Monday, October 18, 2010
I have decided that in between my big posts detailing our crazy excursions, maybe I should try to keep up with the just as crazy, little moments of adventure that help make life go round!
Most recent "Crazy-but not so-Little Moment": Broughton High School
I was offered a job at Broughton High School two weeks ago! Although I will be on a terminating contract, this is certainly the opportunity of a lifetime.
I know that this great blessing comes from trusting in the Lord and obeying his commandments. By showing I have the faith that obedience brings blessings and the faith that he will provide for me, I moved to Raleigh and now have the amazing opportunity to teach at one of the most prestigious public high schools in the area.
It is true that those who exercise faith and make the steps they can, will be truly blessed. I am.
As I embark on the adventure of a "big girl job" I will keep the world updated via a new addition to this blog that I am making called "Ridding myself of the Stigma" hehe. In case you don't understand, I want to no longer be referred to as a "first-year teacher" and the only way to do that is to teach for my first year :) Yay!!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Epic Fail in the world of blogging, that is what I am!
I officially moved out of the house I was renting on July 24th and I have been living at my parent's house ever sense. I cannot believe it has been a month sense I reverted to less-adult ways of life. Broke, living with my parents, and apparently un-hire-able. The three best ways to describe me at the moment don't really hold out much hope as to my moving to Raleigh or to my getting a job, or my surviving. Ha.
The job hunt has been more than stressful, although I do have to admit that I have had a few exciting moments along the way...
I have applied to, um let's see...
Person, Leesville, Sanderson, Enloe, Broughton, Southeast Raleigh, Southern Lee, Bunn, Cummings, Franklin Early College, Graham, Granville, Heritage, Hillside New Tech, Millbrook, Phoenix Academy, Roanoke Valley Early College, Rolesville, Southern Vance, Wakefield, Williams, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, Halifax Early College, Southern, Franlkinton, Southern School of Engineering, East Wake School of Engineering, East Wake School of Integrated Technology, Durham Performance Learning Center, West Johnston, and Panther Creek (just to name a few!!!)
Now technically, two of those schools I didn't officially apply to on my own, they actually contacted me and asked me to apply because they somehow got my name and were interested in interviewing me. One of those also passed my name on to another school! I only interviewed at three school, two of which were those who contacted me on their own and one of those two actually offered me a job!!
So if I got offered a job, why is it I have remained jobless, you ask?! That would be because I turned it down...sometimes through the power of prayer and faith, you just know that something isn't right-and this was the case here.
I freaked out, prayed, got a blessing, and was all better :)
While at my parents house, I have felt completely useless, standing still while everyone waits for me to leave. Well, now it is time.
I finally got a job :)
Sylvan Learning Center. Although this is not the job I was searching for, it is none-the-less a job and one that can help strengthen my resume and make me more marketable for next year!!
So I am "living" in Raleigh. A better term for what I'm doing would probably be "extended sleepover!" Thanks to some amazing people that love me, I have had somewhere to stay ever since I got a job here in Raleigh and I plan to get a place of "my own" as soon as I can increase my funds enough to do so.
It is hard for me. I am not the person who typically goes forth without a plan, yet here I am, without much set ahead of time, changing day to day what is going to work to get me by so I can continue with the overall plan. If all goes well, in a year (or less) I will have a classroom and students and be living my dream!...but until then, I know I am at this point for a reason and I am glad that for once in my life I didn't wait to have everything figured out before I made a move. Not having everything taken care of to a T for once has definitely helped increase my faith and helped me to truly see my Heavenly Father's hand in every aspect of my life. Like a normal person, there are always aspects of belief that I struggle with; however, I do know that my Heavenly Father loves me, protects me, and guides me. I know that the Holy Ghost, the Book of Mormon, and the Prophet are all concrete proof of those facts and I am so glad that I have a family who, even though sometimes begrudgingly, loves me and supports me no matter what.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Duane & Shannon with their beautiful blessings :)
So I definitely feel that when someone is a good photographer, he/she deserves to be paid accordingly. With this in mind, I also believe that if someone sucks, he/she should still be paid accordingly.
While in Arizona visiting my brother, Duane and his wife, Shannon, we went with them to get family pictures done and to get pictures of John and Bradlie. The main purposes of this trip were the family shots and shots of Bradlie though, seeing as she is the newest member of the family :)
Duane and Shannon have been going to this place (which I will leave unnamed since I don't think I know anyone else out in Maricopa, AZ) since John was born, to get pictures done and for a good reason. The guy they went to at this studio is AMAZING and they have always had creative shots of a smiling child and LOTS of variety to choose from.
Apparently this guy realized he was talented enough to leave this place...and did so, unknown to us.
As we tried to get good family shots with a screaming 1 month old and suggest poses to this "professional," I had a realization. (I have been having a lot of these lately; experiences I have determine my opinion on aspects of life that may not affect me for years to come, but that I am none the less resolute about now.) Here is my realization:
1. I do not want to pay some stranger who does not care about me or my family to capture the love that we have for one another. I will not be a paycheck for someone, but the ability to share a gift, with the bonus of getting paid to do so.
2. I will not have pictures done in some bland studio with pictures in the background of somewhere we would "like" to be. Boring. I want pictures done somewhere that is actually important, somewhere that matters to us. Whether it be a vacation spot, our home, or some other location that has, for some reason, become dear to our hearts, the location of our pictures will be just as pivotal as the people who are in them.
3. I will not be charged extra for one simple button being clicked 3 times. Now here me out. I understand that there is plenty of technology that a photographer has, that I do not and that I would probably not find much use for; I accept paying more for those abilities. I also understand that when pictures are touched up, it can take time and effort to do it properly; I accept paying for this ability as well. However, when I can stand next to you and watch you click a button to make a picture black and white or color splash, I will not pay more money for these pictures. They are on the same paper, require the same type of ink, and are the same size as all of our other pictures and did not take more time to produce.
4. If you describe your services as innovative, PROVE IT! If we wanted pictures that looked like the school photographer took them, we would have called him. He would be cheaper and we would get one of those little black combs to "fix" our hair with right before we sit on that too short for midgets black stool and place our feet on the appropriate x's.
I won't bore you by posting good and bad of our session out in Arizona, but I will post some of my favs of my niece and nephew. Yes these aren't bad, but trust me - they were the ONLY good ones (and I edited them some as well)...
John Henry & Bradlie Elise
...he got a little excited about "fuzzy pickles"
Pretty in Pink
*Holding tight to Mommy*
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Well I was so excited to actually pretty much be caught up with what's been going on lately, but now that we got Jason's camera working (the one that I got him for Christmas 6 months ago...) all of the pics and video from our amazing trip around the world (in one night) and our Eno State Park Extravaganza are horded on his camera, and his computer. Useless. That means that I cannot detail our amazing half-weekend in the manner I would like to and it will have to wait. Sad. It makes me miss him less while I write about our adventures.
Only like...um...13 days before he gets back to North Carolina....and then like another 4 before I get to see him. An entire month apart. Wo is me.
While I wait to fill in the incredibleness of my gorgeous boyfriend...I will instead, work on the freaking awesome trip to Arizona my family just got home from! I can't wait to share how big John has gotten and how absolutely beautiful my Bradlie Elise is already!
Oh, I have also decided that I think I'm going to piece together all of the pictures and videos Jason has been texting to me since they left on their trip- random and hilarious, which means they make my day!
More to come soon :)
Friday, July 2, 2010
When I graduated a few months ago, Jason made the comment that there are some odd celebrations that we keep...just for the sake of tradition. Ridiculous caps and gowns, the whole Pomp and Circumstance and oh so many other aspects of graduations. This really got me thinking as I watched my little brother Mason's graduation from Farmville Central High School, the institution from which, four years earlier, I also graduated and my brother Duane, four years before me. Well, in four years not much seems to have changed. How is it that every other aspect of education, culture, life has changed in the past eight years, but FCHS's graduation is still the same? I was impressed to see that the administration was at least a little less psychotic then the administration four years ago...when the class of 2006 was prepping for our graduation at Minges Colosseum, we were give rather strict instructions as to what would and WOULD NOT be allowed on the day of graduation. For instance, if we were to do more than casually stroll across the stage (like maybe to run, skip, jump, or Heaven forbid- DANCE across the stage) we would immediately be escorted from the ceremony and would not receive our diplomas. If we were to wear flip flops, if we weren't fully dressed under our robes, if we decorated our caps, if we threw our caps at the end of the ceremony, if we were found with silly string or a beachball, if we cheered for our friends from our seats, and who knows what else that I can't even remember right now...our School Resource Officer was waiting on site to promptly escort us out. You would think I was attending some sort of reform school rather than a low income, small town, public high school.
Mason's graduation was much more relaxed (for most family's other than ours) and the administration didn't even fuss at the crowd for cheering for their graduates. An astounding improvement! Our family, as I hinted above, did not have quite the grand time that all the other families were able to experience on this most noble of days.
Mason learned early (my brother Duane and I were great examples) that he was smart enough to do very minimum work and still scrape by with decent grades. (He thinks his big head automatically mean he has big brains--big head shown to the left!) The problem is, since he learned this early on, he did not take the time to master the skill and was not aware of how to get ASTOUNDING grades, while still doing minimal work (if he would have asked, Duane and I would have shared our master skillz.) As he inched the climb to the end of his senior year and serious senioritis set in, Mason's grade in Calculus began a rapid decline. If he had done even some of his work, this problem probably would have resolved itself, but apparently whoever taught Mason biology, lead him to believe you actually can learn by diffusion. (Yes, I know most of you think the phrase is learning by osmosis, but you also learned wrong because osmosis is special diffusion of water.) It turns out that although Farmville has gotten less psychotic in some areas, it has really bunkered down on others...they wouldn't even tell us the day before graduation if Mason was going to actually graduate. We (and by we, I mean our parents) had bought the cap and gown, ordered senior pictures, and then got this loverly letter in the mail stating...Mason Dennison may not be eligible for graduation. Not till we saw him as part of the processional, did we know Mason was graduating from Farmville Central. Dumb.
**Note to self, don't ever be the jerk of a teacher that won't tell a student or his parents if he is going to actually pass the one class he needs to graduate**
So as the day goes, he walked across the stage, we cheered lots, took lots of pictures, made Jason take a lot of pictures, and had a grand ole day. We even had a graduation cookout (courtesy of my Uncle Tony) celebrating Mason's and my graduation. We were graced with the presence of close family and friends and Jason even got to meet some of our crazier members of the family. Poor Maggie had quite the bum of a time...for some reason she has recently become horribly scared of people, especially strangers, and shys away, hiding in corners and under tables. I am hoping that once I get her in my own house, away from her sister Izzy, that she will calm down and perk up, especially around people!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Since I am still behind, I will try to re-cap as best as possible...
After getting home on a Tuesday morning, I was back in Raleigh by Wednesday night so I could be there Thursday to help Tammy and Chad move into their incredible new home!! It was a lot of fun getting to check out their stuff and help them get it to the new place! Our excitement was a little stunted as Jason was getting some calls into work (which he was supposed to have off by the way), so I either had to play Home Alone all day, or head off to the "work place" with my sweetheart. Any guesses on which it'll be....yup, you got it; off on a temp job I go!
What an interesting adventure working with Jason turned out to be. We ended up having to work two days and cover several (what were probably supposed to be) "easy" jobs. Jason claims I was a big help, but really I have realized we just like each others' company...even when we are completely useless :) I think it was good for our relationship to see what it is like for Jason at work each day, even though we didn't have near as many jobs and the boss man wasn't there; being a part of that definitely helps me to be more aware and understanding of what type of conditions he may have had to endure while at work and why he may or may not be in a particular mood...now if he can just go to school with me one day (if I ever get a job!) and experience the difficulty of teenagers! Over all, "Take Your Girlfriend to Work" Day turned out quite well and I even got Cold Stone icecream and an under-the-table bonus for working so hard. (By the way, this was more than I had worked at my actual job in the last 2 months...so yay! for a generous boyfriend!!)
Because we worked so hard at earning money the past few days, we decided we would splurge a little and took our money to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning for a concoctive $5 meal. I have to say, this was probably my favorite part of the weekend (well besides making and eating the $5 meal that is!) After traversing the ENTIRE NC Farmer's Market, (except for the seafood portion that is, I don't know what he has against our little marine friends) we decided we would create a stir-fry entirely from food we could buy here! We got fresh steak, yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, and 0zucchini. Can you believe we actually made it under 5 bucks; ha, heck yeah!! Wash the veges, chop 'em up, toss 'em into the pan, throw on some seasoning, sizzle..sizzle..sizzle and WHAMY CABLAMEE...magnifico! It was soo freaking good!
I love that we cook together. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do.
I also finally got to meet some of Jason's friends too...hehehe
My first encounter was playing Frisbee Golf; it was my first time playing and it was a blast!!! Jason took some video, but he's being a hog so I don't have them to share right now...hopefully I can post them later! To join us on our fight to pro Frisbee Golf were Russ and Aimee! From what I gather, Russ and Jason have pretty much grown up together and hanging out with this group was quite a blast! Aimee and I decided to step back and let the boys dominate for our teams (we had to play as couples because Jason and I discovered early on that our competitiveness is very bad for our relationship...Settlers...Hot Dice...doesn't really matter the game;) we didn't want to show them up...ha! We did have a slight frisbee mishap, but that was totally because we had a rogue frisbee; it had nothing at all to do with Russ' throwing skills...Nothing!! It was a great way to spend the evening.
Next came Jason's birthday, which I was lucky enough to get to attend. I can't even begin to touch what Christy had to say about this, but here's what I really liked...First off, we were at Tammy's house (hehehe!)...Second, almost the whole fam was there...Third, alright I forgo the numbering, we had an awesome cake Jason's mom found that said "Happy Birthelay." I think Jason's is the only family that, instead of asking for a discount on this cake, would actually be pumped about buying it! I got to dance around with man ;) We played the whipped cream game...in which my arm became very sore until Jason, so lovingly, shared with me the "right" way to smack my arm into my hand and make whipped cream plummet..eh em, I mean soar into the air! Christy and her stellar photography skills got some amazing pictures of Jason and me, so those are the only ones I will steal, basically because I really love them!
After YW Camp (info is forthcoming) I headed back up to Raleigh to hang with the boy and we met up with some more of Jason's friends for quite a treat. Even though I was fighting to finish 3 final papers that were due for my 2 Summer classes, I still managed to enjoy the view on a giant outdoor movie screen. Out in Henderson there is a Drive-In Movie place and we got lucky enough to go to a double feature!! Toy Story 3 and Prince of Persia, all for $6 bucks- now that's what I'm talking about! Toy Story 3 was a great wrap up for a childhood favorite, but Prince of Persia left a little something to be desired. Even so, it was great getting to drench ourselves and fellow movie-mates in bug spray, set up our camp chairs (and camp chair foot rests, thanks to Martinez!), and blast the crowd with Jason's GIANT speaker- don't worry, we paid for this later :(
After the movie we headed out to Tammy and Chad's; as I'm sure you can tell we are really falling in love with this place. They let us camp out there for the next couple nights and ride to our hearts' content on Saturday! It is amazing to me how a month ago, I had never been on a horse and now it seems like I am riding every few weekends. I love it! Between Tammy, Chad, and Jason I am beginning to pick up on a lot of useful tips; Jason even made me put the saddle pad and saddle on Easy all by myself. Jason took me off exploring for hours and we found some amazing places; below you can see some of what we found...
Once the adventuring was done for the weekend and we prepared to head back, we discovered an unfortunate reality: the Jetta's dead battery. Oh, and what the ordeal this turned out to be. Since Chad had already left for work, we had no car to jump Jason's from...but did find some battery packs with which we could jump the car- or rather should be able to jump the car. After a few fails on that one the oh so friendly neighbor lady stopped by because she thought we lived there and she wanted to make sure we weren't going to shoot her dog if it got loose hahaha and "jumped" the Jetta after having to get her, less than sober, husband and turn off the amp to their radio. What a way to start a Sunday morning :)
After another astounding weekend with my boyfriend, I headed home for Father's Day with my awesome dad and fam and got to congratulate my little bro Mason on getting his Duty to God Award. Yay!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Well we have been up to a lot lately with the summer in full swing (and me still working pretty much zero)...so busy, in fact, that I have not had time to keep track of it all. Here is a little dose of what has been going on:
Croatan National Forest/ Cherry Point Air Show/ Fort Macon/ Maritime Museum/ Beaufort
While waiting to get on base, we just started driving around; I am pretty familiar with Havelock, but Jason isn't so he pulled out the GPS and just started finding bodies of water on it and driving towards them. Well, I have driven by the signs a million times for the Croatan National Forest, but am normally on my way to the beach and so I have never stopped to explore. Come to find out, there are some amazing things right off the highway and we found this great spot that comes out on the sound and has a freshwater stream that actually feeds out into the ocean...so cool! Here's a look at us basking in the beauty...
While we were there, we were just hanging out sitting on the beach and here come the Blue Angels, flying overhead. They went over a few times, I guess warming up for their show the next day. This is one of the videos Jason got; nothing like a private show!
So we, after some hardships, met Alicia and Paul on base for the Air Show a couple of weeks ago. There was some really cool stuff that we couldn't really get pictures of, like demolition explosions for instance, but we had a great time getting to do the couple thing and Jason even managed to cut a deal on some funnel cakes (a big favorite of mine!) We are just sitting there and he looks at me and says, "I want to buy you a funnel cake" and then goes in search of one of the magic ATM's that popped up in the middle of the air strips :) Ah, what an amazing boyfriend! Here are some of things we got to explore while we waited for the show to start...
...right before he launched off ...what a beast of a hummer
the top, crazy pup!
After illegally camping on the beach (which was not the most fun by the way) and waking to the beautiful scenery, we headed off to Fort Macon. Jason hadn't been here in years and it had been couple years for me too, so we decided to spend Saturday in the area. Thankful for Jason's camping stove, we ate beef-aroni for breakfast (so yummy!). Then we situated Jasper in as cozy and shady a manner as possible (since apparently dogs are not allowed at the Fort) and even hung towels on the outside of the car as sun barricades for the poor pup. Now off to the Fort! Even though it has only been like 2 years since I was last here, things have changed a LOT! There is a whole new visitors center and some new stuff in a few of the exhibits...odd how fun history can be. Here are a few of our impressions of life at the Fort in days past...
I had also been here before, but only once and I thought it would be a fun addition to our day after Fort Macon...so off we went! Museums are always interesting to me, because every time you go, there are different artifacts they have brought in or taken out. We definitely found some cool stuff to play in and after taking our submarine picture (and thanks to the children taking pictures before us, getting "The Yellow Submarine" stuck in our heads) decided to make the sub into an impressionist piece of art with us detailing the progression of a tadpole into a frog. (Not really lol, but that is definitely what the pictures remind me of... Oh and the first one is a real sub...unlike the bright yellow one ;)
A beautiful little coastal town, Beaufort is an interesting place full of boats and country stores, homemade food and homemade crafts. After trying on fun hats and shell rings, we decided just to stroll around. We found, to my extreme excitement, a book mobile parked on a street corner and I didn't even have to coerce Jason into letting me check it out! So, with me being in Heaven, at this moment we start exploring and all the books were either $0.50 or $1.00; it was kind of a good thing I was broke and left the little money I had in the car...until it happened. I am standing there, perusing the shelves and then I see it:
Only my most favoritist book of all time, sitting there, on the shelf of rejected books, for only a dollar (it is hardback)...I spin around so fast I don't know what to do and exclaim, "Jason, its my favorite book!" After a second of arguing, off he sprints, back to the car to collect any loose change (he was supposed to be getting my wallet, mind you) and back with the saving grace of pennies, nickels, and dimes he comes (don't worry he drove back instead of running all that way again!) So my boyfriend bought me one of the BEST presents I have EVER gotten and all for just a dollar (although I kind of think he scraped up the change so it would quit jingling in the car as he drives); ah -- he is absolutely amazing!
Cookout/ Strawberry picking/ Motorcycle Rides/ Checking out Tammy & Chad's new house/ Apartment Hunting
I don't have pictures from a lot of these, but either way, it was an amazing weekend!
So Jason's sister Christy's husband Ryan (lol) just got a new job, so to celebrate we headed out to their place to surprise Ryan after his last day at his old job!! It was a ton of fun getting to meet a lot of Jason's extended family and even his brother Adam and his family, since I hadn't met them yet!! I got to help Christy get stuff together before everyone got there and even got to play with her girls some! All of Jason's nieces and nephews are crazy cute and a ton of fun!!
We grilled out, played outside, and had a bonfire. I'm beginning to think that Christy and Ryan don't have people over without having a bonfire and I am definitely in support of that!!! (To the left is a picture of the last bonfire we went to there.) Jason's mom wasn't there because she was spending her birthday weekend with some friends, but everyone else near by seemed to be there. I am glad that so many of his siblings live close, but it definitely makes me miss my brother Duane and his family out in Arizona. I would love to have them 30 minutes down the road like most of Jason's are for him...maybe one day!
This was quite the day! We actually got up early and headed out because the website for DJ's Farm said that it is best to pick strawberries in the morning, when it is still cool. I'm not sure how we got tricked into thinking that even the morning during a NC summer could be cool...but we did, so off we went! We decided to take the motorcycle because I was still getting used to riding at this point and we figured we wouldn't get too many strawberries, so we could just stick 'em in the saddlebags and be on our way! As it turns out, the bucket (yes that huge thing in the picture) was the better deal, so we went with that. And yes, we somehow made it fit in the saddlebag!!! It took us forever to pick strawberries. This was partly because we kept taking pictures, and partly because of some of the other tips DJ's website gave us...for example picking only those that are 3/4 red, so that they have time to ripen and will not spoil right away. These are some of the tips we followed, but they have a gazillion more...
Monday, June 7, 2010
On Thursday I headed out to Raleigh, as usual, for my alternating weekends there...I got there in time to let Jasper out and wait for the rumble of a motorcycle to turn in my direction. Sadly, I was back in the car again before the rumbles came; Jasper hoped in to tag along and off I was to meet up with Jason for a rather fun experience!! When I got to his mom's house, he was already cutting the grass (we decided we would try to surprise her by getting it done before she got home because she had been working and watching grand-kids all day!) Upon my arrival, I was given two alternatives: trim bushes, cut grass. Well, the way I saw it was that either I could massacre the bushes, or massacre the yard- I decided the grass could be fixed easier than the bushes which may have to be uprooted in order to spare the yard ;)
Amazingly enough, my fist time EVER cutting grass didn't turn out too bad and we actually finished with all the yard work and "started dinner" before Jason's mom even got home!!
Now, I do slightly consider myself a pretty dang good cook. I will try to cook just about anything that presents itself as edible; however, it would appear that pizza dough trumps my skillz. the sad part is, the dough had already gone through the bread maker and was just waiting for us to plop it on the pan...without sticking...without over-flouring...ha! Luckily, Sister Edwards did get home before we finished that one because our homemade Hawaiian-style pizza turned out amazing. (So amazing in fact that we ate almost the entire pizza.)
After getting to play with Abilene and Coyer some we headed off to Jason's to be sure he was packed and ready for CAMPING the next day!!! I mean really, what holiday is complete without a camping trip..?
We headed out around 10am the next morning with Jetta packed full: tent, camping chairs, tarps, backpacks, sleeping bags, food (yum!), Jasper, Kat, Wran, Jason, and me! Somehow we actually all managed to fit and were on our way on time. The drive out to the Morganton area could have been long and boring, but with friends along (and a few competitive rounds of the alphabet game) we had a great time hanging out and getting pumped for the weekend.
Knowing that rain was approaching we were a little nervous about what we would face, especially as Jason has camped in terrential downpours before and was not up for a repeat of that. We decided we would try out a new area we found some awesome pictures of online called "Falls on Steeles Creek." We kind of have a thing for waterfalls! So as we got to the mile marker and turned off the highway, following the directions we had, we hit a split. An unmentioned split that apparently alluded our direction writer. As we picked right Jason inputs a "you know, left kind of looks familiar, like a place I have camped before..." Instead of telling him to turn around, we all just seemed to except the right turn as if the left meant nothing and off we went. At first we were getting a little nervous because we saw lots of campsites, but had seen NO cars. I mean how did all those people get there if they don't have cars?! This didn't stop us from venturing on, so on we went. After driving uphill and then back downhill, passing a flooded road, and many other oddities, we finally started thinking hmm...our directions suck. Luckily, we found the Wilson's Creek Visitor Center in the middle of the woods. "Wilson's Creek? But I thought we were trying to camp on Steeles' Creek?" In we go...to find zero help from the woman running this place in the middle of the woods with "no computer" and "superior knowledge" of all the waterfalls in the area. Dumb. Not even close. We point to the waterfall on the map that we think we are looking for and she tells us, "Oh, no. That is actually Upper Creek Falls." Now I don't claim to be a very smart person, but from everything Jason had said about Upper Creek, it didn't seem that is was supposed to be where this lady was telling us it was. Thank goodness for map legends, I mean geez. She did give us some usefull information to keep in mind though: flash flood warnings for the whole area that night. There comes that rain we keep hearing about...
Turning around, we decide to go back and take the left (hm...only 45 minutes later!) As we get back on course, Jason begins recognizing the area as a place he had camped about 5 years before with his dad and also the place that he has told me about many times as having absolutely amazing waterfalls. Me= so pumped!! Well, ironically enough we actually ran into Jason's dad on the way in, so I got to meet him and get the final confirmation that this is the place Jason was thinking of!!
Jason and I learned a little lesson on our last camping trip and decided that even though we weren't exactly sure where we would be camping along the trail, we should hike with our packs and a few other small items so that when we found a place we could leave them and wouldn't have to hike back from the car twice to bring in all of our gear. Packs on; exploring time! We discovered very quickly that the trail was lined with poison ivy, so the boys taught us all about jewelweed.
If you take this and ball it up to get the juices and rub it on yourself, it apparently keeps the oils from the poison ivy from causing a reaction. Jewelweed became like my new best friend! As we continued our hike, it started getting a little late and we we were not finding any of the places our directions were telling us to go in order to get to our amazing falls we wanted to camp at. I'm not sure why we didn't abandon these directions after their first failed attempt, but I guess we were trying to give them the benefit of the doubt! Since we needed to set up camp before the dark set in, the boys left Kat and me on the trail and they ran out in separate directions to try to find a nice camping spot. I swear they were gone for like 30 minutes and what did they have to show for it? Nothing! Time to turn around, we were getting good at this about now. On the way back down the trail we stopped at a fork we had noticed on the way up and went down to explore. what did we find? A campsite! The only problems were that the campers before us had left food so it was gross and it had "itty bitty living space." At this point, we decided we don't really have an option so we drop our packs and sleeping bags and head back to the car to bring up the rest of our gear. On the way back to the car we actually found...a better campsite! Yay! As we made our way back to the car though, we had to pick up the pace because it started thundering. All we could think was "flash flood!" Tent, tarps, chairs, and who knows what else in hand, all four of us take off toward our campsite to beat the rain. Jason and Wran beat Kat and me there so they dropped their stuff and divyed up jobs. When we got there Kat ran up with Wran to grab our gear we had left at the other, less attractive campsite and Jason and I began our scrambling to beat the rain. First a bed of leaves under the tent for water drainage, then an extra top in case the tent bottom lets in water, rain fly next, then tarps on top. By this point Kat and Wran were back with the gear, this got tossed in the tent and they hastily began other set-up.
We were able to get tents and tarps up,
firewood cut and collected (I wish I had a pic of Kat and me sawing away), fire ring built with fire started,
Jasper tagged in case he wandered off,
and dinner started...
...but the rain never came!!
Tired from the adventuring, we decided to for-go s'mores for the night and hit the tent. Up early the next morning, we started with some showers, a water run, and breakfast!!
Brrr...nothing like ice cold mountain water to wake you up!
Good thing Jason has a filter, I would have hated to hike water in
IHOP has some competition ;)
After breakfast, we washed up the dishes and headed to the creek to start our hike upstream to find the falls. Jasper even followed along on the hike, he is quite the adventure dog and only had to be rescued a few times!
So I get accused of babying him...
On this one he was definitely stuck though...
We ended up finding some amazing sights along the way...
a cave... swimming holes.... small "falls..."
and just when we thought about turning around, Jason found these:
It ended up being an awesome trip and even though we got a little mixed up on the way back to camp...and hiked barefoot through "trails" for miles, it was all worth the bonding time!