June 26, 2011

rexburg weekends.

Idaho Falls Temple
     Now that summer is here, Jason and I are really taking advantage of the nice weather after being cooped up all Winter long. Because we both have busy school lives during the week, we like to use the weekends as a kind of escape. Most of our escapes are to Idaho Falls, the closest thing to a large city that Jason and I have. It's fun to get out of the small town and eat at a restaurant or  just catch a movie 30 miles away. On a particular day we went to the Idaho Falls Temple and fed bread to the ducks with our friends.
     Jason had the fun idea to make rubber ducky cupcakes. It was a lot of fun making M&M eyes, marshmellow tails, and Starburst beaks. It was quite time consuming and a little frustrating because it was our first time making cupcakes beyond just frosting the top, but we were very proud of ourselves when we finished.
Rubber ducky cupcakes
One of the pretty neat things to do while in the area of Rexburg is to go to the ice caves. The ice caves were not at all what I expected. I thought that was just what they were called and I didn’t realize there was actually ice inside, but I’ll have to tell you, they were amazing! The caves had huge, thick layers of ice. At one point, if you look up at the ceiling, it looks as though there were tiny crystals everywhere. The only bad part of this cave was how tight it was and that there were parts where you had to lay on your stomach or back and crawl and push yourself through. At the very end of the cave, there was a thick piece of ice that has been turned into a slide!
The ice caves
     Not too long ago, we hiked with our friends to Packsaddle Lake. It was a rainy day, but we made the most of it and enjoyed the seclusion of having the lake to ourself. The lake was a gorgeous green color and at the bottom there was a rope swing. Some of the guys swung back and forth without jumping into the water, I'm glad Jason didn't do it.
Packsaddle Lake
     Other weekends, Jason and I get wedding things done. I recently made a paper chain as a countdown to hang in my room as well. It’s been fun taking a day off each morning. We’re almost there! I just know my mom is going to be so relieved when this wedding is over. She has worked so hard and I feel kind of bad, but I’m incredibly grateful. I know Jason’s mom has been working hard too. I love them both for doing what they have for us. Jason and I also have our odds and ends that we have to accomplish such as picking out Jason’s ring, getting the song list together, and getting Jason measured for his tuxedo.
      Jason is really excited to graduate in about 4 weeks. I’m so proud of him and all the hard work he puts into his studies. Unfortunately, the studying will only continue after he graduates because he will start working on his grad school applications. As for me, I’m just trying to get through this semester. Three semesters in a row of school has been really tough, but I’m really glad I decided to do it.

June 11, 2011

bison and bears and elk, oh my.

Jason's distance
     This last weekend Jason, our friend Nate, and I drove to Yellowstone National Park in Montana. Yellowstone is the largest and oldest national park in the world. I had been once before with my parents when I first came to Idaho for school, but Jason has never been so he was twice as excited as I was. Jason was so excited to go that he bought a season pass! Good thing I enjoy going.
My distance
     Our adventure started moments into the park when we saw our first lone bison next to the road by the river. Jason has been wanting so badly to see a bison. No one really knows where this desire came from. He practically jumped out of the car before stopping it to get a closer look. I stayed in the car. I would’ve more enthusiastic about seeing a bison if we weren’t handed a warning that said "Bison can run 3 times faster than you can. Many visitors have been 'gored' by bison. Do not approach bison." I suppose my personal rule in this situation was ‘if other people are doing it, I guess it's okay. So I finally got out of the car and looked at it through the trees. Goal #1— check.
     As we kept driving through the park to our destination of none other than Old Faithful, I found it kind of comical that we passed hundreds of bison, most of which were in herds. We had to be careful while driving because there were a lot of bison crossing the street. We stopped at an area where there were different hot spots that we could walk around. This place was really cool because all of the hot spots were different. Some of them made a beautiful blue color, others bubbled, and some smelled of sulfur or rotten eggs.
Old Faithful
     While we waited for Old Faithful to erupt at its scheduled time, the three of us sat and ate our lunches that we packed. Old Faithful is really amazing. It blasts up to 150 feet in the air! Jason and I were kind of distracted by it so we didn’t really get a good picture of how high it was. After a trip to the gift shop, we continued on our way to Fairy Falls. During our short drive, we ran into a large crowd of cars. We pulled over to see what the commotion was about. Turns out, there was a bear by the river feeding on a deer carcass! Oh geez! I was super freaked out, but because of my rule of "if everyone else is doing it, it must be okay." Jason kept saying earlier that after seeing his bison, he wanted to see a bear. I told him if I saw a bear, I’d cry. I didn’t. Goal # 2— check.
     We proceeded to Fairy Falls. We drove a little way and then had to hike mostly flat ground, but a good majority of it was through trees. I thought for sure we’d see a creature while walking and possibly get eaten, but it was comforting to see people walking behind and in front of us and back down the path alive. The hike was 2.5 miles. I started to get really excited when I could hear the rushing water in the distance. This waterfall was beautiful! It was 197 feet tall. I could stay there all day. When we stood by the edge of the water, we could feel a light mist hitting our skin. This felt great because we were really hot from the hike and the sun. Goal #3— check.
Fairy Falls
     After enjoying the beautiful view, we hiked back down another 2.5 miles. I kind of like all this hiking we’ve been doing. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something and that I’m actually exercising. Jason really likes it too. He says we’re going to be pros, we’ll see about that. On our way home we saw the last of our bison and elk. And no car accidents this time! Goal #4— check.

June 6, 2011

arch you glad you came.

Delicate Arch
     Over Memorial Day weekend, Jason and I wanted to take advantage of the 4-day break (we love taking road trips and getting out of the small town of Rexburg) so we decided to drive down to Cedar Hills, Utah to stay with his Aunt Kim. I had two midterms to take and two classes to go to before leaving for Utah. I was incredibly excited to leave my worries and stresses at home. After our 4 hour drive to Cedar Hills, it was nice to cuddle, watch Tangled and get some much needed sleep.
     On Saturday Jason and I went down to Salt Lake City to meet up with Jason’s mission friend and “best man," Chase. We were meeting him and his cousin, Ashley, for lunch at the mall. Jason and I went early so I could see the Conference Center for the LDS Church. I had never been there before and I really wanted to go when I found out there was a garden on the roof. The Conference Center was huge and beautiful and the garden was awesome.
     I was definitely ready for lunch when we met up with Chase and Ashley. We decided to go to Costa Vida, an amazing Mexican restaurant. The four of us were able to talk and get to know each other while eating lunch. I was really glad that Jason was able to see his good friend that he hadn’t seen in a while. After lunch, we all met up at Boondocks for a game of Mini Golf! I lost, but that’s okay. We really should’ve gone bowling . . . just kidding, but seriously that's my forte. From there, Chase and Ashley went home and Jason and I went to see Thor. Jason really liked it and I just thought it was okay. After our movie, we got together with our friends again for ice cream. I was really glad I was able to meet Chase and get to know him. He is really nice and very smart. I’m really happy he is going to be a part of our wedding.
A closer look at Delicate
     Sunday was...an adventure like none other, at least, for me it was. Jason and I got up really early to drive to Moab, Utah (about 3 hours away). We went to Arches National Park! We had our water, our sunscreen, hiking shorts, and we were ready to go. First, we went to Delicate Arch, the most well known one. It was a 3 mile hike there and back, but it sure seemed like a lot longer. If it weren’t for the wind, I probably would’ve died from the heat climbing up the mountain. Then again if it weren’t for the wind, I would have never been scared for my life about blowing over the edge. When we made it to the arch, it was completely worth the hike. It was beautiful— like nothing I had ever seen before. We had to ask at least 5 people to finally get the picture we wanted (we're picky).

     After our hike back down, we drove to Double Arch, the one seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This one only took 10 minutes to walk to, but it was just as amazing in its own way. Jason and I were able to climb up the side and sit under one of the arches. It was such a beautiful view of the desert. It was kind of scary when the wind started blowing pretty hard. Sitting there for about 7 minutes was good enough for me before I told Jason I was ready to get down. I had a lot of fun climbing up and down the rocks. I felt like a child on a jungle-gym. After both of these hikes and our trip to the gift shop, Jase and I were definitely ready to go back to Aunt Kim’s and SLEEP.
Double Arch
     On our way home, the adventure continued with an unexpected . . . something. On top of both of us being really tired, we also had a lot of distractions and confusions while on the road. When we made a wrong turn, we tried to quickly make a u-turn and took it too fast and ran straight into a road sign. This was my first car accident I had ever been in (as far as I can remember) so I was pretty shaken up and I definitely cried. Luckily for us, the way we hit the sign was right on the front license plate and the only major damage was to the windshield which shattered as much as it could with the safety glass. Man, was I thankful for that invention. We were able to drive away with no injuries and with the ability to drive safely through the large cracks on the windshield. Somehow we made it through strong winds, rain, and darkness. Even though this was a really scary time for me, I was still able to find things to be eternally grateful for. One thing was considering how fast we were going around that corner (about 65 mph) we could’ve easily flipped the car and been extremely hurt. The other thing was after Jason took a breather and calmed himself, he pulled over and made sure I was okay and comforted me. Whew! What a rough drive home. Jason assured me that it was just another part of the adventure. We were both so relieved to return to Cedar Hills and go to bed early.

     Because Monday was Memorial Day, there were no auto shops open. We also did not want to miss any school by waiting until Tuesday to get the windshield fixed, so we had to drive back to Rexburg very carefully. Overall, the weekend was great! We really had a wonderful time with a minor setback, of course.