Monday, August 30, 2010

A Cross Country Treasure Hunt

This year for our summer vacation we went to Wyoming.  While we were there, we visited Afton (Star Valley), Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Gardner (Montana), Fossil Butte and Fossil Safari, Intermitent Springs, and even Granite Hot Springs where we got the chance to play in a hot spring pool.  Afton was where we spent most of our time because we had relatives there.  My dad's Aunt Margaret and Uncle George have lived there for 33 years and know a lot about the area.
Evelyn and me with Aunt Margaret and Uncle George in Afton, Wyoming

As with most every trip we take, geo-caching is part of close to every day.  If you're not familiar with geo-caching, go to the website and check it out.  You basically plug in coordinates into a GPS and follow the directions to take you to a micro, small, medium, or regular cache.  A good GPS will take you to within 10 feet or less of the cache. 

One of the first caches we did on this trip was a "dino" cache that was micro.  It looked like a bolt on a sign, but actually it was the cache and had a log inside for us to sign.  While we were there, we got to go into the "dino" shop across the street that the cache was named after.  I was astonished when the shop owner actually took us back to his workroom and showed us all of his fossils.  You might just jump out of your socks when you hear this next part.  He let us use his tools to uncover a fossil!  You held the air tool like a pencil and went around the fossil being careful not to break it.  He let my dad and my sister, Evelyn, try it as well.  I can't wait to uncover it all!  What a great start to the geo-caching vacation.

A micro cache

Dad and me with Earlvis

During our trip to Yellowstone, 5 days and 4 nights, we didn't go hunting for geo-caches.  National Parks don't allow geo-caching because some people view it as a form of littering. 

Upon our return to Afton (our home away from home), we went geo-caching again.  This time Dad and I went by ourselves.  I think it was Bridger-Teton National Forest and Swift Creek where a bridge was that lead to a trail.   We went less than half a mile to another trail that went upward towards the geo-cache.  It took us a few minutes to find it, but we found it.  Believe it or not, we discovered that it was made by Scouts!  It was a regular-sized cache with some goodies inside.  We took a surfboard eraser and left some Amazonite (from Moorefield Mine) and some shells.  That might end up being my favorite cache of the trip since it was assembled by Scouts.

Star Valley has an actual star on the mountainside that we can see from Aunt Margaret and Uncle George's house.  Aunt Margaret says," When the senior class is getting ready to graduate, the upcoming senior class is changing the date and fixing up the star.  They even light it up for graduation night!"  I knew that as soon as I saw it, I wanted to climb up and see it.  Luckily, it turned out there were TWO geo-caches up there.  One was at that very star and another was at the old star...even higher.  Dad and I did these together.  The one on the lower star was regular-sized and I took a dog tag and a squirrel pencil topper.  The higher one was a long walk up and was a micro-cache.  Once again, we put Amazonite into each cache.  We signed our geo-caching name and headed down towards the car.  It was an exhausting walk, but definitely worth it!
Located the Lower Star geo-cache

My dad and I with Earlvis at the Lower Star

Micro cache at the Old Star from Star Valley...see Earlvis?
If you've never geo-cached before, you just might want to start.  All you need is a GPS and possibly a friend to do it with.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  Either I can help you or my dad can.

Off to look for another cache!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Several years ago my family went to Shrine Mont for my mom's cousin's wedding.  It was such a perfect place and I had so many great memories from it.  It was so good that we did a family blog post about it.  When I left, I thought that I would never get the chance to come back again. Boy, was I wrong!

Thanks to Brian and Sonia, my mom's cousins, my sister (Evelyn) and I were invited to spend a couple of nights at Shrine Mont...including the 4th of July!  My grandparents were kind enough to take us with them.  Once again, I had a memory-making time.  I only wish we had taken some shots of the dining hall and the 4th of July concert.

We also didn't take pictures of Frog Pond or Crawfish Creek, as we called them. I did take video of the hike to the cross, but no camera pictures.  However, take a look at some of the activities that we did capture!

We started a 1000 piece puzzle.  Don't know if they finished it or not.

We played real badminton over the net until the net collapsed.  

With the net "out of service," we played for fun!

This is the front view of the cabin in which we stayed.

The 80º pool was refreshing with an air temperature of over 100º!
 Throwing the football while jumping in was a huge hit.

Evelyn loved playing with our youngest cousin, Christopher.

Uncle and Grammy were good sports about playing with us and watching us hold our breath.

Playing water polo definitely a hit at the pool!
To spice things up, we even tried using a water BALLOON as the ball.

There's Grammy reading--again.

This is me looking rather snazzy.

This is my grandparents' bedroom.  Grammy started out in the bed in the far corner.
But due to noisy springs in Orkney Springs, she moved to the bed by the window.

Check out the hall with the outside of the chimney and logs!  

Playing the family room was another hit!

Playing Colorku really can make your head hurt, but in a competitive way!

On our last night, we got to eat frozen custard in our PAJAMAS!

Do you think a waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles would make your taste buds pop with excitement?  Well, they do.

Guess I should have brought a bib!

What a perfect way to get ready for cream and family!
Evelyn, my sister, should probably have had a lip bib--if there were such a thing.

When we returned from ice cream,  Uncle Aaron let us get on his motorcycle to see what it was like.

The Bonnet-Castro-Tingle- Ivey Family Crew

I would love to go back one day with my cub scout den and maybe hike the trail to North Mountain.  I'd like to do a service project there, too.  Maybe even put benches on the mountain trial and clear some of the paths up to the top.

It's hard to show the magic of Shine Mont in pictures, but try and imagine and just trust me.  Do you have a place that you find intriguing and magical?

Be sure to follow me to hear about my latest adventures!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What a Memory!

Last week, Cub Scout Day Camp 2010 was H-O-T...HOT!!!  And I'm not just talking about the temperature.  From bb's and spirit punches to fire hoses and spending time with my dad, it was a week to remember.

BB's was phenomenal!  Once again, the BB's instructor, Mr. Miller, taught me something that pertains not only to BB's, but life.  He told us to NEVER GIVE UP.  He was right.  I got 48/50 on the first day and kept trying all week for a perfect score at the end.  However, my final score was 43/50.  Even though it wasn't perfect, I tried hard, never gave up and actually had a ton of fun.  The bad news is that this was Mr. Miller's last year with this camp experience.  Maybe I'll see him again at another scouting event.  He will definitely be remembered!

How many shapes can you find?  Tell the color, too!
As a part of the cub scout experience, we wore a passport that had a page for each day.  On the first day our group, Vector, received 11"Spirit Punches!"  Slow down a minute, first I need to tell you what "Spirit Punches" are.  "Spirit Punches" are small holes punched into your passport by the leaders of each station.  The more spirit and good sportsmanship your group has, the more punches you get.  The more punches means you have a better chance to get the spirit prize at the end of the day.  I loved being a spirit leader. I stood at the front of the line and shouted cheers as we walked from station to station.  On that first day, our group tied for the most "Spirit Punches."  We each got a rock-n-roll silly band!   For the remainder of the week, we continued to "do our best," but didn't win again.  FYI...on Tuesday we had 14 punches, Wednesday was 9, Thursday was 5 (with over 100 degrees for the temperature) and Friday was a half day and 1 punch.

After lunch on Wednesday and Friday we had some very special guests.  Fire Station 22 from Henrico came out to spend some time with us.  You'll never guess what they did.  No, they didn't talk about fire safety.  Nor did they talk about smoke detectors.  They didn't even mention stop, drop, and roll.  So why do you think they came?  As you can see, it was to cool us down and spray us off with their colossal water gun that's on top of the fire truck.  We were soaked from head to toe. My shoes were filled with water and I had to slosh my way across the field.   It's a good thing the leaders told us to bring extra socks, but maybe we should have brought extra shoes and clothes as well.  Or maybe not, because they were HOT days!  Thank you, firefighters, for saving us on such a scorcher of a day.

My dad is awesome!  He took all of his days off to spend with me at camp.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday he was a chaperone.  On Tuesday and Thursday, he wasn't there because he's a firefighter and had to go to work.  He makes me so proud and it's not just his handlebar moustache that makes me say that.  One of my favorite moments  during camp was on Wednesday and Friday when my dad and I got to go over to the fire trucks early to meet the guys.  I shook their hands and I know that my dad was probably proud of me, too.  Having him there meant the world to me.  I can't wait until we go to overnight camp together later this summer.

Day camp gave me so many memories that I will never forget.  If you ever get a chance to go, you should do it!   Have you ever been to a summer camp and made memories like me?  What is one of your favorite memories from camp?  If you didn't go to camp, what about a favorite summer memory?