Thursday, April 9, 2015

Anniversary Trip: 15 Years

 We had talked about going on a special trip for our 15 year anniversary. Initially, we planned on San Diego for a week and a half. Then we thought we should use some of that time to have some adventure at Zion that we wouldn't be able to do with the whole family. The whole trip was perfect! We did and saw a lot of fun things. And we now realize that we'd love to take our family to San Diego for a vacation sometime. There is so much to do! The first place we visited was Old Town. The sun was shining, and the weather was just beautiful for February. Such a nice change of pace.
 Whenever we hear the pipes, we think of Andean music, the kind Chad loves from his mission.
 The vegetation is so different from what we're used to seeing. Everything was green, flowering, and a treat for the eyes.
 I'm sure we took this one to send to the kids:
 The last time I'd been to the Mormon Battalion was years ago, when I was a Young Woman, and we came to San Diego for the temple's open house, and stayed at the Pulisphers. Anyway, the museum has changed since that time. It was enjoyable, although I think it would be more entertaining with the kids. It's interactive and a little campy.
 The condo we booked was relatively close to downtown S.D. It was nice to have a home base, and come home to cook our meals.
 We attended church in an interesting section of San Diego. The church was unique. The chapel had the feeling of a Catholic church: more long and narrow with only two seating sections and one long aisle down the middle. There was an outdoor area, with primary classrooms along the perimeter. The basketball court was huge, and sunken in comparison to the Sunday School classes along the sides.
 Outside the church:
 Our condo:
 Bougainvillea was gorgeous!

 We went to Balboa Park. What a great place! There were many different gardens, lots of people out playing instruments, and several museums. We attended a mushroom convention (interesting and a little odd), visited all the international cottages, went to a couple of museums, and Chad even made time to study for his big upcoming recertification test.  (So disciplined!)
 There were many varieties of cacti, and this one was so strange looking! I'm guessing it's been around for a long time. It was huge!

 At one museum, Chad and I had fun playing around with the hands-on exhibits. 

 A drive-by of the temple, with a promise to visit:
 We went to Torrey Pines State Reserve for a nice hike:

 After our hike and visiting things to see at Torrey Pines, we went down to the beach.
 ...and we played some frisbee. We came up with our own rules for our made up game. It was a lot of fun.
 Chad getting wet and wild.

Then on to La Jolla Cove. We couldn't believe all these sea lions basking on the rocks, with people around. They lay so still, it looked like they could've been dead. I probably could have reached out and touched one. It was so cool.

 We went to the San Diego Temple to do some sealings. We did the work for my grandmother, Helen Elaine Oliphant.

 Cabrillo National Monument was on the list of things to do. It was another gorgeous day! We looked at tide pools. The rocks were really slippery with all the slimy stuff growing on them. I almost took a tumble!

 There was  a smaller hike down toward the water, and we watched Navy boats coming and going in the harbor.
 Up at the top was a lighthouse with a museum. Very interesting. What a unique kind of life to be a lighthouse operator. They worked day and night.
 I loved this framed saying, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

 Cabrillo was a Spanish explorer about the time of Columbus, who made several stops along the California and Mexico coasts.

 We took a drive over to Coronado, walked around the hotel, stolled along the pathway by the beach, and enjoyed beautiful scenery.

 We took a ferry across the water to the USS Midway. Funny story is that we bought the tickets for the ferry, parked, and made our way quickly to board. At which point I realized I left the tickets back in our car. So Chad ran back to get them, and we waited around an hour for the next ferry. But it wasn't that painful to sit at the ocean's edge and watch the birds.

 The USS Midway was huge! It's hard to believe it can stay afloat. The amount of people that lived and worked on the ship was staggering: something like 5,000 people. We toured the inside and learned that people had specific jobs that didn't change. One could have been a toilet cleaner. Or laundry. Or cook. I can imagine the anticipation for shore leave after weeks or months on board, trapped on the vessel doing the same job over and over.

 It was time to head to St. George! We had a nice stop along the way. Maren had called while we were en route to ask if we'd like to make a quick stop over in Las Vegas to meet our new nephew,  Parker. (Maren was visiting family in L.V.)
Mom and Dad were so kind to give us their home for several days while they were in our home, caring for our children! Thank you!! After a good night's rest, we were eager to get to Zion to hike the Narrows, bottom up. We knew we wanted to rent some basic gear because I knew there were lots of rocks. I'd imagined that the water was just covering the rocks, and not much higher. When we got the the rental shop, we were informed that the water temperature was around 42 degrees, and gets as high as waist deep. We knew at that point we needed the pants, too. Good thing we got them! All the equipment made the adventure really enjoyable. We did happen upon several people who didn't have any equipment. They were going in their tennis shoes and shorts. Nuts! They were freezing!

 Deeper parts of the water had a bluish tint to them. The water was cold, but the water pants kept us protected.
I loved the hike. The one and only thing that was painful were my hip flexers. Going against the current, up and over rocks, just did them in. After about 3/4 way up, they were pretty burned out. But not enough to quit! Or to take the smile off my face.

 I think Colin and Micah would have a lot of fun on this. Maybe even the girls? Uncle Doug did the top down hike when he was in scouts. I didn't realize that is a 16 mile hike! Our hike was awesome.

 Driving "home" (well, to Mom and Dad's).
 Mom and Dad left us a special anniversary gift: a certificate to Bucca's. We went that very night and enjoyed a wonderful meal. What a fun place to eat!
 We splurged on a humongous ice cream dessert. It was super delicious!
 The next day we started out early to Angel's Landing. My hip flexers were not entirely recovered, but this time we weren't wading through water or stepping over rocks. It was a nice break. The morning was definitely chilly, and I was sort of wishing I'd remembered to bring my windbreaker. We were in shade for a while going up, but I knew once my blood got pumping, I'd warm right up. The park wasn't really busy, and we passed some hikers along the way, but it was by no means crowded. It was perfect. That's the way I prefer it. I'm thinking February is an ideal month to visit the park, as long as the weather is like it was for us.

 There was one point in the hike called "Walters Wiggles" which is just a series of steep switchbacks. It was the most intense part of the hike.

 The whole experience was exhilarating. I was wondering how I'd feel once we hit the part of Angel's Landing where the sides drop off and it gets treacherous. But we were fine, and it was fantastic. Not to say I'd bring my children up on this part of the hike. But we, as adults, were cautious and capable.

 The view from the top was phenomenal!

  After we finished Angel's Landing, we still had a good part of the day left. So we went on a little jaunt up to Weeping Rock.

 We did another longer trail (I cannot remember what it's called!). I expected this one to be an easy/moderate hike. I guess it was moderate, but I didn't expect to see chains in the rocks to keep from slipping off. This is one of those hikes that I wouldn't want to bring my children on. The rock can be slick in certain spots, and has steep drop offs. The views are great. But after we'd been hiking a couple of hours, my hip flexers were screaming, and we turned around.

 I had to take a photo of the calamari we got for dinner. I knew the kids would get a kick out of it. They look like little tarantulas!
 Micah started texting on Sunday, when we were heading back. He was wondering how far away we were. We had a selfie war.

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