Saturday, December 17, 2011

Newest cuteness

The kids made their Christmas wishes waiting in line to see Santa.

Part of the new Bodyology exhibit at the Children's museum.

Katie, our new cat. We adopted her in June.

Camryn doodling.

Lion cubs at the zoo. They are so cute!

Jumping away! Camryn was only happy if she was with Mason, and became stressed if another kid entered the castle.

One day at dinner, Camryn entertained herself by playing with her food. She thought it great fun to decorate a pecan with pieces of lettuce. She did it for an hour!

Her masterpiece.

Playing in the stream at Madera Canyon.

Camryn loves flowers and loves spending time in the garden. She took a short break from trying to pick the flowers to pose for the picture.

Playing with the Thomas set at the toy train museum.

Trying to climb the tree on a warm fall day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Random shots

Our cat, Katie, has adjusted well and turning into a real lap cat. Her main faults: steals Erika's hair ties off the counter, jumps onto kitchen surfaces to steal food, and begs all day for fresh food.

The two most handsome men!

She has learned well from us.

Mason has really blossomed from being in school just this short time. He now loves coloring, traces his letters voluntarily daily, and has his homework done by the next day usually. Erika made him a special place-mat that he can color daily with dry erase markers and he loves it.

Erika is training for a half-marathon and this was a shot she took from a trail run. It was dawn with the full moon still in the sky.

One of Mason's creations. He completely designed and cut out the body, tail and head/neck. Mama cut out the spikes. Mason colored it and drew the face, and voila! a Diplodicus.

Fighting fires at the Children's Museum.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This weekend Erika and Kevin backpacked 10 miles to the campground at Havasupai, camped for two nights, and hiked back to civilization. It was spectacular!

Many people choose to use the mule "trains" to haul their stuff down. Wusses.

Thursday night we drove as far as we could, stopping in Seligman, which was as close as a real-life Radiator Springs as it comes, except we didn't find any place as nice as the Cozy-Cone motel. We had breakfast at the Roadkill Cafe where the portions were huge. We took the extras to go, and Erika wants credit for being the first person to backpack a pancake with syrup to the Grand Canyon.

Friday September 9

10:15 - Erika and Kevin started down the trail from the Hilltop to Supai (8 mi). The initial descent was steep with switchbacks leading down the mesa wall.

10:30 - The trail turned to sand and rock. The Grand Canyon is primarily sandstone, which meant much of the trail was sand. Deep, slogging sand. Erika was so concerned about the clouds of dust being produced with every step and became distracted talking about the risk of contracting coccidiomycosis (a fungal infection from desert dirt), that she slipped on the sandy rock, suffering the first injury of the trip (bruised hands).

11:15 - First marker, a sign that says 6.5 miles to Supai. Some other exhausted hiker on her way to the Hilltop was, confused by the multitude of trails in the area, saw the sign and said "Oh, no, we're going back to Supai?!?"
12:30 - Rest stop! It has been a hot hike, but not too hard, and enjoyable being surrounded by lovely red canyon walls.
2:00 - Erika acquires injury #2 climbing some rocks so she can get a neat picture. Scraped and bruised shin.

2:15 - Second marker, 2 miles to Supai! We left the original canyon and began descending Havasu Canyon, which includes the creek feeding the falls. There we had our first glimpse of the water, and amazing clear-blue. It is blue because of the lime. The trail became very pleasant now, meandering through the trees and sometimes next to the water.

3:00 - We arrived in Supai and checked into the tourist office. Lots of horses in the village.

The school, with a hitching post outside. The village was more modernized and developed than expected, and with all the negatives of modern civilization. There was abundant littering, unkempt lawns, and obesity.

3:15 - Hiking again, Kevin with a cold coke in hand, Erika with a Snickers ice cream bar. Being so close is motivation to go on. That, and the paranoia of not having a good camping spot because they were sold out and there were two large parties right behind us.

3:45 - Havasu Falls. It was everything we had seen in the photos and more. Just a few of our own pictures and we plodded on to the campground.

4:00 - Setting up camp. We really pushed hard in the end and wanted nothing more than to take our boots off and lay down in the tent. This spider was a guest in our campsite for an hour.

4:45 - Replenishing our water, using the Steri-pen to purify the spring water. Erika eats her pancake!

5:20 - Napping. Note the picturesque location of the campsite. There were lovely white flowers all over the place.
7:00 - Eating ramen noodles for dinner. It got dark about now, pretty much leaving us no choice but to go back in the tent. After the trip we regretted not going back to the falls today, the cold water would have been perfect on our aching feet. At the time, we were so tired that any more walking seemed just out of the question. We played Rummy and were asleep by 9. It was such a quiet campground, except for the sound of the rushing creek and the peeper frogs.

2 am - Erika has to get up to pee, which was irritating because the bathrooms were a nice little walk. Then tried to get back to sleep. Damn frogs.

Saturday September 10

7 am - Rise and shine. Breakfast of instant coffee (Taster's Choice, not bad really, especially cause we had creamer and sugar) and oatmeal. More water purification.
9:30 - Head off for Mooney Falls, about a mile from our campsite. We did not know, however, that to get to the bottom of the fall was a treacherous descent down the cliff wall. That was an adventure.

Mooney Falls from the top

Barely starting, choosing not to heed the warning.

The hike descended into the cliff wall. This was a tight squeeze with a pack on, but so much less scary than this....


Kevin safely on the ground.

Kevin is clearly unhappy about taking a picture while being blasted by cold mist.

Count them: 1, 2, 3, 4 (more?) falls! Mooney is in the background partially obscured by the tree.

The lime travertines were beautiful here.

11:00 - Erika getting up the courage to submerge herself in the cold water for a welcome bath.
12:30 - Back at the campsite having lunch, tuna salad.
1:30 - Napping

3:00 - We check out the base of Havasu falls, a very popular swimming/beach spot. Only the crazy boy scouts were actually swimming. We sat on the travertine at the top of a small fall, sunbathing while the cool water was soothing our aching leg muscles. We did not stay long because the sun set below the canyon wall and it quickly became chilly.
4:30 - Playing Rummy in the tent again as it is pouring rain. We periodically check the gear we have stashed under the fly and make sure the puddles that are forming under the tent are not leaking in. No leaks, very happy with the tent.
7:00 - Making ramen noodles for dinner, quickly run out of light. We rested in the tent a bit before deciding to head out for our final bathroom break before bed. We stepped out of the tent to see this....

Moon rise over the canyon walls.

Sunday September 11

12 am - It starts raining again and we have to get up and put the packs back under the fly. No trouble going back to sleep. Very happy with how comfortable our tent and gear keep us.
5:00 - We get up and start tearing down the campsite. Giant green caterpillar crossing our campsite. That was the extend of the wildlife we saw. And a toad and squirrels.
6:20 - Head up the hill to Supai, where we briefly stop to get some bread and cold drinks.

Erika misread the instructions for her pack and thought these straps were for a "bread-roll."

8:30 - We finally stopped for breakfast. Kevin couldn't take Erika's whining anymore. We had only one cup, so here Erika is drinking coffee from her plate/bowl.

One of the many native's dogs followed us for a bit, was very cute, and earned himself a piece of bread.

He therefore kept following us.

11:10 - Passed the infamous sign; 1.5 miles to go (straight up hill)

Snack break, and took shelter under a rock outcropping during a brief rain.

11:45 - Kevin is about to die from climbing so hard with 25-30lbs on his back. We make it to some shade and have lunch (tuna salad sandwiches). We are passed by many irritating people on horseback or hikers without packs, who aren't nearly as exhausted as us.
12:45 - Hilltop!!!!