P1260065While camping this summer, Nicolas made a comment that he wanted to do a backpacking trip while Ivan was still little enough to carry.  We planned it for his birthday weekend. We decided to go on a trail off a 4*4 road that looked pretty secluded on the map we had. We packed up Saturday morning early and got on the trail about 11am.  We were hiking beside a creek and up in elevation.  We knew after a while we would loose our water source, so we had to decide if we were going back down or continue up.  Nicolas was by then carrying Ivan and he felt good, so we kept going.  The view from the top was beautiful and we enjoyed it. We then needed to find water to set up camp, so we went down the other side of the mountain and pretty much hiked the whole 11.5 mile trail before we found water and a place to tent. We set up tent exhausted and hungry.  We slept reasonably well and packed up in the morning and headed back out knowing we had a long hike back to the car.  We had some great time talking together, listening to Ivan chat and thinking quietly as well.

Here’s a fun picture of Kara and Ivan from our first backpacking trip side by side with this trip. IMG_0359

Check out the video of our adventures below: https://vimeo.com/179750804

We enjoyed a weekend away with friends in Breckenridge in October.  It was fun to see the colors again and as always the fun of Breckenridge.

This year it was Nick’s turn to plan the anniversary trip.  We ended up in Vail Valley, staying in Avon and exploring the entire valley.  It was a bit early to see fall colors but we found some good yellow Aspens! Ivan enjoyed getting away with us as well and we slowed down enough to drive over Guanella Pass on the way home.

This year we decided to take an impromptu family vacation to Durango and Pagosa Springs that tagged along with 4th of July weekend we planned to spend in Buena Vista. Some of the highlights from the trip include seeing family in Buena Vista, the the Durango-Silverton train ride, various hikes, and swimming in the mineral pool.

On our way to Pagosa, we stopped for a guided tour of Chimney Rock National Monument where we enjoyed some hiking to waterfalls and scenic drives. In Pagosa, we stayed at the bakery, which was a great place to eat especially after smelling the delicious baked goods all night. On Friday we spent a couple hours at a hot springs pool, and Ivan loved the water.

The Coates family walked in the Buena Vista parade.

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Nick and Ivan on the train.



There are two videos to watch of the pictures.

BV-Durango-Pagosa Part 1:

BV-Durango-Pagosa Part 2:

We had a quick opportunity to visit Kara’s family on an extended weekend in Seattle area.  We flew in town Saturday and after picking up the rental car went to pick up my parents and drive north to Bellingham, WA.  We visited my grandparents who are both in their 90’s and still live on their own.  They are doing very well despite many adversities. It was great to see them again and they enjoyed meeting Ivan.

We also spent some time with some other adopted grandparents the Karber family.  Grandma is in a home as she has Alzheimer’s, but it was fun to watch her light up when she saw Ivan.  After a fun weekend we headed back to Seattle on Monday to spend time with some more extended family.  Nick had a training to attend at Microsoft Tuesday and Wednesday so I got to explore Seattle with my parents and my Aunt. It was a bit fast and furious, but fun.

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)


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


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


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


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


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!


This year for the 4th of July weekend we enjoyed the time with Nick’s family.  The Coates clan, who live out in Buena Vista, CO hosted us for the 4th for BV’s parade and family fun. We enjoyed hanging out with the girls and sleeping by the sound of the creek. Fireworks were banned again this year, so the kids enjoyed glow sticks.  I enjoyed working on a puzzle that had been started.


Nick’s Grandpa Hostetler’s side was gathering for a family reunion in CO Springs for the weekend, so Friday we got up and headed to do some off-roading before going to the reunion.  We went up from St. Elmo to Hancock Pass then back down to Highway 50.


We didn’t plan well and ended up missing the gathering Friday evening. We found a forest road and set up tent for the night then headed back to hang out with the family Saturday.  We went on a walk around the Garden of the Gods then got lunch at a local Greek Restaurant. Nick’s sister, Abby and Jason and Alexa joined in the fun at this point of the day.  We then went back to the hotel and jumped in the pool with the twins while the younger girls took a nap. Saturday afternoon was an auction for raising money for the next reunion.  Someone had taken some old photos of the family and the homestead and turned them into puzzles for the auction. While we were waiting I enjoyed assembling one of them and chatting with whoever else sat down to work on it.  We then all met up a the Memorial park for pictures and a picnic and getting to know others. We headed home after the park, overall it was a good weekend.

Video of the weekend – https://vimeo.com/70368676