It’s hard to believe we’re already in the second week of August. Connor starts Kindergarten on the 30th. It’s only 2 1/2 hours long but we are very aware of how back to school time means our adventure schedule will slightly change. Thankfully, we have been doing so much this spring and summer we may welcome school for a tiny bit of a break!
Jerry started the month off by doing a solo 17 mile dayhike, Dunanda Falls, in Yellowstone. It was a hike he had wanted to do for about 10 years and he finally checked that off his bucket list. He said it was a fairly flat and easy hike (and of course he loved the waterfall and backcountry hot spring he found).
A few days after that, the boys headed to camp at Wall Lake for a night.
Connor and Moonshine each at Wall Lake
While the boys were gone, I did two separate solo hikes. While I love hiking with the family, sometimes it’s nice to just have a little self care and be alone!
Once we were all home again, we enjoyed a good nights sleep in our own comfy beds and then packed up to head out for an overnight at one of our favorite places in Utah, Fifth Water Hot Springs . We tell everyone we know about this hike. It’s a must visit if you’re ever in Utah! This time we were lucky enough to see free range cattle on the trail and the water in the cool morning was just perfection.
Fifth Water Hot Springs in Spanish Fork, Utah
We are all getting pumped about our first family backpacking trip to the Wind River Range that’s coming up in about 10 days. It’ll be our longest backpacking trip yet! It’ll be really nice to spend all that quality time together right before Connor starts school. There is something extra special about this time in our lives. We’ve gotten to do a lot of hiking this summer but we are realistic that Jerry won’t be able to carry Connor forever on his shoulders when he gets tired and our adventures may slow down a bit the next few years until he can walk long distances on his own.
We kicked off our family camping season at the end of April with an overnight camp up Battle Creek Falls Trail in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Jerry found us an awesome hidden spot to set up camp about 2 1/2 miles up.
The coolest thing about this trip was an encounter with what we now know was a ruffed grouse. When we first set up camp, I thought there was a bug in my ear! I felt this low sound deep in my ear and I had no idea what it could be! And the the boys started feeling it, too. A little later about 20 yards from our tent, I saw something flutter in the distance on a log when I also heard the sound. Could it be a bird?! We all set forth to investigate. It was so still, at first Jerry didn’t believe me there was actually a bird on a log. Moonshine chased him up into a tree and it took us a few minutes to find him again because he was camouflaged so well. He continued to flap his wings and make this sound throughout the entire night (it didn’t keep us up, we just heard it when we were awake). They have a low vibrating sound that sounds almost like an engine trying to start up hot can’t. You can really feel it, not just “hear” it which was so awesome to experience as a family!
We are looking forward to LOTS of adventures this spring, summer and fall. Thanks for always planning everything out, sweets!!! We love you!!
Today is Connor’s first day of preschool at Little Farmer’s Preschool at Petersen Family Farm. He attended farm camp Friday there last year so he is familiar with the school and was eager to return for a new school year.
This year he will be going on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We are excited for him to continue learning in an outdoor environment that enables him to explore in nature vs. what most traditional programs offer. He loves learning about animals, growing crops on a farm and right now specifically he is interested in everything to do with being able to read on his own soon!
One of our favorite things about the location of his preschool is that it’s the same place we get our weekly CSA basket! And if we need to buy something mid week, it’s much easier now to just pop in the market when we’re there to pickup or drop Connor off because we’re right there! We love supporting this 5th generation local family farm.
In conclusion, we truly hope Connor has a wonderful school year (and we enjoy a little more freedom without him by our side, too)! 😂 It’s no secret that we’re all very close and we’re never apart (we don’t use babysitters – so school is a little break for mommy and daddy)! Heather will be volunteering one morning a week when Jerry is home to do dropoff and pickup.
In October 2016, a few months after Connor turned 3, we decided to give tent camping another go – this time closer to home. We chose willow lake, up big cottonwood canyon because it wasn’t too far from our house (JUST in case we needed to leave again). The hike was just under a mile so we packed everything with us we would need in our packs and set off! The hike was easy and the views were gorgeous, especially with the leaves changing colors.
Connor was SO excited and interested in everything we were doing. He loved the seesaw, making a fire to have s’mores for the first time ever (something every child never forgets)! When we went to sleep he was as snug as a bug in a rug (but momma’s nose was freezing all night)!
This overnight trip was definitely a success and one we would recommend to anyone (except dogs are not allowed up big cottonwood canyon which is a bummer – but for good reason since it’s a watershed). Connor talked about this experience for a very long time. The spring/summer Connor turned 4, he turned into an old camping pro and it’s all second nature to him now.
Our family is passionate about living a simple, intentional life with less stuff and more of what matters; the things that cannot be bought. We value spending time together and focus on encouraging Connor’s love for the outdoors.
From the time Connor started walking at 7 1/2 months, he would ask in his own ways to be outside (at that young of an age, this meant being near the door and making sounds and motions until we all went outside). When he was an infant, we naturally spent a lot of time outside to help calm him down; fresh air and a nice breeze along with movement in a baby carrier always seemed to do the trick. Or maybe he inherited his love of nature from Jerry, who is always on the hunt for the next big and exciting backpacking/camping trip. Whatever the reason – we couldn’t be happier that Connor enjoys being outside more than in, that he loves exploring new places and is always up for a new adventure.
We moved from Lexington, Kentucky to a suburb outside of Salt Lake City, Utah when he was 13 months old. We knew that Utah would be a wonderful place to raise Connor with endless opportunities in nature to discover. We have been here for a little over 3 years and while we’ve done a lot, it feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface!
We are excited to share all of our adventures here. Until next time, you will find us in our natural state; wake.explore.repeat!