Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eat at Pete's

Long's Peak

On our trip to Colorado we made a huge plan to climb Long's Peak. It is 14,255 feet tall- the tallest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a big deal to climb- you start at 2 or 3 AM and need to be off of the summit before 12 in order to miss afternoon storms. It is a round trip hike over 16 miles with over 5000 vertical feet climbed. The first 6 miles are hiking, the last two are scrambling and grunting.

We started at 2AM- signed into the log book and began our voyage...

It was SO cold- just about 35*... So we kept moving as much as we could- But around 5:30 we stopped for a break and took these pics. It was so cool to be above the treeline and also above the clouds with the sun coming up.

Checking out the summit and where we were headed.

At around 6:30 we made it to the Boulder Field. This is a spot where there are actually campsites that you can stay at and then go for the summit from here. It sounds really cold, rocky and windy to me. There are solar toilets here also. At the top of the boulderfield there is a little house that you can go into that is really cute. It was build in honor of the people who have died on Longs (58). This is also a really killer place to take a quick morning nap in 34* weather!

At the top of the BF is the Keyhole. At this point you are 1.5 miles from the summit but you are only 1/2 way there- kinda like mile 20 of a marathon. You climb through this point and then you are hiking on the backside of the mountain.

Looking back to the Keyhole

When you first go through the Keyhole it is really windy, but then it dies down and it is a long scramble following the blazes that are painted on the rocks. The saddest part is when you look and realize that you have to go DOWN about 500 feet in order to follow the marked path. This is not a tricky part, but it is just long. I think that going back through this is one of the hardest parts of the whole climb just because of the amount of time that it takes and you are hungry, tired and well you are hungry and tired.
Climbing through the Keyhole

Then you reach the Trough. This is about an 800 foot ascent that is 1/2 mile long. There is lots of big steps up and while it is not really dangerous, it is a long ways down!

Looking Up

Looking Down

Once you get to the top of the trough, you climb back through another crevice- this one doesn't have a name, out around a little corner and the next step is the Narrows. This is maybe 400 feet of 3 feet wide rock that you are walking on. There are a couple of sketchy places like this: and THIS:

You can see where all of the people are scooting along the ridge...

Once you make it past all of this- there is once final part that you have to accomplish. THE HOMESTRETCH. This is a slab of rock that is maybe at a 45* angle that you just crawlk up on your hands and knees and then you slide down on the butt later on.


The sign at the top!

Finally you make it to the summit. You don' tthink about the fact that you have to do it all in reverse, you just jump for joy, collapse, or have a snack.

This was a huge accomplishment for our crew. We had made it a goal of the trip to complete this and had a few bumps along the way- one of them being that we were told that the climb was still being considered "technical" meaning you need ice axes and crampons to get through the snow fields and ice dams- luckilly for us, it opened up the day before we did it. Also, it was very very cold the morning we started- this was hard becuase as you were walking, you got sweaty, you stopped to take a break and got freezing cold, start walking again and get sweaty... you get the point. The best part was that we all made it- it was hard for all of us at some point, but they were all different ones! My hardest part: the walk back down on the trail... I was so tired!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A baby in a box

We've been gone for a long time!
We went on our second plane trip of the summer to Colorado to camp. Yes, we fly to camp- we just bring the bare minimum, buy a styrofoam cooler, food and stuff when we get there and save TONS of time driving across Nebraska or even worse: SOUTH DAKOTA. (Last year Garrick and I drove out and I made him drive us home through South Dakota becuase I wanted to see the sights... Wall Drug was the highlight of the trip)

Once we got to Denver, a very special surprise was waiting there: KIM PIEHL. Well it wasn't a surprise, but it was still so great that she came camping with us! I wish I had a picture of her iwth her backpack- it was bigger than she was. She actually carried ON the plane all of her stuff that she needed- we were all impressed.
The car ride was a little crowded, we had a Nissan SUV, we really needed a UHAUL. He we are all jammed in like sardines. Pete had the most space of everyone- Mom was a trooper in the back...

The first order of business was to make Pete's bed. We got a cherry box at the grocery store for him to sleep in since he is rolling like a little Turkey Sausage end over end.

He loved it!!

Then we spend a lot of time hiking on the beautiful trails in Rocky MOuntain National Park.

Here is Garrick after he won the "How long can you keep your feet in the glacier run off?" competition.

Lunch at Black Lake. The last time I was up there it was 50* and raining and mosquitoy. I didn't really want to go back, but it was a good length hike for Pete and us (9 miles) with lots of good places to stop so Pete could eat and Garrick and Dad would fish. (They caught 5 fish total on the trip!) It was the nicest hike of the trip- besides Long's Peak- We sat at a place that we could see 10+ waterfalls, glaciers, trees and peaks to eat lunch with no one around and the warm sun shining on us. What a great day.

While we all liked the hikes the best, Peter's best thing was scooting around on the sleeping bags. He loved how slippery and soft they were and would lay down and pull it over his face. He was such a stud, our neighbors all looked nervous about a little baby sleeping with two pieces of nylon between him and them, but I think he was as tired as we all were!

Stay tuned to hear about our trip up Long's Peak!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Canning with Farmer Erin and her assistant Vivian

We also are learning how to can fruits and veggies this year. Garrick's mom gave me all of her jar and supplies that I need, so we gave it a shot.

The first thing that we made were Dilly Beans. My mom and I made the first batch at her house...



It is so easy and kind of fun to do! I think that the jars are beautiful. Next we are going to make relish, peaches and pickled eggs. Just kidding about the eggs. My mom and I had a lot of fun doing it. Let me know if you want to help this fall with all of the tomatoes. I'm willing to take it!


We didn't think ahead far enough to take before pictures of the house, but here are how the floors turned out! It was a lot of work- this was BY FAR the biggest area (two times!) that we had ever tried to do, but we are getting better and doing it. We have learned not to use wood stripper, but to use a paint scraper on all of the edges (my job), how to use the edge sander better- glue the sand paper on (Dan's job), and to go diagonally longer with the first grit of sandpaper (Garrick's job). Don't they look amazing? We said our upstairs USED to be great, but now they also need to be done...

Pete and Erin's Vacation Part 2


We went to Madison to visit Jackson, Matt and Lara. Here is a picture of Jackson loving on his little cousin. Pete didn't have a chance against Jack! It was so cute.

Pete giving himself a bottle.

Peter also went to LaValle to help his Grand-dan with his fort that he is building. We installed the beautiful door that dad built from the start- cutting the trees down... I remember being there a "while" ago when we were cutting the sod to pour the foundation.

We also went to Milwaukee to see Kim when she was home... we went for a LONNNG run, we went to Discovery world, visited some friends and played with the little boy. THe day went so fast. We are waiting on pictures from this day. Pictures have arrived!
Kim and Pete looking in the mirrors-

Kim and Pete watching the fish swim around

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pete and Erin's Vacation

We spend the weekend sanding the rest of the first floor of the house- pictures will be up later- the turned out really great and we are so happy that we finished them!

Since the finish that we use is smelly, Pete and I left for a mini-vacation at Lake Buckhorn so he doesn't have to smell it and so that he gets to hang out with his grandparents!

We went swimming at the beach for the first time today, it was a little cold- at least for July! but we still splashed and floated in the water for a while and watched the other kids play.
Stay tuned for our other adventures this week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Here is Peter with his bear-

March 6:

July 1:


Here is what I find lots of mornings when I go in to wake him up:

He rolls all over his crib during the night. When he goes to bed he immediately finds his lovey- a little soft blankie with an elephant head- and pops his thumb in his mouth and rolls on his side and goes to sleep. We call him Linus.

We also got another set of pictures taken at Sears-I can't rotate them... sorry!