"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday's Hike: Old Spanish Trail

We spent a day with the Baxter fam at Fish Lake somewhat near Richfield, UT. Along with many fun activities, including fishing, board games, and dining at the century-old lodge, we took a stroll along the Old Spanish Trail to the west of the lake.

Alright. Saying that this trail was a stroll was a bit of a fib. It was dang toasty outside, and I'm just glad I didn't pass out or get heat stroke or get bitten by a rattler. I'm certain those reptiles populate this trail like it's going out of style. Plus, we had turkey vultures circling around us because I'm certain we looked tasty and like we were about to keel over. Ominous, I know!

Despite all the unpleasantries, this hike did have some redemptive qualities, such as: the incredible view, the shady spots...and the incredible view.

Things to know about this hike:
  • The Old Spanish Trail is the path Father Escalante and cohorts took to the west, so hiking this trail is hiking along a piece of history, if you're into that sort of thing
  • Time: We hiked to the top of the summit to have a look around then made our way back down the treacherous trail, which took just as long
  • Location: Fish Lake
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hazards: extremely loose volcanic rock ("Baby's fist ski trip," Kirk says), and swarms of woman-eating mosquitoes and flies

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And So It Goes...

We recently had a little refresher course that things, while serving as reminders of more important events and people we love, are just things. In the wise words of my favorite Kirk, "It's all just a bunch of crap."

Our prized outdoor Mexican oven has been the center of numerous social gatherings with friends and family. It has been with us as we harmonized to a guitar, stared into coals while making important decisions, and roasted delicious treats. However, as with all things, our oven has gone the way of the world.

And so, dear friend, we thank you for all the wonderful memories, but the time has come to bid you 'adieu.'

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tuesday's Hike: Lame Horse Trail

Lame Horse Trail has some of the most varied terrain I've encountered on a trail thus far: we walked through pine forest, rock slide, aspen grove, and meadow. It was like being on a treasure hunt because every time we went around a bend, we encountered something new and exciting.

Things to know about this hike:
  • As part of the Alpine Loop, this trail is in a National Forest fee area
  • The trail shares the same trail head as one of the routes to the top of Mt. Timpanogos, then forks after a couple of switchbacks (so don't get too confused!)
  • Time: we hiked up for half an hour before turning around
  • Location: Alpine Loop
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Hazards: rock slides near the beginning, stinging nettle near the stream

Monday, September 19, 2011

Washboard Road

Last month, we took a washboard road to the annual Nielson Family Campout (that's a euphemism for "reunion") near Current Creek Reservoir. We could only stay for a few hours during one of the days, but it was crammed with lots of fun things!

We took my Dad's RZR for a little spin in some gnarly mud puddles, wrote hilarious short stories, ate a scrumptious meal, and had a belching contest. (I must add that the latter was against my mother's wishes, but we were camping in the wilderness...so there wasn't much she could do to stop us and there weren't too many people around to hear the glorious echos.) There were some spectacular views, of course, and the wee one behaved herself most properly despite the long car ride and bad examples.

Oh yes, and I surprisingly didn't win the belching contest. It seems I've lost my knack. That's what happens when you hide your talent under a bushel.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Harvest Sensation

These are the first fresh tomatoes from our garden:

Don't they look delectable? Well, I'm happy to report that they were!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Warning: Exclamation Point Overusage (!)

It's Finally Here! After agonizing months of delays, the poetry anthology, of which I am a contributor, has an official publish date (Oct. 1st)! Heck yes! I've tried hard to not pee my pants about it because I'm so dang excited, and it took every ounce of my maturity to wait patiently and nonchalantly for my contributor's copy to arrive.

Well, it's here at last, and in celebration, I'd like to share a favorite poem of mine that can be found in the book that I haven't shared here before:

Desert Sheep-herding in the Winter
By Laura Nielson Baxter

Thirty coyotes will draw even the best dog
away from his flock.
I stand at the top of the bluff and watch.
Further, further, he chases coyotes. One then another.
Falling prey to their tricks
despite my calls.

Two hundred sheep under juniper scrub
interrupt thin streams of rain with breathy clouds.

I’ve seen this happen once before, with my grandpa,
but this time I choose not to watch as the wild pack
entices my best dog, of fifteen years, away.
I already know what will happen—he’ll fall, exhausted.
So I train my ear on anything else but his yelps.
There. Above the ravine, a magpie calls through the rain.

There are lots of big names in this book, and it was an honor to be considered good enough to be published alongside these awesome authors! If you would like your own copy of this fantastic anthology so that you can read all of the other incredible pieces, you can pre-order one here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday's Hike: Water Tank Trail

I don't know the name of the trail, so I call it the "Water Tank Trail" because it begins near Orem Cemetery by the city's water tanks. What spectacular views!

Things to know about this hike:
  • During rainstorms, this trail turns into a flash-flood river and can stay muddy for a while
  • The trail is shared with equestrians, so watch your step
  • Time: we only hiked up for 20 minutes before it was a certain little person's bedtime, so I'm curious to see where the trail actually ends
  • Location: Orem
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hazards: mud and flash-floods during wet weather, and a dead magpie in the middle of the trail

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Dangling earrings are pretty high up on my favorites list; they're so classy and can add loads of personality instantly. At an Art Night last month, one of the girls brought her jewelry-making supplies, and she let me make these:

Cool, huh? It was so nice of her to show me how and let me use her supplies! I'm pretty proud of my first attempt at making earrings. In fact, I've been so proud of myself that I've already worn these gems with a classy black and red getup.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday's Hike: Stewart Falls

Tuesday is hiking day, rain or shine, but Pepper Bo Peep didn't want to get soggy so she decided to stay home and play with Grandma instead. So much for raising a tough kid, right?

Well, Jenni, Kirk, and I braved the brewing thunderstorms and saw some gorgeous scenes and wildlife we would have missed out on had we not been committed to Tuesday hikes. I noticed several birds I hadn't seen before, and we all stumbled across the path of a 6-point buck. Cool, huh?

Things to know about this trail:
  • There are two ways to get to the destination: through Aspen Grove or through Sundance (we took the former route)
  • Time: 45 minutes up, 45 minutes down
  • Location: Alpine Loop
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hazards: slippery roots, stinging nettle, and lots of silly teenagers (one of whom thought it was okay to poop on the trail--not cool)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Time Machine

A classic sci-fi that is also canonized literature is The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells. I know it's silly of me, but I had to put to book down a couple of times and remind myself that I really wasn't hearing cannibalistic noises in my house. My imagination was filling in all of the blanks at some of the more scary parts, which aren't really that scary at all, at least during daylight hours.

Topics to consider discussing while enjoying this entertaining read:
  • Time as a fourth dimension with similar properties to other dimensions
  • Perspectives of different professions on technological and theoretical advances
  • Humanity's inhumanity
  • Slothfulness vs. Industry
  • Purpose of challenges
  • "There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tuesday's Hike: Bridal Veil Falls

I consider myself a somewhat daring person, but that changed with the introduction of Princess Squeaky Pants because she's too squishy. Alas. For being a super easy hike, this trail can be treacherous, which is why we only hiked to the lower falls on the real trail.

I'm pretty sure the formal trail ends at the bottom of the lower falls, but a non-trail has been blazed for those who dare to go higher. Perhaps next time I hike this, I can do it baby-free and slake my thirst for dangerous adventure. We shall see.

Things to know about this hike:
  • It is a high-traffic area, so remember your trail-tromping etiquette
  • There are three trailheads that all merge into one trail, so you have a pick of difficulty levels (at least near the beginning of the hike)
  • Time: 8 minutes up, 8 minutes down
  • Difficulty: totally easy (Kids can for sure make this hike. Although the ones we got stuck behind bellyached the whole time, they survived.)
  • Location: Provo Canyon
  • Hazards: some pretty wicked rock slides that you need to skirt around, but I'm pretty sure we used to climb up and down them as children, so they couldn't be that steep, right?