Saturday, June 6, 2015

Keith and Beth Visit

Keith and Beth arrived last Sunday night with their entire family plus Sara's boyfriend, Jesse.  It is hard to believe we had 16 people sleeping in our house for three nights, but we fit them all in with the help of a couch and a few air mattresses.  The first night wasn't so great since it was quite hot (90 degrees) and Russ and I forgot to check the settings on the air conditioner.  When we got up for our morning run we found sleeping bodies scattered throughout the main floor.  It cooled down after that so, hopefully, all slept better.

The cousins had a great time together.  They shopped at the Village, enjoyed volleyball at the park, and played lots of hands of Rook.  The older cousins went with Caleb and Nicolas to a church youth group outing at the Wigboldys on Monday night.  I think they had a good time because they came home pretty late:)
Just hanging out on our back deck

Playing "Cherry Bomb" at the playground in our neighborhood

We even got to celebrate Sadie's 6th birthday with her!

On Tuesday afternoon the older kids went to see the blue turf at BSU and then visited the Old Penitentiary. Since Caleb and Nicolas were not able to go with us when Grandpa and Grandma were out I was glad they had an opportunity to tour it with their cousins.  Keith and Beth and Russ and I took the younger kids for a walk along the Boise River to the MK Nature Center.  We saw lots of wildlife and just enjoyed the beautiful weather.  

It warmed my heart to see Seth so nurturing toward his little cousin

A mule deer just running around the Julia Davis park 

Wildlife on the Boise River

Cute little fuzzballs

Learning about the fish that live in the Boise River

On Wednesday we took off for Stanley, ID.  We had reservations overnight at the May Family Ranch, east of Stanley.  We made several stops along the way, one of which was to enjoy the hot springs.

The Payette River downstream from hot springs

Payette River upstream from the hot springs. 

We found the trail head to hike to Langer Lake and had a quick picnic lunch before starting off.  

The hike was pretty intense for the first mile as it was all uphill.   The initial part of the trail was a burn out area from a forest fire.  Not as pretty in one sense, but it did allow us to see the mountains!  We made it the 2.0 miles to Langer Lake where some turned around to head back down.  Others decided to press on to two other lakes that were beyond, an additional .6 miles.  We found the next lake at .3 miles and decided to turn around because we could hear thunder and see a storm rolling in.  Several of the kids were disappointed we couldn't make it to the furthest lake, Lake Ruffneck, but we didn't think it safe to be caught in the mountain wilderness in a thunderstorm.  

I had never seen a Western Tanager before.  Absolutely beautiful!  I also snapped a shot of this Black-backed woodpecker.  Only later did I find out that this woodpecker is fairly uncommon to spot.  Evidently, these woodpeckers love burn out areas which fits this area perfectly.  We also saw Cedar Waxwings and Tree Swallows.

Maybe Grandpa and Grandma shouldn't read this next paragraph...We thought maybe we could beat the storm down the mountain as we were ahead of it.  As soon as it started to sprinkle, though, Nicolas, Caleb, and Leah took off running.  Anna followed behind them, but stopped to put her rain jacket on.  Russ and I were behind them with Lydia, Seth, Sara, and Jesse.  Keith and Keanu took the rear.  At one point on our way back we kind of lost the trail near one of the lakes.  Not for long, but just enough to realize that it would be easy to get lost.  We were 3/4 of the way down the mountain when all of a sudden Leah, Caleb, and Nicolas come up from BEHIND us asking for water.  They had lost the trail at one point and when they found it back they still thought they were ahead of us and wondered why they never saw us pass by.  So, they ran around backtracking until they finally decided to just get on the trail and come down.  All of a sudden I realized Anna was not with them.  When they told me Anna had never been with them, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me.  My Anna Grace was on this remote mountain wilderness trail all by herself?!  Did she lose the trail like the rest of us?  Was she still out there with this thunderstorm rolling in?  You should have seen her older brothers take off down the mountain to see if she was at the bottom.  Seth started to cry because he was so worried about her.   It was music to my ears when we heard them shout back to us that she had made it down on her own.  She was the first one down and was worried about Caleb, Nicolas, and Leah, because she knew they were ahead of her.  She ran quite a bit of the trail trying to catch them, not realizing that since they had lost the trail were actually behind her. Later, she told us that she, too, at one point had lost the trail, but was able to find it by following the footprints in the snow.  (She quite possibly has the best sense of direction of all my children).  Let's just say it felt awesome to hug her when we got back.  We also learned a few lessons:  1.  Keep an eye on the weather because it can change quickly.  2.  Everyone needs a hiking buddy!
Oh, by the way, we did beat the thunderstorm:)

After that exciting end to our hike we headed to the May Family Ranch.  We rented two cabins that each slept 8 people.   Another building housed a kitchen, gathering area, and a bathhouse.  We were the only people using the facilities, probably because it was early in the season and in the middle of the week.  The area around the ranch was just beautiful and we were able to relax and enjoy the company and scenery.   

Lydia exiting our cabin

Who needs a net to play volleyball? 

Guess who doesn't like to play volleyball?

Enjoying s'mores and crystallized Starbursts

Beautiful sunset over the ranch

Keith and Beth left for home the next morning and we took our time packing up and then made our trek home as well.    

Quick story about the way home:  We stopped to have a snack and go to the bathroom at a campsite along the river.  Caleb came back from the bathroom with a checkbook/wallet that contained hundreds in cash as well as several credit cards.  After debating what to do for a few minutes, Russ decided to ask a group of camp/park/forest workers who were sitting around on their afternoon break if they knew who this guy was.  Indeed they did--he was sitting in the pickup right next to them!   A little bit after we reunited wallet with the grateful owner, he came back to our picnic table to give us $20.  We adamantly refused, but he insisted we buy ice cream for the kids.  We reluctantly accepted the money and did exactly as he asked by stopping in Horseshoe Bend for ice cream cones on the way home.

We looked forward to the Keith Herman family visit for so long, and now we have some great memories of their time here.

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