Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"It's A Nice Family Hike!" Christensen Reunion Day 4, July 5, 2012

A Day in Kanarraville, Utah...

 After spending a night with Uncle Stephen in Hurricane, we woke up with plans to take a nice, family hike in Kanarraville.  The hike was recommended by Uncle Stephen and it sounded like a lot of fun, easy enough for the whole family, a stream to cross/ play in, not a lot of elevation change and only a mile or two long.  Sounds dandy, count us all in!

We packed a picnic lunch and headed for the small town park.  Lunch was yummy.  The park took many of us back to our childhoods, back when playground equipment was fun and maybe a little more dangerous.  Our kids hadn't seen such tall scalding hot metal slides with no safety bars all around the top.  Those were fun.  Even Ryan and I got in on the fun.
 Then there was this lovely "toy," something even foreign to an old kid like me.  I was a large metal ring hanging from several chains attached to the top of a large metal pole.  Kids hold onto the ring and run, then hang on tight.  The kids and even Matt couldn't resist a chance on that one.  I would have tried it if I wasn't already battling dizzy spells.  While I was watching the fun, it became apparent as to why these "toys" don't exist anymore.  I think a 1/3 of those who tried it walked away with gravel burns from when their hands gave out and their knees ate the dirt, then almost like a domino affect, it was a 3-kid-pile-up as they would each swing around and hit the kid that had fallen off, thus causing them to fall off.  But that didn't stop the fun.
 After the park, we started on the hike which started off rather brutally up a steep rocky climb in the hot desert sun, but once you got past that, it was only a short distance to the stream.
 This is what a "family hike" really means- adults get ready to carry your little ones.
A little more than two miles in, after crossing the river several times, our family didn't meet the Kanarraville Falls, our destination, but we did find a fun place to play in the stream.  Others in our group continued to the falls, but the climb just got more and more difficult from where we were, so we stayed and played and snapped a few pictures.

Quite the hike.  I didn't expect it to be as difficult as it was, but I made it (at least 4 miles roundtrip), and our kids had fun, and Steve was good about carrying Amara on the way back.  We all definitely earned our sleep that night!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Patriotic Farewell to Alton, Christensen Reunion Day 3, July 4, 2012

 One of my new favorite things is a small town parade.  I hadn't ever been to one until I was an adult, and in my opinion, they're the best kind of parade.  The Alton community invited anyone from our reunion to participate in their Independence Day festivities.  My kids thought it would be fun to dress up and be in the parade.  So, we put together some patriotic costumes for them, and they marched in the parade with a few of their cousins.

What should your sign say Amara?  "I want it to say Happy Parade Day!"

 For spectators, the parade lasted about 3 minutes from start to finish.  The streets were sparsely populated with spectators.  It made me happy that our reunion was in town to support it.  I was near the beginning of the parade route, then I moved to near the end of the parade and watched it again.  Lily kept up with the crowd, but looked a little tired near the end.  Amara and Rebekah lagged a bit behind and ended up riding on one of the floats.  I took video.  As soon as I find it, I'll post it.

 After the parade, we enjoyed a picnic lunch fundraiser and then it was time to bid farewell to the beloved town of Alton.  We were on to Plan C- go spend the night in Hurricane, in hopes of better air quality and possibly better sleeping.  You see, the smoke from the nearby fire was causing respiratory problems for some in our group, and although our accommodations worked for a few, a few others hadn't slept at all since we got there due to lack of beds.

So we were off again, on a new adventure.  Although our destination was our relative's house in Hurricane, we made a couple of side trips along the way.

I had Steve stop at the small town of Orderville so that I could take a few pictures of the town that my ancestors settled.  We drove and found an old building which turned out to be a replica of an old rock schoolhouse.

Then we made our way over to meet the rest of the reunion clan at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.  What a fun place!  We never did fully meet up with the whole group, but we had fun as a family on the dunes.  Matt and Steve's dad found us to tell us that everyone else had paid to get in and as they were leaving to meet up with everyone, they got stuck in the sand.  About 45 minutes later and after several attempts at digging out and creating more traction, the van had only got deeper into sand.  A good-deed-doer then drove up and offered to try to pull the van out with his sport utility vehicle.  And in a few short minutes, the van was free and clear.  

Steve and Matt tried to show the depth of the ditch van was stuck in.

 After the van was free, Matt and Steve's dad drove off and we drove down the road to another free parking area, and played on those dunes for a bit.  That was REALLY cool and a lot of fun!  It was the perfect weather for a day at the dunes.  It wasn't too hot and there were lots of clouds for shade.

The 3 specs in the middle of the photo are Steve and the girls.
All that playing tired us all out, so we headed to Hurricane to our 2nd new reunion home for some dinner and a good night's rest.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Plan B: Town Alton, Christensen Reunion Day 2, July 3, 2012

The first thing my girls asked for when they woke up was not breakfast; it was if they could go see if their cousins were awake yet.  By the time I stumbled out of bed, to get myself some morning cereal, my munchkins had already eaten with their cousins and were playing hide and seek in the various rooms of our temporary home, the Alton Town Hall.

We had heard that maybe the owners of the cabin rental would be able to round up a waterslide to set up at the park for later that day.  Sure enough, town Alton came through and much fun was had slipping and sliding down the hill at the park, only a short walk from the town hall.

James wasn't afraid to get wet and dirty!

The fire still blazed on the mountainside, so all day long we saw bomber planes going back and forth carrying flame-fighting chemicals to drop on the fire.

My kids had so much fun!

And others of us enjoyed chatting in the shade and watching the sliders. 

After the afternoon of slip-n-sliding, evening approached and some local people had brought over some horses to let us ride.  We all took turns riding, and the horses were well behaved... and hungry apparently.  Most of the time if we were walking the horses around, they wanted to stop to put their head to the grass and chow down.
 Amara and Matthew got hungry for dinner while waiting for another turn on the horses, and I over heard their plans to go see if the food was ready yet.  So off they walked together.

 Horse riding was a dream for my girls, especially Lily who wants to own a horse someday.  She really wants to learn to ride one, and she wishes she could take riding lessons like her cousins, Audrey and Emma.

After dinner, we were summoned to a nearby barn, for a milking demonstration.  We got to see firsthand how they "vacuum" the milk out of the cow, then strain it, clean the machine, and then let the baby cow nurse.  The cow belonged to the Mayor of Alton and he was so nice to answer all our questions, and let us feel what the cow feels by putting our fingers in the milking "vacuum," and even give us all a sip of the warm milk.  It was my first tasting of fresh cow's milk and after I took a sip I said, "Wow!  All you need is a dash of nutmeg and you've got yourself egg nog!"  It really was that sweet and rich.
We're sticking our fingers into the milking machine.

Amara was apprehensive at first (she is still a little afraid of the vacuum), but she was brave and put her thumb in the machine.

Pouring the fresh milk and straining it through cheesecloth.  You can see Matthew waiting with a paper cup for a taste of the fresh milk.

That calf was nursing like wild!