Bedlam and chaos in the Butterfield house, which has been certified as experiment in rapid entropy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So many changes

The last time I posted, it was summer. Will was preparing for college by sleeping all the time, Satchel was working hard and vague about his plans, and the younger boys were ready to head back to school - Carson to middle school for the first time, Reed as a second grader.

Now it's early December, and Will is almost done with his first quarter at Evergreen (and loving it!), Satchel lives in Breckenridge, Colorado where he's managing a small ski shop at the base of the slopes, Carson is adjusting to 6th grade, and Geoff and I are adjusting to less laundry and fewer groceries. Reed isn't adjusting to much - he's still the youngest kid and still in the same school. So the main difference in his life is fewer big brothers around to sit on him.

I've been missing my boys a lot with the holidays - but I guess I'd better get used to it! You have kids, love 'em to pieces, put your all into raising them -- and if you've done it right, they grow up, move out, and have their own lives. So I have to remind myself that my nest isn't half empty, it's half full!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Where were the bears?

One of my favorite places to camp is in Yosemite, not down in the valley but up on the Tioga road. We frequent a campground there that's 'unimproved' which means you have to bring or sterilize your own water, and the road is rough, but that just makes it better in my opinion. Ponderosa pines, wildflowers, granite boulders, a clear mountain stream - it's kid (and me) heaven. Industrial strength bear boxes are provided, which helps with the peace of mind.

We spent a week there in early August. We climbed Pothole Dome (an easy climb with kids) and played on the Tuolumne River. That day was overcast, and the river was cold, but it was gorgeous. Walking back along the edge of Tuolumne Meadows we saw deer grazing, and many wildflowers.

We spent a day in camp, with our longest expedition being a 1/2 mile 'hike' up the creek that runs through, to a field full of wildflowers where we found a mini swimming hole. We saw the BIGGEST bear poop on the trail, but that was the closest we got to a bear on this trip. Apparently they were down the road at White Wolf.

We braved the valley one day, and the crowds, and the exhaust. Carson, Reed and I swam in the pool at the base of Yosemite Falls, which was just a trickle but the pool was cold & clear (and full of people). We picnicked at the El Capitan picnic area, which doesn't have a good view of El Cap, and the bus driver forgot us there. But then he remembered us, and we ended with a lovely swim in the Merced River with a much better view of El Capitan.

And we went to the most beautiful lake, Tenaya, where you could walk out in knee deep water for such a long ways. The lake bed was sandy, the water icy, and the kids played and played. It was a perfect place to spend the last day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Road Trip, Part Four - Home Again

On Friday morning we packed up the tent and headed off - hitting the road by 7 a.m. - to Arches National Park, where we planned to have lunch and spend a few hours (not nearly what Arches merits, but better than skipping it). Another beautiful drive with a sleepy kid, and we were soon in the crazy gorgeous canyonlands region. When we got to Moab, it was blistering hot, but we had our water bottles, and we walked to a few of the arches where it was fine in the shade.

The arches are amazing - beautiful graceful curves of sandstone, arcing up against the rich blue sky. Everywhere you look you see more of them, and windows, and spires, and monoliths, and a multitide of other crazy shapes. It's a great place to let the imagination run wild: "I see a train! No, it's a camel! No, it's a camel-train..."

But two hours passed too quickly, and we had a loooooong way to go. The drive continues to be incredible, passing near (but missing) Capitol Reef on Highway 70, and on westward to Nevada. We were planning to camp at Great Basin National Park that night, expecting to get there around 5 or 6 p.m. I was aiming for Highway 50 for the ride home - the "Loneliest Highway in America" - it's a drive I really love, as you pass through the basin & range landscape - long straight stretches of sagebrush desert, then sudden quick mountain ranges, then another long straight stretch, and so on, for mile after mile after mile. It's usually a hot, dusty drive that really brings home the desolation of Nevada, but we got lucky.

When we got to Great Basin, we discovered to our surprise that it was full - apparently it was Pioneer Days and everyone in Utah had a holiday. But it was also raining, fairly heavily - dark thunderstorms overhead, big drops falling. Carson and I decided to just keep driving and see where we got. (He was getting pretty ready for home again.) So on we went. We stopped for a quick dinner in Ely, and kept driving. I think we got that drive on the most beautiful day - the thunderstorms kept the air clean, the desert was green, the mountains spectacular, and as it got later we saw the most amazing sunset - to our west were clouds of pure gold, to the east were salmon-colored mountains with lavendar clouds and a huge rainbow. We tried to stop and get a photo, but my camera was clearly not up to the task! We slept that night in a motel in Fallon, Nevada, and the next morning it was up to Tahoe and back down the other side to home, tired but happy.