Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Visit from a Londoner

Well, having a visitor from London definitely gives one a reason to blog... and a reason for RKJ to make buttermilk pies and RAJ to grill NY strips and marinated chicken. RAJ, RKJ and RKJ (yes there are two girls with those initials) teamed up to make for the first time ever... bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers on the grill. We had a fun time with our london visitor and her family. Then the next day it was off to the airport. She of course had to stop at wal-mart for a supply of products made in the U.S.A. - namely velveeta cheese and reese's peanut butter cups- the former being to have parties for americans and the latter to satiate Reese's deprived office mates. She also got to have her last U.S. meal for a while- at Rosa's cafe, compliments of my papa who was brought by nana. ABJ took some tortillas to her hubby-we haven't heard if they made it all the way across the ocean.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Guest Blogger...Lengthy Post!

Hey everybody, daughter here. I recently had the opportunity to go on a "Wilderness Trek" in Colorado with a sister church's youth group. Best week of my life! And I just wanted to share some pictures/words. Drove all day Saturday (9 hours?) to get to Trinidad, CO. I got to eat lunch at Chickfila in the mall in Abilene and it was awesome. We ate dinner that night at a place called BlackJacks that had some awesome mashed potatoes then stayed the night in a hotel, woke up early, went on a quick Starbucks run, held our own church service on a few picnic benches outside a Safeway, then headed off to Salida (stopped at amicas amazing brick oven pizza place for lunch)then arrived at base camp (about a 3 hour bus ride from trinidad) --where we loaded our meals, gear, and packs we would need for our 5 days of hiking and camping in the wilderness. We met with and got to know our 4 guides who would be leading us on the trail. We sang songs and had a welcome dinner with another church group who would be hiking a different mountain that same week. We practiced pitching our tents then stayed the night in them. The Sonic across the street was tempting, but off limits! From base camp the next morning we drove about another hour and a half or so to our rappelling site. After rapelling, we drove to the beginning of the trail. It was here we were introduced to "The Burden" a pretty heavy brick that was to be carried with us everywhere as a symbol of our struggles. Here's the catch: "The Burden" wasn't allowed in anyone's backpack, but instead must be carried by hand. We filled up our nalgenes with water from the river and added the 4 drops of chlorine to clean it. One of the kids with us got sick before we even started hiking, so one of our adult sponsors, who happens to be a mountain man maniac, (which is important later)drove him to the airport to be flown home. The rest of us started the 3 to 5 mile hike to low camp. I carried "The Burden" most of this hike. We were kind of running behind schedule. I don't remember what we ate the first night? Or if we even had a campfire? I'm sure we did. Our night at low camp is so vague in my memory. Wait. We talked about rapelling and trust and had a devo. And we ate"mac n dac". Macaroni with canned ham. Hmm. Pitched our tents. Told knock knock jokes. Now that I remember. And Goodnight!
Monday Pictures. (Rapelling Day)

We got to experience the thrill of rappelling off the cliff shown here:We wore harnesses, helmets, and gloves modeled here: Here I go! No fear

Prayer was a really important part of this week.

And then came Tuesday. Oh wow! Tuesday. Hm..Woke up and began the all day 15 to 20 mile hike to high camp. This was extremely challenging: physically and mentally, but we all sang songs to distract our minds and everyone was helping everyone out: awesome bonding time! The Burden was passed around to just about everyone over the long day. We stopped for lunch on the way(vienna sausages ew) and it started raining/hailing/snowing a little bit on us. It soon quit. We had been hiking for a few minutes after our lunch break when we realized we had left the Burden! A few went back to retrieve it. It was a close one. When we were about 200 yards from our destination (this was unknown to us at the time) our guides instructed us to take off our packs and place them in a circle. Then we played a musical chairs kind of game with our packs and everyone ended up with a different pack to carry as a way to kind of experience what burdens other trekkers had been putting up with all hike long. Some were heavier than others; some were lighter; some didn't fit quite so well...everyone's pack was a struggle to the person who was carrying it though. Reaching high camp was so exciting. We pitched our tents and napped/rested until dinner time. What did we eat at dinner? The meals are all such a blur to me. I think it was rice and something else added to it. I just forget what we added to it. It wasn't very tasty. I remember that much! Campfire devo. Bedtime.

This is the 80 lb. pack that I hiked with. We became very close.

Crew #2 preparing dinner

Singing and whatnot.

Wednesday we got to sleep in!! (yes..6 am was considered sleeping in!) The guides cooked us a special treat for breakfast:fried spam && reeses pieces pancakes! The pancakes were dee-lish..my fried spam ended up under a tree somewhere after one and a half bites. Shh, don't tell on me! After breakfast my friend Elizabeth and I attempted to wash our hair in the river. The water was ridiculously freezing cold. We were in the middle of shampoo/conditioning when the group started yelling at us to hurry up and come get instructions for the rest of the day. So we poured as many water bottles as we could (while we were screaming because it was so cold) to rinse it out. We found out later that we both had not gotten all the shampoo/conditioner out so our hair looked even worse than before we had washed it. We didn't try that again the rest of the week :) We walked back up to high camp with wet hair and gloves on (to warm our freezing hands) to learn that we would be spending the next 3 hours by ourselves. Well actually not alone. With God! In silence and solitude kind of thing. It was hard to not be distracted by bugs..and the fact that I didn't have a jacket on and was going into convulsions from being so cold and having wet hair didn't seem to help them. But it was so neat to just sit in awe of His creation and let Him speak to my heart. It didn't even seem like 3 hours had gone by when they said now it's lunch time. Again, I don't recall what we ate? Then it was free time! Most everyone used this time to bathe. Elizabeth and I decided against the cold river water and instead resorted to cleanliness via baby wipes. Worked very well. A few friends and I headed back across the river to a big grassy knoll called "The French Peak" I think..and just hung out for most of the afternoon while everyone else stayed at high camp and played cards. It was a super relaxing day. Oh! and remember mountain man maniac who had to take the sick kid home? well he just hiked his little self up to high camp all in one day without stopping. cool beans. Dinner..Devo..Sleep! We went to bed extra early to get ready for Summit Day!


Crossing the River Into The Grassy Knoll a.k.a. French Peak

The view from where I spent my Solo Time

Thursday was also challenging. We woke up SUPER, SUPER early. (Before 4 a.m.) Drank some hot chocolate and began our trek to the summit of Mt. Rinker! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. It was a hard hard hike and it was so awarding to reach our destination. The hike down was difficult as well. At one point we got to slide down a huge patch of snow. Fun times. =) About half way to high camp someone said, "hey who has the burden?" WE LEFT IT AT THE SUMMIT!! ahh. silly us. We were MISERABLE when we got back to high camp. (Much later in the afternoon). We probably hiked for 10 hours! Mosquitos were swarming, we had to wait 30 minutes to drink our water, everyone was just exhausted and worn out and kind of cranky. We napped and woke up in chippier moods, played a game of signs until dinner and campfire. I think we ate rice and beans? Or ramen noodles? One of the two. Night night!


The same hands that created all of this...they created you and I.

ah. i can't do it anymore. friday we woke up early hiked back to the bus drove back to salida ate lunch at amicas again went swimming at the natural hot springs pool took showers(real ones!) went back to base camp had a little banquet meal and final devotional turned all our stuff back in (they gave us a new "burden brick" and we all signed it)then drove the 3 hours back to trindad where we stayed the night at our hotels. woke up the next morninggg. (took another real shower..mm!)drove in bus. lunch at subway in amarillo. got home saturday around 7. happy birthday rachel. the end.

(picture from final devo on friday night. thats all she wrote folks.) I ALMOST FORGOT..the theme for the week was RENOVATE US www.wildernesstrek.org if you want to know more! i hope i get to go again next year. i really would encourage you to jump on the chance to take one of these trips if given the opportunity. okay. bye now.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


summertime and the livin is easy.... it's time to discuss my top 4 fav summer foods: #1 being a tomato out of someone's garden with salt and pepper. #2 would have to be my new discovery: zucchini fried in butter with brown sugar and nutmeg. #3 being fresh peach cobbler right out of oven and #4 is corn on the cob with lots of butter, salt and pepper. I just finished eating #2.