Monday, July 16, 2018

Fourth of July 2018

The Fourth of July is always a fun time for family get together. Every year is different, particularly in recent years with the kids older and everyone doing different things. With the Fourth being during the middle of the week plans weren't as concrete like other years with people working. 

The actual holiday was about ideal as far as weather goes. Kids enjoying the growing in popularity game of spike ball at the lake cabin.
Twin Lakes was maxed to the gills once again for the Holiday.
The picture perfect turkey compliments of Mom's favorite.
Sisters on the pontoon.

The gang. Great to see everyone together. Missing is Jack who was in the middle of a six day workathon at Hotel Shoreham pizza shack.

Cheezin' on the Fourth.
The rest of the week we had our niece Claire. Jonell really enjoyed having her help do homemaking things.
Also visiting over the Fourth week was my uncle Stan and aunt Ginger. Jens in deep conversation with Stan.

We had ice in town and hockey camp was going on for the week. Open hockey one night and the above cousins all skated together for the first time.

Post dinner visiting. Fun having former staff member from summer language camp visit.
Fun times at dinner.

Happy Independence day!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Iceland 2018

Two summers ago, Jonell, Jake, Jens and I took a trip to Iceland to visit Steve Gromataka who worked at Maplelag for a few seasons and his fiancee Hekla. It was a awesome trip and I wanted to go back someday. Steve and Hekla made an announcement in the spring they were finally getting married and set a date for June! We didn't think we would be able to make it but the pricing was incredibly low so we couldn't pass it up. Jack was up to head over and made for a great senior present/dad son trip. Jack couldn't take too many days off from work and same for me so we made an extended weekend out of it. 

Checking out the scene seaside the first day.

The day we arrived, there was a midnight sun longest day of summer run. Steve said a bunch of people were doing it so we signed up. Running is not kind to my body so I tried to run 2-3 times a week a month leading up. It never was comfortable running but the race was fun and a great atmosphere. There were close to 3000 runners with almost half from other countries. A bucket list run I guess. It was also Jack's longest running race as the cross country races are 5km.

Downtown Reykjavik before the race. 

Had to visit the hot dog stand post race. The best hot dogs in the world! Made with lamb of course. 

The World Cup of soccer was going on and everyone was in to it, of course, with Iceland playing and just the general interest in soccer and Nationalist pride.
Every town and small village had a soccer field. Most of the larger towns had indoor facilities as well.
The next day we visited some of the area attractions including the Gulfoss waterfall.
Jack digging the jacked up off road vehicles.
Icelandic meal.
Wedding day! It was great to witness a Icelandic wedding. There were fun "events" during the reception with lots and lots of laughs. Everything I expected at Steve's wedding, and more.
Met some new folks including the baker from Isofjord. A avid, skier, mountain biker and general outdoor enthusiast.
We took a few hikes in the spare time. The landscape, scenery is simply awesome.
Cod heads drying. Kinda spooky.
More soccer fields.
Photo booth fun at the wedding.
Jack at the lighthouse on the far most western south point in Iceland.

Strolling through downtown Reykjavik at 11pm. It's a crazy feeling having light all through the night. We kept on Minnesota time, staying up to 3-4 in the morning than getting up at 9-10am. 
View at top of state church.

Short hike in the mountainside.
At the base of the Espers hike.

Turned out to be a very wet hike as it rained the entire 3 hours. Still a awesome views. Thanks for the fun trip Jack and Steve and Hekla for having us at your wedding.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Red Lodge Summer 2018

I have always been keen to summer ski in the Red Lodge area, especially off the Beartooth Highway and Beartooth Basin. Red Lodge is just a awesome mountain town to boot and if the skiing is off, there are tons of old school mountain bike trails.  Jon has missed joining us on the family trips to Red Lodge over Easter the past few years and he was up for a quick trip in between work so we went out mid June. The Basin had been getting really good reports and the skiing looked awesome. (Check out photos and click here and scroll down for Beartooth Highway clearing video)

We got in the night before in time for a mountain bike ride as the area got socked in and rain started to fall. Up high that meant more snow from the day before and a closure at the pass unfortunately.  We rode about a hour up than enjoyed a sweet 20 minute descent.

The next day reports were not good up high at the pass and the pass remained closed. Six foot drifts and winter conditions. Although the road could of been open and been fine for larger 4WD vehicles, there are too many motorcycles and people not used to driving that makes it a nightmare for the highway departments. Despite the conditions up high, the weather broke and turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon in the mountains. We did what a lot of skiers that were out there did and decided to do the hike and ski in the gully off a headwall. Scoping out the scene from the parking lot.

 Start of hike up.

 Steep climbing halfway up. We weren't fully equipped for the hike and ski but got up fine.
 Keeping an eye on the prize and watching other people come down.

Short break before more climbing.

Ready to go.

The intense summer sun turned the snow to creamy corn and really fun to ski on.

 Finishing up the run. Great fun!

 Refueling at Mas Tacos. Great stuff!

 Later that afternoon we got out for another ride checking out some new trail.
 Clouds and rain moving back in again.

 Tight turns and no berms! Classic old school mountain riding.

Stayed at the historic Yodeler. Rain continued through the night and next morning. With the pass still closed and rain forecasted to fall all day, we hit the road with plans to take advantage of the long day by stopping midway on the way home at Medora, ND.

 Heavy rain earlier in the day created some surprise trail features. Borderline peanut butter. Dried out just in time.
 Small creeks were flowing.
Classic Badlands. Despite not being able to enjoy the lift service at Beartooth Basin, we had a great trip. The hike and ski being a highlight. Hope to get back some day to check it out!