing it for the beginning it is. It's been an amazing eighteen years of life up to now. Things might change, some things will never change, but, with the way things are going, I'm looking forward to it.

As I said, my job is now over because I am leaving for a 19 day road trip with my family. We're renting a 7-passenger van, loading it up, and setting our sights West. With 9 parks/historic sites to visit our adventures will be many. Road trips out West like this were more frequent when I was little, but lately it seems our family vacations have been a little fewer. Getting to work during the summer and earn some cash is always nice, but I miss the family vacations. This should be an excellent chance for some family fun and I especially look forward to the four wheeling.

Four wheeling is just one of the many outdoor adventures I enjoy. Just this Monday I had the opportunity to go hang gliding and immediately fell in love with it. The feeling of flying, soaring really, with the birds is incredible. It was floating. The sensation of flight. I can hardly describe it because it went by so quickly for me. I hope to have more adventures in the world of hang gliding in the future. The list of activities I enjoy goes on and on so I'll shorten it for you. If it involves running around outdoors, it's on the list.

With this being the final day I spend at home, I must say I've enjoyed it. I parted with all my friends from work, it's been a nice, sunny day, and soon I'll say goodbye to dad and the rest of my friends. I have enjoyed the summer so far and I can't wait to see what the rest of it holds for me.