Jam Packed July
July will go down in the history books as a month full of wonderful adventures.
Jessica had the opportunity to attend Elite Dance Camp again and then Redmond High Dance Team Camp later in the month. Elite Camp is an overnight camp where dancers spend four days and three nights dancing from morning until night. They learn a lot and improve a great deal! The RHS Dance Team Camp is much smaller but just as intense as the high school dance team learns all the routines for the year. I had an opportunity to join them a few days as I am the high school dance team strength and conditioning coach. This is going to be a great year for Jessica!
Back in the winter I approached the ward leaders about wanting to go on Trek as a ma and pa. I have many ancestors who were Mormon Pioneers and I wanted a taste of what they did. Luckily they said yes to my incessant begging and Steve and I were given a family of seven teenagers to get safely to the "Promised Land." Our own children (Matt, Chris and Jessie) would join us but they would belong in different families.
Steve and I were blessed with able bodied children who were very hard workers. As the follow-up emails went flying around with notes of what other ma and pa's would do differently, Steve and I looked at each other and said, "We wouldn't do anything different as we had very little trouble on the trail." And truly we had little trouble. The first day we made a few mistakes in how we packed out cart, but we learned and the next day it was more manageable.
The one experience I will remember is the Women's Pull. This is when the men go off in the "Mormon Battalion" and the women are left to push the cart. We only had three daughters so that meant we only have four on the cart. It was going to be next to impossible for us to get the cart down the hill and then back up. Thankfully another family had 5 daughters and let us borrow one. We pushed our cart down a hill that was very rocky; one of the worst in the trail.
When we got to the bottom of the hill the family in front of us had a girl that was starting an asthma attack. The ma had never dealt with one of these but I had so I jumped into action while the mom searched for the girl's inhaler. No sooner had we solved that problem when a couple of girls come running down the hill to tell us that their ma was very ill at the top of the hill. Their handcart was stuck up there and they needed help. I had such great girls that I knew I could leave them alone and run back up the hill and help get that cart down the hill. I brought a few other girls with me and when we got there a couple of us stayed with the ma and the girls got the cart down the hill. When someone with a radio (yes, we broke the realist wall here) got to her and we were sure she was going to be ok (I believe she was suffering from dehydration) I gathered what girls were left and we took a cart that belonged to Chris's family down the hill. (It wasn't Chris's ma who was sick, that family's cart went down with the girls I brought up the hill.) Chris's family only had two daughters to begin with so they had no one to push their cart. Another family was teaming up with them and leap frogging the carts. Anyway, we got all the carts down the hill and when I pushed the last one to the bottom I found out that my cart was already up the next hill.
Now this hill is one of the rockiest hills we were on the whole trek. It was actually very hard just getting the cart down the hill it was so routed and carved up with large rocks. The uphill after our rest was even worse! I ran up that hill (not easy in hiking boots and a skirt) and found my cart. I just put my hands out and pushed! Sometimes we had to lift a wheel over a rock and pray that nothing fell off because we wouldn't be able to put it back together. Just about to the top when we were all spent our boys came to our rescue.
The boys had been called away to the Mormon Battalion and after they were done they were stationed just about at the top of the hill with instructions that they couldn't help anyone except their cart but they had to wait until they saw it. No going down after it. OH, how wonderful it was to see them.
Heartbreak hill--a hill that never seemed to stop a few miles later was nothing compared to the Woman's Pull. It was just long, but so smooth! It even sprinkled on us a bit while pushing up Heartbreak hill.
I'm so glad I was part of this experience with my children. I'm glad I got to go and experience what my Great Aunt Nettie experienced, although I didn't have nearly the food rations she had. In fact I had too much food. I'd do it again and hopefully Steve would come with me.
We're Team #1 Ragnar NWP:
I was so quick in signing up for a team that we were given team #1 for Ragnar Northwest Passage, 2015. I somehow was able to put together a team and run. If it wasn't for a last minute addition of two friends I would have had to run a whole lot more miles! As it was I ran too many miles. I was trying to mend a swollen foot (found out after Ragnar it was a torn tendon) but I ran anyway. I was runner #12, so I brought it home! My first leg (4.23 miles) was a 8:54 pace with 14 kills! My second leg (9.14 miles) was a 9:14 pace with 25 kills, most of those were on the up part of the hills! My last leg ( 4.7 miles) was a 9:50 and I got 21 kills! I was a killing machine! We had a lot of fun and I'll do it again next year, as long as Steve is my driver!
PS: Runner #12 and being the navigator makes for little sleep!
Would it truly be summer without the Blandings going to Cub Camp? Once again Matt and Chris were den chiefs and BB gun ranger helpers. Doreen was at her post running the BB gun range. We had a total blast. Came home each night and would collapse out of sure exhaustion but we love it!
This year I was able to have all my boys on the line (I am a Webelos leader) and was able to help some of the boys who never hit paper get a bull's eye. I can't shot worth darn, but I sure can help a boy hit the bull's eye!
High Adventure, Grandma's House and Motorcycle Trip:
Yes, all three happened the last week of July. Back in April, I sat down and looked at the calendar and noticed that Matt and Chris would be away on their High Adventure trip and if we sent Jessie to Grandma's (where she loves it and Grandma loves her) that Steve and I could go on a little get away. He has been begging me to ride more with him so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for a little ride!
So off we sent Matt and Chris to Eastern Washington and Idaho to a dude ranch, a lake to wakeboard in and do other boy stuff and then took Jessie to Vancouver and dropped her off at Grandma's for the week. I then jumped on the back of Steve's motorcycle and we took the long way to Hood River, Oregon.
While Jessie went camping with Grandma, watched the dogs, played with the dogs and helped Grandma, Steve and I toured around The Columbia River Gorge. It was blistering hot and so beautiful! First day out we went around Mt. Hood. Second day we went to an awesome auto and air museum and then rode up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. The next day we went across the Columbia River to the Washington side and rode into Richland for dentist appointments. We stopped at Maryhill museum (I'd go there again) and then Stone Hinge (look it up). It made for a very long ride (217 miles that day) in very hot weather in full leathers, but it was fun. Thankfully day 3 was a train ride from Hood River to a small town. It was a slow train ride with a narrative that explained a lot about the communities we traveled through. It was a delightful change of pace. I was over 100 degrees so we decided to play in the river to cool off. On our last day we decided to take the long way home and rode over to Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens in Washington. The views were spectacular!
In all we saw Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and of course the breathtaking Columbia River! We covered some 700 miles in those five days!
Just so this article isn't about Steve and Doreen's adventures let's hear from the kids about their adventures this month:
Jessie on being at grandma's: "It was fun."
Jessie on Trek: "It was fun."
Jessie on Dance camps: "It was fun."
Chris on Trek: "It was hard."
Chris on Cub Camp: "It was fun to watch the kids."
Chris on High Adventure: "It was a blast. One of the best High Adventures we've had."
Matt had a little more to say.
Matt on Trek: "Both of them [Chris and Jessie] were correct; it was hard and it was fun. It was also a great learning experience. We learned a lot about what our ancestors went through crossing the plains. We learned about ourselves, ancestors and got to know other in our stake. I'd gladly do it again if they'd let me."
Matt on High Adventure: "Tons of un. We got to go shot gun shooting and I learned that ear protection with shot guns is important. I got to go horseback riding and learned that horses do fart. I finally got to go paint balling and it was tons of fun. I learned how to wake board. Not sure what was more fun; on the lake or paint balling and paint balls really hurt."
Matt on Cub Camp: "It was great! I was able to den chief the WEELOS from the pack I did last year and the Bears and Wolves from our own pack. They were tons of fun. In the mornings I was at BB's and Jared [another BB gun helper] and I had a ton of fun chatting. I'm upset that I don't get to den chief anymore."