March 30, 2007

Disco Sheila!

Some New Things I've Learned:
1) There are about 200,000 Catholics in Utah

The other day I was "Blog surfing" (that's a technical term I just made up by the way) and came across one guy's site that said, "Screw it, it's nice outside, I'm not writing today. Instead, I'm going to grab a beer, my sketchbook, a chair and head outside."

I sorta wish I would have took better note of this site so I could have checked back later to learn how this guy enjoyed his day off in the park. However, I decided I didn't want to learn how his experience went and instead I created my own lazy day in the park.

The weather has been getting much nicer here in Utah and I, for one, couldn't be happier. (Tulips and daffodils are starting to bloom, the red bud tress are living up to their names and the grass is turning green! Green, I love the color green and today, as I was driving back from a rock climbing program, someone was cutting their grass; what I wonderful smell I've been missing!) In celebration of the nice weather, I decided to buy a kite. I went the the park with some friends and we let the kite fly while we enjoyed a sun bath, the Spring air and just the wonderful outdoors.

I decided to name the kite Disco Sheila because she's bright and colorful and has some pretty cool moves when she's up in the big blue sky!

Disco Sheila and me; despite the scary butt-shot of myself I still thought this was a pretty cool picture. Check out the mountains, the pond below, am I lucky or what?

It had been years since I had flown a kite but I soon remembered why it is so much fun! It's an easy activity to do, the kite is pretty entertaining to watch, you're outside and it's a relaxing activity where can go into an almost meditative state...all of which is highly enjoyable to me. I'm lucky enough to be in a setting where I could fly Disco Sheila and then gaze at the snow-capped mountains in the background, or get distracted by the park's lake at the bottom of the hill filled with ducks, geese and sea gulls (despite the fact that I'm NO where near a beach, it sure felt like it because of the sea gulls always calling and soaring above). In the end, I'd always come back to watching Disco Sheila and her bright colors and being very happy about my Spring activities.

This weekend, I hope you say "screw it" and head outside too!

March 20, 2007

Wow, Last Weekend!

New Things I've Learned:

1) Aspen trees grow in groves; meaning that several trees can all be connected through a root system. One way to tell which trees in an aspen grove are all part of the same root system is by observing when their buds appear on the branches. Trees with the same root system (or trees that are all part of the same grove) will all bud at the same time whereas another aspen grove might bud a day or so later.

In my last post, I wrote about how I couldn't wait for the weekend. I was looking forward to day-light savings time and going on a dog sledding trip. I was not disappointed with my anticipation of the weekend, as I had an amazing experience! I could go on and on about the trip, but I thought I'd highlight it with pictures. Enjoy!

The group from last weekend's amazing trip!

The beautiful and mesmerizing Grand Tetons. We spent Saturday afternoon snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park! (I think I was drooling a bit when I took this picture, I love this place!)

"The Grand" Teton Mountain (Can anyone believe I actually came back after this trip? I had a hard time leaving)

On the reins of dog sledding. It's hard to put into words just how amazing it is to go dog sledding. The dogs love what they do, it's an amazing feeling to be driving the sled and your surroundings are breath taking!

Puppy love! Me and the lead dogs of my team: Eske and Cree.

The view from the Grand Teton Science School in Kelly, Wyoming. Just think, this might be my new front yard for a year!

Like I said earlier, there are so many things I could go on and on about concerning last weekend. If anyone has any questions about my adventure, please don't hesitate to ask. I love talking about this and I could post my responses.

P.S. There were two highlights of the trip that cannot be explained in pictures. 1) I received a letter from one of the participants I was helping. I'm not going to write exactly what she said (that's something I want to keep for myself) but she just wanted to thank me for helping her have an amazing experience. I cannnot explain how much the letter meant to me, but I will always treasure it as, eventhough I love my job, it's hard sometimes and receiving a letter like this can really change one's perspective. 2) I had been praying for some kind of clarity on what I should do after I finish my year of AmeriCorps. Part of the trip last weekend included staying at the Grand Teton Science School and I gained an interest in going to Graduate school there to gain skills in nature interpertation. Not promising I'll go there, but it's something I'll be thinking about!

March 07, 2007

Hurry-up Weekend!

Things I've Learned:
1) When backpacking, it's recommended to only carry 1/4 of your weight in your backpack.

2) If you're backpacking or camping and you're trying to light a fire, bring a set of those birthday "trick" candles that don't go out when you blow on them. That way, if you're match keeps getting blown out, or if they get wet, etc., you'll have the birthday "trick" candles to add some extra lighting support.

Oh, how I wish the weekend would get here soon! On Friday, I'm leaving Salt Lake to head-up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming...woohoo! I'm going up there to go snowshoeing at the Grand Teton Science School and to also go dog sledding. I went on the trip last year for work and it was one of the most amazing trips of my life! I never thought that I, a girl from small-town Missouri, would go on such an amazing trip with great people and now I get to go for a second time!

I'm also looking forward to this weekend because Sunday is one of my favorite times of the year. Sunday is the day we get to "Spring" our clocks forward. Some folks might think I'm a little crazy for being so excited about this one day because we also lose one hour of sleep. I'm so excited about this time of the year that I could care less about losing an hour of sleep, I could lose a whole day's worth of sleep and I'd still be incredibly giddy. Losing one hour of sleep for one day to gain an hour of extra sunshine in the afternoon is a heck of a trade to me!

I like this day not only because I gain some extra sunshine, but because it's the sign that Spring is soon to arrive. Don't get me wrong, I like winter, especially in Utah as everything is beautiful covered in snow, but I can't hold my excitement back knowing that Spring and all the wonders that come with it, are fast approaching. Right now I feel like a kid in a candy shop as I'm daydreaming about the day that I get to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt, drive in my car with the windows down while listening and whistling to some great music.