Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anniversary Trip

This year, J and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Since we almost never do anything special to celebrate beyond a dinner out, we decided it would be fun to do a little mini vacation.

Something on my bucket list is to hike the Narrows at Zion National Park. Since the entire length is 16 miles, and most of that is in shin-armpit deep water, it's not a very child friendly hike. We decided to visit Zion as our little get away.

Initially, we thought we'd camp, and we'd tent it and everything. However, we found it was difficult to find a place nearby that either didn't demand reservations or actually had openings. As we got talking further, we realized we were too old and lazy to tent it. So, we got a hotel in St George so we'd have full amenities.

We got there around dinnertime on the evening of our anniversary. Our first full day there, we did the Zion hike. We knew we wouldn't be able to do the full 16 miles- most people will backpack in and spend the night out on the trail. That didn't sound fun to us, so we decided we'd hike until we wanted to turn around. We bought Keen sandals for the hike, as we'd heard that open toed sandals were 1- going to break and 2- not protect ones' toes from the rocks. Several people reported losing multiple toenails on the hike, and that sounded extremely unpleasant.
The scenery on the hike was amazing. The Narrows rightly deserved its' place on my bucket list.

We hiked for about four hours, and decided we were getting tired. Hiking in the water on large, hard to see rocks was really quite exhausting. We turned around and came back, spending about 7 hours total on the hike, and going a little over 12 miles round trip. I'd love to see it again.

We staggered into town, and went to D.U.B's BBQ, arriving just before they closed for the night. The mac & cheese wasn't fabulous, but the rest of the food was AMAZING.

The next day, we were both pretty sore and tired, and decided we wouldn't go *AS* crazy with hiking. We ended up doing the Emerald Pools hike, as well as the Canyon Overlook trail.
A view from the Canyon Overlook.

The Lower Emerald Pools.

That evening, we went to dinner at a place called Buffalo Trails, which is a little outside the park in a little hole in the wall. They raise their own bison for bison burgers, and they were very yummy.

Unfortunately, the next morning brought us to the time that we knew we needed to start heading home. We'd heard good things about the Kannarraville Canyon and decided to check it out. It's not in Zion, it's a few miles outside of it, and it was on our way home. We were NOT impressed with the town. Signs everywhere, not permitting ANY on street parking, which didn't seem very hospitable. Then, at the actual (dirt) parking lot, there were some rather rude signs, demanding $10 to park, or else you'd be booted or towed away. You could park at the city hall for free, but it was a fair bit away. We grudgingly paid our $10. Honestly, if they'd had free parking, and then a donation box, we actually would've donated more, and been happy to do it.
The whole thing felt a bit rude and extortionistic though, and we muttered to ourselves about it for a while.

The first couple miles of the hike is just dirt road, but then you get into the narrow canyon. It is also stunningly beautiful, and we forgot to be annoyed.

All in all, it was so much fun, and incredibly memorable. I think maybe from here on out, we'll try to do more trips like this as a couple. We did buy a National Parks Pass, which will get us into any national park for a calendar year, so we'll take our kids back to Zion before it expires. Some of the hikes are not for kids, but there's plenty for us to see and do.

I have hundreds more pictures, so if you want to see more, let me know and I'll let you watch a slideshow of everything.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 21

Day 21

So today is day 21 for most of my eggs, and tomorrow is day 21 for the rest. Regular gestation (? Is it gestation if it's not a mammal?) for chicken eggs is 21 days.

I went camping in the high uintas last week, and wasn't around to obsess at all over the chickens last week. I left my neighbor in charge of my chickens. I told her to collect and eat any eggs the chicken left. She decided to give me one of her rhode island red pullets, Bow, because it was being really meant to her other chickens. Awesome! I don't have a chicken that lays an egg that color, I'm thrilled. Anyway, during the acclimation period, Bow broke through my separation area to keep poor Lucy in peace. My neighbor fixed the breach, and thought nothing of it.

Well, I got home Saturday night, and of course wanted to go check my eggs. I get counting, and realize that instead of five eggs, there's SIX!! Sometime during the week, Blondie managed to sneak over and lay an egg in Lucy's nesting box. Whoops. I have no idea how long the egg is sitting there, so I take it inside, and stick it in a glass to see if it floats or sinks. It sank, which means it is fresh. I left it on the counter and went back out to candle the five hatching eggs.

I used a very powerful mini LED flashlight. I found it worked much better than the other thing I rigged up. So, I'm candling eggs, and just not sure what to think. They're much more opaque, but I still don't see veining or anything else. So, I'm pretty sure they're duds My neighbor came over to watch the candling, and I'm thrilled to have someone else to give their opinion. After seeing those, I said I'd go get the rogue egg, so she could see what a fresh egg looked like, so she could give her opinion on whether or not the other eggs were duds.

So, I went back and grabbed the egg, and took it out. I put the flashlight up against it, and we IMMEDIATELY see a little shadow in there, and we can see it moving allllll over the place. Oh. My. gosh. It is so cool to watch! I never saw anything like that with the other eggs, which leads me to believe that the other five are definitely not going to hatch.

I'd hate to be wrong though, so I think I'm going to let them sit under the chicken for a couple more days. After that, I think I'll crack them open. I'm a little scared they'll really stink, or, even worse, I'll find mostly ready chick.

Stay tuned.