The Great Salt Lake

After Arches & Canyonlands last up on our trip we stopped by the Antelope State Park which is an island pushing into The Great Salt Lake. We crossed a land bridge onto the island and for awhile it smelled like sufur and the edges of the water had large salt build ups. It all created really beautiful watercolor coloring which was neat. Besides all the mosquitos the island was lovely. There are 500-700 bison on the island and a type of antelope (the fastest mammal in North America) that cover the island. We saw a bunch of bison scratching on rocks and eating grass and got to spot on fast antelope.

At one point a herd of bison crossed in front of the road and it was cool to be able to pick out baby ones and teenager sized ones. They all ran down the hill to a new grazing space. They're quite cool animals.


Then we headed into Salt Lake City to walk around a bit, grab some indian food, and headed into a pub to watch the USA World Cup game. We had a really great little vacation and for once didn't wear ourselves out (maybe we're learning how to be adults)


Canyonlands National Park

After the Arches we headed to Canyonlands - the Needles District. We got all our backpacking gear together and filled up our 7 liters of water and headed off into the Tattooine looking landscape. We started at the Elephant Hill Trailhead and somehow ended up getting off path and were actually quite lost for 2 hours, wandered around looking at gps and our paper map until we found a part of the trail that linked back to the parking lot, arrived back to our start point and started AGAIN.

After our 2 hour mishap we hiked 3.5 miles to our awesome campsite. We hiked up a small hill to it and wandered around a cave up top until we set up camp on a rock overlooking the edge of the Needles and making some Chili Mac. The hike in was really pretty and filled with layered rocks that jutted up out of the ground and were striated with lots of great colors. The sky was really blue and beautiful.

That night we hung out on our own private canyon overlook with no one anywhere near us and drank some wine, did a little random yoga & stretching, and then I finished reading the first Harry Potter book to Joshua (yes, I do voices, I'm a good Hagrid)

view from our campsite
EC2 campsite

sweaty stud :)
Next morning we got up at around 5 and started the 3 mile hike to Druid arch. It was lovely to not have the sun on us yet as we wandered down a sandy bottom of and old river bed winding through rock formations and climbing up some really cool stuff. Then we turned the corner and realized the tall rock we'd been looking at the whole time was actually the arch, but you couldn't see it from any angle except the one the trail lead you up. It was a really tall arch with stunning blue sky peaking through. We were the first people up there that morning and just got to sit beneath it and stare out at the canyon as the sun started to peak over its top.


We were slated to stay another night backpacking but decided we needed more water so we hiked out and then thought we'd rather go check out another area of the Canyonlands and go see a friend, Katy, who happened to be in Moab the same time as us (crazy!!)


So that night we drove over to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands and got a great view of the Green River and a few other overlooks that were really interesting and inspiring. We even cooked up some dinner at sunset inside the park before headed back.


newspaper rock

Next up The Great Salt Lake (I dare you not to start singing the Band of Horses song)


Arches National Park

After arriving in Utah we drove to a really nice park along the highway that wove around a mile up into the hills called Price Canyon Recreation Area for a cheap first-come-first serve campsite. This was the only campsite we could have a fire. The site was beautiful and quiet and the stars that night were unbelievable, even a little chill in the air that night (not for long)
We started out our anniversary trip this year in Arches National Park. We knew it would be busy so but wanted to see it so we got it out of the way early. Utah was HOT upper 90's whew. We hiked to the Delicate Arch which had fun views as you wove around rock formations until you got to the arch itself which was quite a stunner. This one felt unique because it stood alone and all stately-like.

We also checked out the Double arch and the Windows Arches which were pretty massive and provided primitive trials you could take which brought you away from the masses which was really nice. Just getting to soak in the arches was fun, picking out different rock types and trying to figure out how the middles came out of them.
Double Arch

windows arches
windows arches


formation names left to right : the three gossips, sheep rock, tower of babel, the organ

Overall the park was beautiful and everything was really accessible. Except a large portion of the hikes in an area were closed for parking lot renovations (terrible excuse!!!) At the end of the day we settled into a comfy campground, grabbed a beer at the Moab Brewery and found some imitation dippin' dots to cool us off. Next we're headed to Canyonlands Needles District to be totally surrounded by all the Utah landscape...

 (1st anniversary trip

2nd anniversary trip )


Cheers to Three Years!

This is our three year wedding anniversary!
I found the photo above while cleaning out my computer the other day- it was from our 3 year dating anniversary. It makes me smile and love even more what we have now, we've come so far but also I really feel like we still have that "thing" we had when we were dating.

This year was our hardest year of marriage so far. Not hard, just the hardest. We felt a little lost and busy a lot of this year. Buy a house, don't buy a house, not feeling home anywhere, feeling overwhelmed and like we had no time to make our own choices, not being able to find time to be alone with one another, work not being fulfilling and so on. But I still loved this year, I still love this man. It's ending on an upswing though! with moving and fitting in some weekends with just the two of us and getting back out to the mountains.

God has blessed us in so many ways and the littleness and pettiness of all the stuff that was burdening us this past year has caused us to reevaluate some things, clean out things and stop talking so much about the future and instead living in the now. I'm so happy I come home to this man and we're both learning what it means for that to be joyful in the things that actually matter to us.

Yay Three Years :)

year one & year 2


Almost Backpacking Trip

This weekend was a little rainy and we wanted to escape it so we drove out to Leavenworth (a little made up German town) to do the Fourth of July Creek Trail. So we hiked about 5 miles in of the 6.5 and soaked up the views and mountains. It was nice to have escaped Seattle's clouds and capture some sunshine. The hike was pretty steep and honestly our hearts weren't into it. We planned on backpacking it but we got a late start and the trip reports didn't mention snow in the area you normally set up camp but a lot of people hiking out were telling us there was. It was all clouds at the top so no views would be awaiting us, So we got to a really pretty area hung out for a bit and decided to hike back out.

By the end of the trail we were pretty pooped from trying to beat the sun setting to get back to the trailhead. But we made it and drove over to the "German" town for a beer and sausage and live Mexican band?!? Then we started the 2 hour drive back home in which I strapped on our headlamp, put it on night red, and read Harry Potter to us on the drive back.

It ended up being a fun adventure where nothing we planned happened. We got to see mountain views, soak in some sunshine, and end up back in our beds- it was quite fun. And now my legs still hurt :)


Red Velvet S'mores

Red Velvet S'mores with Cream cheese marshmallows!!
They are quite fun and all of the pieces can be made a few days in advance.

I had better photos but I lost them when my camera decided to suck.

Cream Cheese Marshmallows:
(make the night before)
recipe adapted from here

4 oz. cream cheese; room temp
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup water
4 1/2 tsp gelatin (2 packets)
2 egg whites; room temp
pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
cornstarch for dusting

1    grease a 9x9 dish and then dust it with cornstarch so they won't stick
2    mix the cream cheese and vanilla together in a medium bowl
3    put 1/2 cup water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it, to soften
4    in a large bowl whip the egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks
5    in a small pot heat sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining 1/4 cup water until it starts to boil, bring sugar mixture to soft ball stage at around 240 degress F
6    remove from heat and mix gelatin into the sugar mixture and whisk
7    start your egg mixture whisking again on medium-high and drizzle in few tbs of hot sugar mixture, to warm up the eggs
8    on medium continue to drizzle in sugar mixture slowly, beat on medium-high for about 3-5 minutes- it will triple in volume
9    scoop out 1/4 of the egg mixture and fold it into the cream cheese mixture
10   then scrape the cream cheese mixture into the egg whites and whip for 15-20 seconds, don't over mix or they will deflate
11  pour marshmallow into the baking dish and spread out evenly, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge or cool place overnight

Red Velvet Graham Crackers:
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves
6 tbs butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup whole milk
red food coloring

1    mix flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt & spices
2    melt butter and then add in honey and whole milk
3    stir in desired amount of red food coloring
4    pour liquid ingredients over flour mixture and stir until a dough forms
5    gather dough into ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (up to overnight)
6    once the dough is chilled preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
7    roll out dough into a rectangle and about 1/4" thick
8    using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 2"x 2" squares and lay them on baking sheet
9    pierce dough with a fork a few times, sprinkle tops with a little cinnamon
10  bake for 10-15 minutes, they should slightly brown

To assemble:

1   melt 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips in a double broiler
2   pour chocolate over top of firmed marshmallows and spread evenly
3   place in fridge to allow chocolate to harden, about half hour
4   cut marshmallows to fit graham cracker sizes with large knife
5   place one in between 2 red velvet graham crackers
6   using a blow torch toast all sides of marshmallow


Camping Stool : How to

We have been wanting a camping stool for awhile. We've been sitting on our cooler and logs which is great but then we wanted an upgrade. We decided to make some and then give out the extras as gifts. We both like to create things especially things from wood ( a love we both got from our grandpas and my dad who are fabulous at this stuff )

We found some tutorials but none of them were comprehensive so we went with our gut on a few things and then kept a record of what we did and how we did it. Then we did a version 2 which strengthened it up and now we're super confident in the design. So now you can do it without any guesswork!

We're very proud of it and hope you like it too!



This past weekend was very random. It started out with no plans and ended with us having met a few new friends and I think seeing almost all the people we know in Seattle
(well like half)
Wednesday I hung out with the lovely Jessica and we met up
with a Cincy friend in town and ended up sharing a free milkshake,
Thursday we played some nerdy games and ate dehydrated fruit and homebrewed beer with friends, Friday we started out with dinner and a fierce game of Battleship followed by late night Chinese eaten at a sketchy bar in which we met up with some new friends and partied like we were 21 until 3am. Saturday we obviously slept until 11, had face size BLT's for brunch and then went to a bike criterion to meet up with some friends and watch cyclists bike in a circle for over an hour.

Sunday some lovely friends came over to grab sandwiches and beer then make art projects, and then we grabbed random dinner and beers with some other people that night that we've been meaning to catch up with. and hung up a few bikes in our place.
they are sharing a moment with a piece of beer battered bacon!

The best part of that all is - we never left our new neighborhood, we got to walk to all of it!!! It was a random weekend full of friends and events that make us feel like we're in the right place. We feel a sense of ownership to the neighborhood we're in now. We feel so blessed that this is where we ended up and love that our apartment is on the main stretch where we can easily bring people to have a free beer after hanging out or to eat some random dessert we have sitting around. This weekend we really feel like we were shown that this is where we're meant to be and not to waste it. So hurray to more random weekends and learning to share our surroundings with others!

for some reason he couldn't hang the bikes without his hat,
also he didn't know I was taking a photo,
pulled off this awkwardness all on his own!