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I get why it’s called the GRAND CANYON now!

We moved to Orem…or did we? All of our stuff is in my parents garage, but we have already made a trip to MOAB to celebrate our 2 year anniversary and then we hiked the grand canyon. So much for getting settled. I forgot my camera in Moab but let me tell ya a bit about our hike. Rim to Rim.

Our group consisted of 8, but looks like I never got a shot with everyone. We parked the Raymond’s car at the North rim and drove drove drove around to the South end. With a few stops we made it a bit before sunset. We got our first look into the vastness of the canyon! What are we in for?

We had a little cabin that night and tried to get some sleep. I was really excited and tossed and turned. We got up early and especially early for Arizona time and met up with the rest of the group. We had this guy drop us off at the trailhead without first getting pulled over by the forest service. We were just following the crowd. He let us off easy with a warning.

Then it begins…the 7 mile descent to the Colorado River. This was pleasant and beautiful as we caught the sunrise. The going was easy and we had little problem besides the long waits for the bathroom stops.

We made it to the river with wobbly knees and were actually looking forward to some uphill. The river was beautiful and I hope someday to take a trip down there. Phantom Ranch welcomed us with 90+ degree temperature. Quite a difference from the 40 we started out with.

Here is where in hindsight we made some slow progress. We made many stops and unfortunately long ones. I’m to blame because I was drinking so much water (good thing) that I had to pee a lot (bad thing) the women’s restroom lines were always long long long.

We headed through ‘The BOX’ section in the dead heat of the day, but the trail was nice and followed a stream the whole way. We took a lunch break on the some rocks and enjoyed the beautiful cliffs surrounding us. We are really doing it! We traversed and talked, sang and walked. Ate gorp and fruit and snacks galore!

It was after the Cottonwood break that the trail all went uphill from there. We almost stepped on a rattlesnake, and also saw amazing yellow birds. Here is where the group started to separate and every man for themselves approach took place. The last 7 miles of the hike was KILLER! Uphill Uphill Uphill. Switchback madness. I couldn’t believe how fast the time was flying and where in the heck was that North Rim? I am so glad that I had some trekking poles. They saved me on this hike. Gordo and I traversed some more and talked for a minute to an Ultra runner who was doing rim to rim to rim! Those guys are nutz! The crazy part is they did they run in the same or less amount of time it took us to do one way. I really liked what I heard this lady say though….We are all doing the same trail here, putting in our effort.

Towards the end we heard the finish line was 2 miles away….we heard that twice at very different locations…AHHH! Gordo threw on another lady’s pack because she just couldn’t keep going. Gordo kept my spirits up and eventually we could see our finish line. We had a whole group cheering us on as we hobbled/ran towards the end!

We had made it…but where was everyone else? How far back? We stopped for a bit and drank some more water, and the joy was we saw the sunrise and the sunset in the canyon. Mike came up a bit after us, and that’s when Gordo decided to hike down and check on the rest of the group. After awhile he came up with Roxanne and Gordon in great shape, just taking it easy on the hike-out. By this time we were wondering how Scott and Frank were doing. Frank’s wife Jodie suprised us all by arriving by herself saying the other two were in bad shape. Gordo and Mike hiked down yet again to see if they could help carry their packs. It wasn’t long after they all arrived safe at the trails end. Scott and Frank had gotten quite dehydrated and exhausted as we all had, but we all finished! We all accomplished that Rim to Rim hike. WAHOO! I think I would love to do it again…not right away, but yes I loved it!

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Gordo the Graduate

May 4th, 2013 was a day of celebration. Gordo graduated from Utah State University and received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the college of Agriculture. I know a bit about the long nights, tough projects, and tedious finishing touches that occurred throughout his schooling. I am so darn proud of this guy! Here are some highlights from that day…

7Fellow Grads from the same department.

3Samuel Abbot and Gordo

8Woods family supporting in style!

4Two biggest fans!

2

9NOW WHAT???

Finishing on a HIGH POINT

We have been home for one week now. God bless the USA! Great timing to celebrate the nations birthday. Our week in Orem was non-stop fun filled! Our family has spoiled us and we have loved all the squeezes and kisses and nieces and nephews. Now we are back in Logan and it is amazing to think that we were living in Europe just a week ago. It almost seems like a dream, so I guess I will post our last adventure just to re-live our dream!

As soon as we made it to Slovenia Gordo had the great idea to hike the highest peak in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. People say you aren’t a true Slovene until you’ve reached the top of Triglav. Pictures we’ve seen have people with all this gear, ropes, helmets, huge boots. So I thought, cool idea, but no way we are gonna make it.

Our last week Gordo’s dream came true! We made it to the top! It was a three day trek complete with rain, cows, peaks, cables, and metal rods to keep us on the rock! It was fabulous, difficult, beautiful, and quite an accomplishment. One particularly scary part was when I was crossing this stretch holding onto a cable and having my feet on these metal rods and Gordo says, “Hey let me get the camera to take a picture.” No way Gordo, if I fall I’m falling all the way down to Ljubljana. We made it safe though. We were able to make it to the top without the gear, I didn’t ever get the memo about hiking boots, because I made it to the top in my running shoes.

We stayed in mountain huts bunk bed style, ate an entire jar of peanut butter (don’t worry large jars don’t exist in Slovenia), and loved going from steep sheer rock cliffs, to lush green mountain lakes. This place is amazing and we were so happy to make it to the top. True Slovene’s…..ALMOST!

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Piran, Vintgar Gorge, Friends

HOORAY!! Gordo finished school this week. He worked quite hard here at the end. All his classmates have until August to finish their project, but he finished on June 20th! Tough semester in many ways, but glad his professors were impressed with his work.

So now, time to PLAY (cause like we haven’t done that in awhile)!

We headed back to the seaside. Piran is only an hour away, and was quite different from when we visited in March. We swam in 4 different beaches.

Gordo was eyeing a little vespa and we traveled the beach roads scootin around. It wasn’t the strongest motor, so sometimes I had to get off and walk. HA HA, but we had a blast. AHHH ALERT ALERT…European beaches really do have old gross naked bodies sprawled on the beaches once in awhile. EEWWWW! But when in Rome.??(Piran) No not really, we enjoyed having our clothes on!

We also are sad to be saying goodbye to some our of friends we have made. The Gross’ have been our close friends from Kentucky. We enjoy talking about the good ‘ole USA, and also what experiences we love in Slovenia. Karen also became our amiga on her two week visit.

We went to Kranj where I attempted Navajo Taco’s for Stanka, Orist, Eva, and Bor. SUCCESS!

Bor and Eva are excellent musicians and they put on a concert for us. We are going to miss our adopted Slovene family and hope someday they will visit us! Eva hates getting her picture taken, but sometimes we sneak a few. We also spent the night eating cookies and playing charades.

 

 

On the quickest whim, we found we might have time to venture to Vintgar Gorge and boy was it the best decision. AMAZING!

It was our last Sunday in our fun little Ljubljana branch. We spoke, no not in Slovene, but expressed our love for these people. We will miss our friends here and hope that the branch will continue to grow!

We are headed to the mountains tomorrow for a few days hiking in the Alps. We have 5 full days here and trying to pack each day. ADIJO.

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Winding Down

After last weeks high adventure, we had to out do ourselves again….PARACHUTING!! Mom, not real, don’t worry.

We attended many events this week. This was the opening for the FLUGTAG. Slovene’s  constructed homemade flying contraptions and took flight off the red bull runway into the Ljubljana River. Summer finally decided to grace us and by golly it is hot hot hot! Pretty fun party though

The month of June, in the main square every night is some sort of program. We’ve seen ballet, choir, orchestra, and a few minutes of a comedy act. All outside on Krongresni Trg free of charge.

We watched as Eva graduated from middle school and were quite impressed with those kids. They are smart and quite talented and put together the entire program.

Our friends got stranded in Italy, so Gordo and I went for an hour drive to pick them up. I stayed right outside the border while he continued on. We also ate some delicious Bosnian food with these folks afterward.

Gelato, farmers market, sunshine, street performers. Our conversations have turned to the things we will quickly be missing. Our days are numbered of our life in Europe, but we have a two more weeks to get our fill!

 

Sušec Canyon

So it was a toss up. Rafting or Canyoning. The guy that owned the apartma we stayed at in Bovec also owned Sport Mix, an outdoor adventure company. He gave us a good deal, so we asked which one was more exciting. Canyoning was decided upon!

Yeah we made the right choice

We were fitted out in neoprene suits, jackets, shoes, helmets, and these funny things called pampers (so as not to scrape up the neoprene booty)

There were three young couples in our group, including us, and our guide Betty from Hungary. We hiked for about half an hour up the canyon and then started our descent.

We slid, we jumped, we went backwards, forwards, upside down, swam to the next natural slide and on…

This tour was over andhour and 1/2 and we were so giddy the whole time. Thanks to the wet suits, it didn’t matter that we were jumping into freezing water.

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We whooshed down a huge waterfall that shot straight down and at the end we swam through a cavern only big enough for our helmets to fit. Then the end was sadly approaching. Betty told us that one last waterfall remained and it was 3x’s larger then the last. We had to do exactly as she said. One wrong movement, an arm flying up, legs coming apart could end in disaster. If we had any hesitation at all then we should walk around to the end. Well, Gordo was the first to volunteer to fly over the 12 meter fall! Yeah that’s 40 feet!

We highly recommend canyoning here! It was a good ole splash of a time!

Bovec

I won’t lie…I’m way excited to share what we did this week. It was how you say…SUPER FANTASTICO! Last minute we found a small apartma available in Bovec and headed on the bus for a ride.

Here’s what the sign shows upon entering this small town….basically everything we could ask for!

We spent two jam packed days in this mountain heaven!!

We went mountain biking. It was my first time and yeah…I walked whenever it was any sort of downhill. Yep a big whimp, but I gave it a try. Grateful for working brakes!

That water is so CLEAR!

We hiked to Boka Slap (waterfall)

I really can’t image a more beautiful place to farm

The next day we did a tour of CANYONING! This was way better then we imagined so an entire post must be dedicated to it.

We also climbed this steep mountain called Svinjak. I wanted to turn back many times, but Gordo kept us going. Plus we aren’t quitters. It was quite an accomplishment

Getting Started

This is what trail markers look like here…they are painted on rocks, and trees

Still not close

Finally

Two and 1/2 hours up and Two hours down. Steep Steep but VICTORY!

I was astounded by Bovec. This place with about 1800 residents sure gave us a real treat of a retreat! Bovec I really loved you! Hope to visit again someday!

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