I took Trev and Logan on a overnight hike this past week to Weaver Lake located in the Jenny Lakes Wilderness inside Sequoia National Park. Last year I took the boys on a short hike, about 1/2 mile, to a nice spot by Sierra Summit called Indian Pools. This year I decided to push them a bit more by hiking closer to 6 miles round trip. I had done this hike with my own father years ago as a kid and remembered it being a fun easy hike. I had forgotten that this hike gains quite a bit of elevation for a short hike, almost 1000 feet. The boys handled it well at first, but became a little mutinous after a couple of miles. Once we made it to the lake, all of the complaining stopped and we started to have fun. Once we set up camp we went fishing down by the lake for a while, with no luck of course, and then I began cooking some dinner. We had chicken quesadillas for dinner with some delicious pudding cups afterwards. Logan especially enjoyed the dinner saying repeatedly, "Daddy, everything tastes better in the mountains!" Trevor on the other hand looked at me like, "If this is as good as this meal tastes, then I am definitely not eating it at home." The boys are fascinated with fire and thus had a lot of fun, a little too much fun, making a fire. I actually began developing our escape plan when and if we started a forest fire. While sitting around the campfire, Logan asked me to tell them the story of how I met Mommy and so I did, watching Trevor squirm at the mushy parts. It was hilarious. We slept about as good as you can while backpacking, with the added fun of having dirty, sticky little bodies touching me in my face all night, all part of the fun. The boys were very excited to wake up the next morning and get the fire started again, while I made some great oatmeal for Trev and I and cup of noodles for my sweet-hater Logan. We left a little earlier that morning then I had anticipated due to the fact that we had used up the roll of toilet paper the day before and, unfortunately, required more the next morning. The hike out went considerably faster for that reason. While hiking out I found myself thinking of all the hikes I would like to take with the family one day in places like Yosemite (my favorite), Glacier and the Grand Canyon. Jennifer can't wait (ha ha). We finished off the trip the way every backpack trip should be finished, with a good burger and fries. The boys slept on the drive home with ketchup and dirt all over their faces. The mark of good times. Next year we do Whitney. Ya right.
I had a very interesting experience this past week at school. On Wednesday, I walked to the front of the school as I always do before the end of the day to see if there were any unsavory characters at the front of the school, which there often is. I was startled to see 2 pit bull dogs walking towards me at the front gate. I immediately became nervous that the two dogs would walk onto the campus and terrorize the students inside, about two minutes out from being released for the day, so I jumped in front of them, trying to get them to walk a different direction, and they decided that they would walk onto a open school bus. The bus driver, waiting and sleeping in the third row of the bus, was a little shocked to see these dogs walk on his bus and let out a few explicatives. Almost immediately, this guy drove up and informed me that the dogs had just chased this woman over the fence down the road and left her scraped and bloody. Concerned, we immediately called 911 and the SPCA. I spent the next minute trying to get the dogs out of the bus, but they became more and more aggressive. The police showed up almost immediately, but had no more luck then I in getting the dogs to leave the bus. I noticed that the bell was about to ring, so I locked the front gate, ran onto campus and re-directed the students to alternative exit.
So these two dogs were holed up on the bus and there was now many people trying to see what was happening. While there were no students allowed to come to close proximity of the dogs, there were many neighborhood people and others trying to see what was going on. As I was trying to keep people on the other side of the road, standing right in front of the bus, a bizarre and somewhat surreal scene opened in front of me as the the two dogs came charging out of the bus going for the bus driver standing in by the closed front gate. The bus driver jumped on top of the fence as the dogs were trying to go for his legs, then both dogs then turned on the cop. The officer drew his gun as he was backing away from the oncoming dogs and shot one below the head while he stumbled backwards and fell on his butt. The next dog came charging at the officer who was sitting on the ground and the officer proceeded to shoot him as well. This all unfolded a few feet in front of me. Both dogs slumped down to the ground and began bleeding profusely. To say the least, quite a few people, parents and students, witnessed the whole event. Thank heavens no one was hurt. After the whole police investigation took place and the news media came out and did their thing, my first thought was I wonder what the re-procutions of a police officer firing off his gun at the front of my school during release time will be. Luckily, there has been no complaints or lawsuits...yet. See the media story at:
Trevor has been swimming daily in the Clovis Swim Club along with his cousins Jacob and Emma. Part of being part of the club means weekly swim meets. Trevor swims 25 yards freestyle and 25 yards backstroke at each meet. Jennifer and I have been impressed with the improvement we've seen in his swimming technique. We encouraged him to join the club to keep him physically active during the summer and have been pleasantly surprised with how happy he is to go every morning. Before his first race at his first meet, Trevor told me, "Daddy my heart is beating so hard it's gonna jump out of my chest". Pretty cute.
Our family went to family camp at Shaver Lake this past week for our annual Ward Family & friends camping trip. The weather was warm, but very enjoyable by the lake, which was where we spent most our time. We were surprised to have the camp mostly to ourselves this year, as it is usually packed during the week of the 4th of July. Dad brought the ski boat and we brought the canoe which provided endless hours of fun. We also have one of those large water trampolines for the kids to play on, which doesn't allow the kids to jump as high as a land one, but is a lot of fun to have shoving off wars on. The lake is quite low this year due to the poor snow pack last winter, but it gave us a lot of beach to choose from. We spent 5-6 hours per day down by the lake and still had to drag the kids up to camp for dinner.
Traditionally each family cooks one breakfast and one dinner during the week allowing more time for everyone to play around. Jennifer, Robb and I (mostly Jennifer) made some great Mexican food one night (Tacos, Nachos, Chile Verde, Rice), and omelette's made to order, hash browns, fruit, danish and muffins for breakfast one morning. Each family tends to go a little overboard with their meals providing for a wide variety of good food choices. We also had burgers, pasta dinner, pulled pork sandwiches, and my favorite, avil skivers (?). I'm sitting a little heavier now because of it.
Trevor, Logan and Lizzie did a wonderful job of entertaining themselves endlessly with all the different kids their age to play with. Jackson was a different story. Jennifer and I often forget how difficult it is to take a toddler camping. Jackson loved to explore the camp, finding any half drunken soda can he could get his hands on, of which there were plenty. Jackson found negotiating the uneven terrain challenging at times, and he has the scraped nose to show for it.
Shaver Lake has a cool fire work show every year around the 4th of July off of one of the islands on lake, which is why, in part, we go during the 4th each year. This years was as cool as ever, you really can't beat the setting. The sounds of the fireworks echo throughout the area as there are a number of large peaks around. It is always a highlight of the summer.
Jennifer told me on the drive home that she could have stayed a couple of more days. I felt the same way. A good way to end a family trip.