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This year we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary by taking an extended weekend in Crested Butte and surrounding area.  We took a couple of days off work and headed out on a Thursday morning.  We were anticipating seeing some Aspen leaves changing, but it was a bit early.  We enjoyed driving over Kebler Pass and into Paonia where we found a delicious farm to table cafe. We also tested 4 local wineries: Black Bridge, Stone Cottage Cellars, Terror Creek Winery, and Azura Cellars. Paonia is the “Palasade” of the east side of the Grand Mesa, so the fruit is abundant; however they tend to make their wines in a smaller more “European” style (so we were told).  We really enjoyed visiting with the wine makers. We then drove down along the eastern edge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and back up to CB. The next day we decided to drive another road called Ohio Pass with better fall colors and paused for a short hike up to Beaver Ponds. We ended the day with dinner at Garlic Mike’s right outside of Gunnison.  This was the same restaurant we had dinner the evening we got married!  The food was delicious!!! When we left it was rainy which provided some different scenery for photos and we decided to drive a different route up to Taylor  Park Reservoir and Cottonwood Pass to Cottonwood Lake. It was a great weekend to get away and relax.

 

Or watch video directly on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/108081874

 

 

 

For the past 3 years Kara has helped to organize a conference for people who are a part of or interested in simple church.  The conference is put on by the LK10 organization and has been attended by 50-60 people from all over the US and sometimes the world.  It is such a great time of sharing with others about simple forms of church. We practice “table churches” for the weekend where everyone is a part of a small church to share their hearts and listen to God together.  As we have attended these past 3 years we have enjoyed getting to know others who are like minded in this area. We had the conference this year at Bear Trap Conference center and had such a great time relaxing and enjoying the mountains.

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Nick and I had fun driving out to Grand Junction where a bunch of my dad’s cousins had gathered for a family reunion.  I had met many of these people as a child, but it was fun to get to know them as an adult.  The highlight of course was seeing my parents!

The whole group – 4 different generations

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This was the representation from my Grandpa Winfred. . . two siblings and one grandchild plus spouses.

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My mom was very excited to see the baby’s bump!

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A couple weekends ago, Nick and I had our final adventure camping before kido comes.  It was quite the experience as we did some significant off roading. We often like to off road while in the mountains and I had picked up a book from the library of trails.  We found an area that looked promising and headed out for a drive.  We were driving up near the continental divide near the weather closed Webster Pass.  We got into some tough wet terrain and managed to do some serious damage to Fern.  The nice thing was that we only knew about a blown tire until Sunday when driving home did not feel normal.  Thankfully, with God’s protection, we made it home and it was fixed!

The scenery was as always, beautiful!

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A year ago some friends told us about a backpacking trip that the did together.  They loved it and wanted to try to win a raffle for the group site over 4th of July weekend.  We told them we were in if they got it.  IMG_0026

Come January, we found out they won the raffle so plans were assembled. Over the Independence Day weekend, we executed the 15 mile round-trip hike up to Crater Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, south of Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was beautiful and we had a blast. Thanks to the Curry family for inviting us along!IMG_0205

Lone Eagle Peak reflecting in Mirror Lake was one of the highlights of the site!!

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Video of our photos @ http://vimeo.com/100074682

 

 

 

 

 

Below are our favorite 10 photos (ordered by date) from our vacation to the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks near Moab, UT.  Concluding that is a 10 minute video with 60 different photos that are greatly enjoyable and worth the watch!  If you’re interested in see our personal top-5 moments of the trip, be sure to read http://kickmo.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/vacation-to-utah-moab-national-parks/.

As we were hiking Fisher Towers, climbers were ascending the facades of various giant pillars.  In the midst of that, Nicolas just happened to have his telephoto attached to his new professional camera.  As he was taking a photo in the distance, one of the climbers had summit’d a difficult and narrow Fisher Tower, then they lifted their arms in celebration and wonder.  The timing wasn’t planned and is a factor to shoot anything at a given moment.

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Having backpacked into Elephant Canyon in Canyonlands’ NP (Needles District), we made the 4+ mile trek to Druid arch the following day.  The arch is a massive 800 feet high.

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A fairly common shot of Mesa Arch in Cayonlands’ NP (Island in the Sky District), which is a very short walk from the parking lot.  A beautiful shot nonetheless!

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This below arch is along the way to The Windows arches in Arches NP.  The stone stair steps appear to ascend directly into the arch – but in reality, it is 100 yards away and the arch is several hundred feet high!

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Double Arch in Arches NP.  An unexpected quick dispersion of the cloud cover made for a great capture of the sky!

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One of the many creases and seams between the fins/fissures of towering rocks inside the famous Fiery Furnace of Arches NP.

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This photo is along the main road in Arches NP.  Really like the setting with the mix of cool colors in the clouds in conjunction with the warmth of the red rocks.

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Double-O Arch in Arches NP.  It was not going to be a great photo because of blazing overly sunny skies and hoards of people.  Until the unexpected addition of light cloud cover and a dispersion of the crowd.  Again, timing is everything if one is patient and waits for the moment!

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The final two photos were captured on our early morning drive leaving Arches NP and thereby ending our vacation in Utah.  What a view and what a treat!

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And finally, the 10 minute video of our absolute favorite scenic photos from the trip!

http://vimeo.com/98430740

Here’s a countdown to tell you about our vacation in a fun way.

Top 5 of Moab:

5. Scenic Drive on Utah Highway 128 through the canyon bordered by the Colorado River!  (Followed up with a hike through Fisher Towers)

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4. Backpacking into Elephant Canyon, the 8 mile hike in The Needles and specifically seeing Chesler Park in Canyonlands National Park!

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3. Ranger guided Fiery Furnace hike in Arches National Park!

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2. Total of 34 miles hiked through Utah desert in this amazing region of the US!  Lots of great photography!

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1. Final outdoor adventure with only the two of us!

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Honorable Mentions:

  • Being completely unplugged from technology for almost an entire week.
  • Surviving on only one shower in 7 days, yikes!
  • Cold drinks and A/C after hikes on the hot days.
  • Remembering that the tent doesn’t keep the sand out.
  • Cool temperatures on several different days to better enjoy hiking.
  • Kara’s first time pooping in a bag and Nick’s [astonishing] pooping twice in one day at two national parks in two different states (UT/Arches then CO/Black Canyon of Gunnison).

Please watch this 15 minute video which has many of the photos that depict our latest adventure!

http://vimeo.com/98244593

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