Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Eskimos Attack U.S.

devastating news

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I haven't done my work

Joey, how badly do you love santa cruz? because yesterday I filled out an application for Sundance Ski Resort (we drove by it) and this morning I got a message on my phone requesting for me an interview to work there. Starting probably right away.
See, I hate life. Wow what a horribly fantastic dilemma. Can I self-indulge for a moment and ask all of your guys's advice? ok:

1 - September 10th audition for White Christmas in Sonora, Ca
2 - Move back to Santa Cruz and go to Cabrillo
3 - Move to Utah and work at Sundance, starting whenever.

The one plus about moving to Utah is that there are professional theatres in Salt Lake that pay, and that do Christmas plays. So I could keep auditioning, even there. The advantage though in staying in California would a continual deferral of my student loans, and well a closer proximity to a girl (even though we've kind of done some fighting the past few days).
Wow guys. Shiza. This one is gnarly. I certainly have done my work, and now these are my options!

Also, I hope we all caught the full lunar eclipse that graced out night skies for a good hour and a half yesterday. Nothing like a deep-red moon and friends on a blanket under the stars to make an epic like summer this feel as though it's coming to a pretty, significant close


Sunday, August 26, 2007


Jarom has found a new theme song. Out with if you ever see a hearse go by and in with I don't want to go to school. Matt and I woke up with Jarom singing it. The other day I went for another early morning bike ride. And in plain view was our beautiful mountain. The feel in the air and the barely lit sky reminded me of our victorious trek. I'm so in love with that whole experience. And I'm so ready to hike all night and smell all of your rotten strawberries and hear all of our wonderful banter of laughter, secrets untold- but unto us, with the amazing tim and eric. Oh happy times. Let's plan to meet up next month- some halfway point between us all and hike some more. And I love and miss you all so dearly. I got caught in a spell of missing you all and got heart sickness. I know, its awful. I can't thank you all enough for coming out and for camping out in our front room.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

coming down

now that i am home and everything has died down, and joey has left and mikie is not here and stan left and darin's asleep, i am sad. our trip to utah was unbelievably fun to me. i feel like i grew as a person and i love you guys all so much, addie too. the "mom scare" on the way home was jarring, but how great it felt to hear darin say, "oh yeah, she made it home safe, she's asleep" after worrying that much. then celebrating the news by stopping in the middle of nowhere for (what else?) diet sodas and candy!

by the way, matt, amy, have you guys ever stopped in "puckerbrush" nevada? WEIRD PLACE.

delirium sets in.

i hiked AGAIN today (not sore much anymore!) to a crazy wild jungly river spot that looked straight out of jurassic park with huge lily-pad plants four feet tall and undiscovered bugs and spiders and snakes and moss and berries. i am talking way out in the middle of a deep secret canyon somewhere in the mountains betwixt georgetown and swansboro. darin, stan, and seth built a little hut for jocelyn, the star of darin's movie, who basically plays a girl who runs away from society to live in the mountains awhile. the hut was actually looking very inviting. i myself shooed away endless mosquitos and drew pictures in my journal and explored downriver while they were busy and hard working.

i am filthy dirty, exhausted beyond belief, and full of a sort of quiet, satisfied, haunting love for my family and friends too. i hope we can all gather again and again and again for adventures that never end. and laugh at ridiculous things that make no sense and roam mountains and be close to wild animals and swim and cry and be part of the sky.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

canyon miles

we went on a beautiful drive on a dirt road through a petroglyphed canyon with old ruins of stagecoach stations and wild old saloons. addie you woulda loved it.

today we went to the farmers markets for all kinds of homemade treats. i got a beautiful felted purse made by an adorable old woman who does all kinds of hard old fashioned crafts and sells them for cheap! i felt bad buying it for $10. we got batiked prints from uganda and all kinds of goodies. the kids fed their snow cones to orion who is becoming quite the sugar fiend.

speaking of orion, he has been hanging out through all this just being the ABSOLUTE ANGEL BABY of pure light. addie he is a true skerg. you would totally die. he is the most fun thing to hold and snuggle. his legs are soft as cashmere and so round and chubby.

yesterday we tracked down the ice cream man and the kids got sweets in the mexican neighborhood. very fun.

mom wrote a song and played guitar to it about sweet sweet children.

we watched "the painted veil" last night all cozy in the little provo house and loved it.

that's about it for now. it's just for you addie. will update later. we love you and miss you. artie and darin too!

oh yeah, and matt graduated!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

i'm bored

this is crazeyness. flattened tire and 15 hours of a drive, 2 of sleep, madness and you guys my lovely familia, and a day half-over and tons of fun. Here we are! I only wish could post picatures already. I want more chips.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

a hundred shooting stars

i can't remember what i told in my last post. i know i was talking about what a summer it's been. i missed mikie the minute he drove away to l.a. a week and a half ago because he's been a big part of it.

now darin and stan have started filming for their movie, "the mountain's dream." the little crew worked on it all day sunday and monday. jocelyn (yes, mykool's sister) is the female lead. she was a sweet presence around our house for a couple days although i hardly saw her with working so much.

sunday night darin played a show at jacob's house. a lot of people were there and responded vigorously to his deep dark smoky lightningstriking ghostly songs. then a few people came back here to our house to watch the meteor shower. we stayed up on blankets in the backyard till three a.m. i'd say we saw at least 30, 40 shooting stars!!! stan saw a giant cross in the sky, and right after that jesus sent us two blazing emblems of His love. we like to think. it was pretty amazing. new moon perseids.

also, on thursday i went to a woman-gathering at mary's as kind of a bridal shower. she is now married to ben woods, and they are on their honeymoon WALKING up-river all the way to highway 88 through the wilderness. under the falling stars, pretty romantic. anyway our day together thursday was wondrous. us girls presented the quilt we made them. mary loved it. carolann and rebecca are the ones who put the most work into it and were so proud and beaming. we are starting a quilting group that will continue on and on until we are old. we are going to rent a house by the ocean and make quilts and drink tea and tell stories when we are old ladies. we are going to rent "how to make an american quilt" and cook food and love each other. i am truly blessed to have such great girlfriends. i have especially been bonding with carolann...right now she's camping with her family and shane and i miss her!

much more goodness to come. we'll all be together except addie and darin and art, starting tomorrow!!!! hooray!!! blessings and joy upon us all.

me and daphne today

abby's having a busy summer too.

this is the TREE QUILT we made for mary and ben.
mary and ben rolling around in their new quilt
girlfriend love
darin singing his heart out!

what mikie thinks about at 3:58 am

girl or career,
girl or career,
LA or Santa Cruz
LA or Santa Cruz
Big City or Little Life
Happiness or Happiness
Now or Never
Life or Death
Win or Lose

Ok a little overdramatic.

I bring about this poem in a considerably unfortunate time of my life: to decide between two terrible truths: girl or goal.

There comes a time in every man's life when two extremely positive, extremely opposite opportunities stare blatantly into one's scrunchy little face. Then the scenario becomes increasingly more urgent, the stakes skyrocket in intensity by the 1000's and one is left to decide in a swirling turmoil ..
life VS death.
love VS life.
city VS sea.
girl vs career.

No, I answer. They are not mergable fields to tread upon. The dichotomy is separated evenly, unjoinably, since LA and Santa Cruz are physically unable to become closer together in any way.

And so I'm left, after 1300 miles in Rocinante and a week of money-spending clothes-buying time-of-life-having sight-seeing LA-ing future-building and loveliness, here I am plop back down in Placerville for yet another very late night of overcontemplativity.

I know many of you have had feelings for, well, somebody before.

Well fancy that I haven't.

Then just as I finish school and prepare for the biggest move of my life, around the corner comes the most unexpecting curveball to supercede any young 20-something's college career. A person.

And so I cry out for help. Knowing she'll probably not be reading this and also knowing that you all might have a little healthy insight on the whole ordeal (because my deadline for choosing which Community College I'm going to attend is in very rapid approach)



(which means, beginning in 2 weeks. Pville? Sac? San Jose? Berkeley? San Francisco? LA? Santa CRUZ? One of these devilish ideas, surely.)

Somebody tell me. NOW. NOW NOW NOW. I can't have this indecisive freedom-pain ANY LONGER.

Thank you, almighty conjurerors. Will be speaking with you all, soon.


PS - maybe I should just get into another play. Clearly I have too much mind on my hands.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

L. A.

wow. seriously

The story below

The story below is a story of my favorite family.
It's the family I am in.

I am so sad and sorry I can't come next week you beauties.
Please can we go camping at Twin Lakes in the first week of September, right before my birthday?
Or the weekend before that?
Joey I will pay you extra not to work and go more camping before your New Orleans trip.

I miss everyone. I miss the chaos and the excitement and fulfillment of being close to the Beatty clan. I mean, there's plenty of excitement here, in my hip (sorry- had to use the word at least sarcastically) little married life of music and gardens and sushi, but shizer! it's not the same kind of Beatty excitement! It's not everyone talking at the same time, lateness enduring hours past original starting times, laugh attacks with and around Dad being dorky, and mom too for that matter, Mikie's vivacious notice of detail, and such a strong passionate commanding voice, almost so enthusiastic one feels strange sometimes, Heather's banter about loving people, kindness, Beanie, Snorm, Abigail, and Ceeps, patchworks, scarves and dresses, Mom's freak-outs of excitement and nostalgia for Fall and stories and books and antiques and her nellie-cat, Dad's "he was just real neat, he's just a neat, neat, guy", Matt's conversation about anything and everything interesting- that doesn't ever tire and understands EXACTLY what one means, Joey's quiet amazement at the insanity, his love of nature and open road and freedom, his impressions of life, his full enjoyment of them through blunt honesty and sarcastic happiness, and true passion, Amy's adventure from one moment to the next, ready for any new stranger to meet, any picnic, any craft, any trip somewhere, darin's sudden friendliness to random people (kind of like dad's?) meeting one old man or kid after the other......

wow! We are all married now!

the story below.
A story I am so tearfully grateful and lucky to be involved with. Sorry I am
absent on the attendance list so often, I'm doing best I can what with forever bein the starving artist.

Enchanted love dear family, sending meteors crashing through our eyes this brightest Perseid shower ever,

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Southern Utah

On Saturday we left the house at six for a short little two-day stint to St. George and southern Utah. Jeff Johnson got married on Saturday at noon at the St. George temple--that was our motive. Originally it was going to be a daytrip, but Amy surprised me Thursday (our anniversary) by telling me we'd be spending the night in a nice new Courtyard Marriott hotel there (because she works at a Marriott, she gets some sweet deals).

Here's my token map of the trip.

St. George was deathly, hellishly hot. About 105--and just two days before they'd had this massive downpour with flooded freeways and flipped cars and so on. So the humidity factor was enormous. It's such a bummer feeling when you're thinking to yourself, "I have to get inside somewhere, a car, a building, a house, anything with AC or else I will just die." Well, we weren't thinking that the whole time, but practically. I was in church clothes too for a while and that didn't help.

Jeff's wedding was nice, the ceremony fast. Afterwards we had a luncheon at The Pizza Factory. St. George's a nice place. It's a lot like Folsom though: tons of shopping, new development, trendy. But the red rocks and cliffs lined up to the east and west are amazing and worth seeing. After lunch we went to our hotel and swam in a cute, small-enough pool and a hot tub we could all enjoy. Jarom loved jumping from the rocks--both kids are getting pretty good at swimming, or at least learning to swim. Won't be long before they're pros. We went to Jeff and Nicole's reception at seven. It was Hawaiian-themed, with tiki torches and an authentic two-man band and pineapple and that sort of thing. Nicole's mom is Japanese but she was raised in Hawaii, so they have this cool heritage going on.

The wedding included some dancing, some desserts, and so on. Bella kept saying that Nicole was a princess in her wedding dress, and that she wanted to meet her. But when she finally did, she grew very shy--trademark Bella. The cutest part was when all the single girls lined up for the bouquet, I had Bella go over just for fun. But the girls were all so sweet that they made it so Bella would get the flowers, then told her that she would be the next princess. So the rest of the night she kept holding up or showing off her flowers and saying, "Look! I'm going to be the next princess."

Sunday we left the hotel with few plans, the wide open road ahead of us, the sun brightening overhead, and it was only noon. I wanted to go to Cedar Breaks National Monument, east of Cedar City. On the way there, before a tiny town called Leeds, we saw a sign that said Silver Reef Historic Site. I had seen this sign on the way down as well--these types of roadside symbols always call out to me, saying something like, "Adventure awaits!" So we pulled off, and went up to this little ghost town: Silver Reef. It was a fine town, kind of made up and redone with a gift shop and museum and such. Nothing was open though, it being Sunday and all. So we marveled at the view, then left. Apparently Silver Reef is the only place in the US where silver was found in sandstone. It existed for a slight silver boom, then faded away within a few years. The main building there was a Wells Fargo bank building built in 1877 (same year the St. George temple was completed) that was in use for a few years.

Down the road there was a sign that said Pioneer Cemeteries: Protestant / Catholic, and we wanted to find them. We drove a bumpy red-dirt road and found a splash-painted white fence surrounding some gravestones and wooden crosses--the Protestant Cemetery. We walked through it, looked at the graves. Some of the inscriptions were quite sad--many young children and infants died in the late 1800s out there in the desert. Further up the road there was a much smaller Catholic cemetery with only a couple marked graves. One was a massive obelisk, with black wroughtiron fencing around it in the shape of leaves or vines. That man was born in New York, March 13th--Orion's birthday. Another smaller grave was for a man from Dublin, Ireland, who was born on May 18th--Bella's birthday. How these guys ended up in Silver Reef, Utah is forever a mystery.

We hit the highway again to Cedar City, turned off on highway 14 and went east, 10,000 feet up to where Cedar Breaks is. It's beautiful, all these colorful, many-shaped canyons opening on either side of us. Up at the top we drove through a high mountain meadow with a huge flock of sheep grazing on either side of the road. They spooked easily and trotted off when you drove by, but it was all unfenced and really pretty nice; we liked to think that those sheep were pretty happy up there, wandering and eating without boundaries, and that their owner treated them well. And then we were there and these cliffs and hoodoos spread out like an ampitheatre, the colors of sand and rust and pumpkin. We stared awestruck for a while, visited the tiny visitor center and got a couple little books, then left, with me trying to figure out the difference between spruce and fir.

We took highway 148 along the top of the Markagunt Plateau and saw this peak jutting up above the rest of the land--Brian Head Peak. So we drove this dirt-gravel road three miles up to the top of it, which summits at 11,300 feet! That's only about 400 feet shy of Mount Timpanogos' summit (which is where we will all be before you know it). There's an old USGS brick shack up top, and Jarom and I walked out into the wind to check it out. You can see portions of Nevada, Arizona and Utah from the peak. There was a couple over there as well, taking pictures. They reminded me of Misty and Allen. We took each other's photos and then went along our merry way. We headed down 148 towards Parowan, back on I-15, and along the way we went down through Brian Head, a tiny town and home of a ski resort. The road was quite steep, so we took it slowly. Once in Parowan, we ate lunch at a Subway in a TA travel center, and then went north again without stop or interruption, heading home. We stared at the fields, farms and mountains in Santaquin and Nephi and thought, we could live here. We could live anywhere.

Jarom jumping.

Amy and the kids in the pool.

Bella meeting the princess.

Bella with her bouquet--she's going to be the next princess.

Jarom in front of the Wells Fargo building at Silver Reef.

In front of the Protestant cemetery.

"In memory of Clarence L. Callaway. Born Dec 31 1880, died May 26 1883. Little Clarence how we miss you, since you left us here alone, in the house it seems . . ."

"Baby West. Born & died Nov 28 1879. Rest baby rest."

Jarom underneath the juniper in the Catholic cemetery, around unknown graves.

Sheep in the mountains.

Jarom, Bella and I walking to the visitor center at Cedar Breaks.

Jarom checking out the view.

Cedar Break National Monument. You can see Brian Head Peak in the distance, up center, poking out above everything.

Up at Brian Head Peak.

The wall that separated us from the edge.

Archway shot of the CCC cabin.

Little rainbow welcoming us back home.
Nana and Heather, thank you for making the kids' day. Bella loves being a seƱorita princess. They both enjoyed decorating their boxes, and they love them. Orion loves his little maraca.

Monday, August 6, 2007

we make our own luck

it's been quite a summer.

this last week or so has been filled with:

blackberry picking (carolann's fave)

farmer's market - a big group of us walked down and randomly saw dad there, he shared a yummy smoothie with us, and mikie rode up on his bike

cooking - doniella is an inspiring chef. she uses garlic liberally and creates the best concoctions you can imagine, with fresh veggies from the farmer's market!

river trips - lotus, i went alone, and was wishing for my friends to magically find me, and they did! then on saturday, swansboro with a nice little hike involved and totally secluded and wild and magical

quilting - me, rebecca, doniella and carolann working on a marriage quilt for mary and ben, it's a tree design and very lovely

parties - one at rebecca and zack's last week, one at my house this week

dancing - both at parties and then at the bars - carolann, doniella and i dressed up in prarie girl sundresses and went out on the town and danced our booties off!

cozmic cafe - darin's work/hangout - delicious food and a summery hanging out vibe

bicycles - i have decided dad needs a bike too, so he can use it to go to the farmer's market and also take it on camping trips. bikes are great!

"the mountain's dream" - this is the movie darin is working on which is beginning to involve everyone we know. stan is the cinematographer, jamie van camp is co-producer, mikie plays an arrogant golfer, and is also in on the planning, addie plays a tongueless violin player, and i play a mountain hermit. leading roles are all played by friends. darin is very very excited about this and it is a guiding force for the rest of the summer.

50s day - gives me a chance to dress up for work once a week! (see photo above) and guess what, this past sunday (yesterday) I WON!!! i will get $25 as a prize. pretty excited about that.

missing joey, matt, amy and the kids and addie - i've been around mikie a lot which has been great fun and inspiring, but i miss the rest of you my siblings. and even my parents. you guys are all my social community too!

can't wait to fill the rest of the days of this month with glorious trips and adventures and love and spirit!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wanna know what sucks?

My luck is down. For one, I have been working totally lame hours like this morning I had to be at a staff meeting at 8:45 am after five strait days of working at 9am, and THEN i had to go BACK to work at 5 pm tonite and worked til 1am. now im at home. and tomorrow morning i wake up at 9 and go to work. again. then i have monday off. and then i work MORE. i love work. so fulfilling, so mentally and spiritually beneficial.
and guess what i did before work today? i stepped on my guitar, my ovation which i bought in february for 200 dollars, and i broke it. it was the same part that broke before, and now i think the guitar is pretty much not worth trying to fix again. so i need to buy a new one. i guess its a hidden blessing because i was inwardly unhappy with this guitar since i had my first accident with it and messed up the tuning accuracy and then action and the neck. totally lame huh? well maybe some wildly hot chick will strut into my life and bow before me. but probably not. so ill just keep enjoying OTHER stuff about life like coffee and music and the ocean and the early morning outside and books and sandwiches and cheese and sandwiches and free time and music and music and music and sanity.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

hey guys its joey. i wrote a poem about the members of my immediate family. if you wanna check it out its on my page. my.......'blog....'......

Friday, August 3, 2007

Wet and wild

As of yesterday, Matt and I have been married for 6 years! We had such a great day. The weather had reported rain for the day but it was hot and sunny. One of my many plans was to surprise Matt after work with our bikes and go for a ride. It worked out wonderfully. I packed a yummy dinner and off we went up the canyon. We rode next to a river, so on such a hot day it made the perfect cool breeze. We got to Bridal Veil Falls. Sat and ate, chatted it up. As soon as we took the last bite of food the sky darkened and the clouds opened and let loose. A smile spread across our faces as we jumped on our bikes and took off back down the canyon. It was pouring huge rain drop bullets. I took one in the eye and had to stop for a moment. We just had the best time. We were able to run home and take a nice cozy shower before the kids got dropped off. I know it's something we will always look back on with great fondness. I love that the best things in life are free.

before I go meet Heather downtown...

let me just say that since August will soon be in full swing, I am starting to get that little itch- that comes towards the end of any summer- it's a shifting feeling, something about travel and newness tied to the Fall, about the greatness of undiscovered places and skies we can't even guess about, rain unimaginable, a stirring sense of possible and cold beauty that shakes my soul into excitement and doubt, all wrapped up and tickling me with the splendor of not knowing anything at all... all in this month my thoughts are creased by the winds of change, and as every summer's ending tells, my run-on words only run on unended, my body's blood warmed from a 3-digit sunny friday, i know something misty is scribbling at the edges of these sweet late summer evenings. I hope you all feel it too, it's the most electrical excitement I have tasted in years. even a smidge - there's things ahead unspoken unsaid but satisfied and deep of root these beautiful monsters with silvery faces lie grinning beneath and in front of us... so sleeping tonight isn't just for myself, it's to honour the glory of untold adventures and caught up in fantasies, wrought in our momentary blur, the inevitable boom of a cloudy horizon is calling, and summer is giving its way away, letting us live it out, filling our cups one more lovely time...
those unexpected laughs.
and Under his Breath,
we're flying so blindly
safely, high up here
Autumn wringing his hands in anticipation
and I can't wait too.
something finally new.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Okay, last of the adventures for a little while. But this one's a real adventure, a big journey that I wish most of you had been on with us, and I'm sure most of you wish you'd been on it too. It was last Saturday the 21st through Monday the 23rd. Wyoming.

Before I start, here's the map I made of everything we did. I pretty much documented all our little spots and stops, for the most part. I totally encourage you to zoom in on some of the placemarks I made, because the satellite imagery is pretty sweet. Like click on "Campsite" and zoom in--you can see right where we camped! You can see the rapids, cliffs, thickets, restaurants, and so on--everything I talk about in the forthcoming novel.

We got up at 4:15 am so we could leave by 5 and be on the road, heading north up the Utah/Idaho/Wyoming state lines. We were going with Dave and Michelle and their kids--this is something they've done the past few years, and they were excited to have some friends so the kids could play together and that sort of thing. So we left early up Provo canyon, paused to get ice in Heber City, then took I-80 east toward Cheyenne. We stopped at Evanston, at this really nice, extravagant McDonald's--it was like a mini-resort, replete with paintings and a fireplace and flatscreens showing CNN in the bathroom--let the kids play, then went on our way north on 89. We watched the sunrise and weaved through the morning haze, past all these little Wyoming towns, with populations of 300 or 500. Cokeville, Afton, Thayne, Etna, Alpine. It was all farmland with mountain and forest in the distance--and then we pass Alpine and we are in the forest. Stretching along the Snake River, the highway is a small empty strip in the Rockies (like driving Highway 50 to Tahoe), the rest is lodgepole pine stands in every direction.

We pull off at West Table, which is basically a parking lot with a concrete boatramp--our rafting put-in for the trip. We have to wait for Dave's friends, who have the rafts and gear. No cell phone reception out here, so we wait. We set up chairs along the rock-ridden rivershore, put on our swimsuits and play. It's about 95 out (uncharacteristically hot, usually it should be around 80). The sun is high overhead, but the water is cold snow runoff and it's refreshing. Here we play, splash, swim and wait, with fully camping-packed cars, for 4 1/2 hours. We never get ahold of nor hear from Dave's buddies, so finally we leave to find a campsite. The preferred spot, Granite Creek, is off-limits this year because a wildfire raged in the wilderness behind it, so instead we drove up Fall Creek Road, a choppy washboard road that cuts up through the forest, and we pulled off three miles later, in this little circular meadow with quiet Fall Creek creeping just beside it. Papery manure littered the grass in spots, and a bushy willow thicket filled all the space to the west. The small foothills of Munger Mountain opened up right in the front of our meadow. Every night I intended to pull some sort of midnight hike up those foothills--except our days ended up being so busy that I always dropped into bed exhausted instead.

It was a beautiful spot, though at dusk the mosquitoes swarmed us, and the willow provided pretty much no shade during the day. So we ended up being there mainly morning and night. Anyway, we set up camp and explored. The boys played in the creek and tried to get me to follow them through the thicket to find a spot where they could spear fish or spy on bears. They were all three shirtless. I consented to go with them. We all had brittle willow walking sticks that we used as machetes to hold back other branches or fend off mosquitoes. We plowed through the thicket and trampled the dung and waded through mud and insects. The branches were most of the time low--very low--so low that I had to squat as far down as possible and waddle through while trying not to get slapped by the bushes. We all got bit and scraped, a little bloodied up. We came to the edge of the creek and circled back, Colin leading the way (he was the ringleader, a huge fan of Man vs. Wild). We could barely hear Dave's radio playing a Yankees game so we knew we were heading in the right direction. And then finally we emerged, the adventure over, and we slapped away more mosquitoes until deciding to go up to Jackson for dinner.

Dave and Michelle liked this place called Bubba's Bar-B-Que (same name as the one in Ennis, Texas, on the shirt Heather gave me, but different business I think). It's one of the common stops, a little hole of a restaurant with a grey poplar out front that the kids climbed and played in for an hour. The food was quick and okay, but it was Wyoming! and so we didn't care. We got water and a bathing suit for Bella at Kmart, then headed back to camp, watching the temperature drop the whole way, as our hundred-degree day faded below fifty. I left the fly off the tent that first night, hoping to stargaze into the empty summer Wyoming skies, but all it afforded us was a massive dowsing of dew and a really cold night.

Dave and I woke up around seven on Sunday and headed down to the Snake again for an 8 am rafting trip. The best part about rafting or swimming in the river so early is that the difference between the air and the water temperatures is miniscule, so the water feels quite warm. The previous day the water felt arctic yet we swam anyway. I was prepared with my full rafting getup, and at 8:50 our 18-foot boatload of eleven took off from West Table. (Dave's friend Chris Bright--a big, orange-headed Corvallis resident who resembled a sasquatch but was kind, gentle and friendly--took the helm as guide. He was an interesting character; he came to our site to camp with us and also rafted with us the next day.) The Snake River is wide and dark, but tame. It flows fast and strong but is devoid of many rocks or that many rapids, so the experience is a bit different from our South Fork American. That first day the whole run took only an hour and twenty minutes. We did lose two Puerto Rican girls at Big Kahuna though. That rapid just attacks you. After we took out and packed the gear, we negotiated with the guys to let us keep the small 12 1/2 foot boat to use the next day, so that Dave and Chris and I could run our own trips and take the families. Back at camp, Michelle and Amy were playing all morning long with the kids, games like Bearzilla. Once Dave and I got back, we loaded everyone up and headed north to the Grand Tetons.

The drive was beautiful. We were surrounded by cottonwoods, quaking aspens, lodgepole pines. The whole area was wild. (Many of the cottonwoods, or waga chun as Black Elk speaks, were planted by dude ranchers to help with irrigation, so they aren't really native to the area. This was told to me by a college-student ranger at Grand Teton later in the day, and it seems to be true, because groves of cottonwood line creeks everywhere.) We passed by a massive, fenced plain, the National Elk Refuge. Then we were on a long straight road with the Rockies to the west, and soon enough we could see the peaks of Middle and Grand Teton and Mount Owen, unmistakable through the hazy sky of summer daytime.

We first stopped at String Lake, a little intestinal-looking southern offshoot of Leigh Lake. It's shallow and surrounded by woods. Right across from us in the middle of the lake there was a pileup of smooth fallen trees, like being by a lumber mill or in a beaver's playground. We chose a little beachy spot to sit in the sun. We weren't there long before deciding to go down to Jenny Lake instead, where we could do a hike that was conducive to children and where there were some bathrooms, because kids can't hold it. Jenny Lake was beautiful, a big watercircle in the pines. I loved the visitor center there (I love lots of visitor centers), they had a huge diorama of the Teton Range and lots of amazing books that I know most of you would love, a big wood stove with chairs around it, and everything was so *interesting*. It was originally Harrison Crandall's artist's cabin; he was a professional photographer who lived and worked in it in the 1920s (you can read more about him here). I'm a sucker for that sort of thing, like museums.

But Jenny Lake was clear and beautiful, and we took a short boatride across it to part of Cascade Canyon trail. We hiked about half a mile up through forest to Hidden Falls, a lush, white waterfall pouring down an outcropping of stepped rocks. Amy and Michelle ran up another half mile to Inspiration Point, where they could look out over the lake and canyon, and Dave and I stayed below and watched the kids collect stones in the cold water. (This is when I had spontaneous cellphone reception and called both Mom and Joey.) We hurried and hiked back down to make it to the boat before six, boated back across Jenny Lake, then swam and nursed babies and visited the visitor center again before driving back south to Jackson.

We decided to eat out again, just for fun, so we proceeded to try and find a suitable restaurant. Jackon's a pretty cool town. A bit resortish, maybe like South Lake Tahoe in some ways. But just some ways. (It's also known as Jackson Hole, but from what I hear, they're trying to up their image, and the "hole" portion of it just has to go. You know the Johnny Cash song--"I'm going to Jackson . . .") We walked through the town a few times. It's cute; there's a central park with big arches made of elk antlers on either corner (these antlers are scavenged from the Refuge after each season--they're not from hunted elk). Lots of lit shops and little stops and places to eat, a lot of wooden, old-western style architecture. So we tried to get some recommendations on where we could eat where kids would be welcome. Teton Steakhouse? No thank you. Some American bistro, some fish n chips place? No, no. After a few more nos and one good recommender, we finally found the Snake River Brewery. Which was so good. It was an old industrial building set a couple blocks off the main strip, with three floors around a winding staircase and ancient arcade games on the top floor. We were super hot and had walked for blocks around this city after parking about a mile away. Great 9 pm food. If you, we, anyone else eats in Jackson, they should eat there.

Back at camp, we put sleeping children into sleeping bags and lay down in the 58 degree night.

The next morning we all got up around 8 and got ready for more rafting. The sun was coming up behind our hills, though we couldn't see it yet, and it was a bit colder out. We brought everything we'd need and left for West Table again. I got to guide the first expedition. There were only six of us: Chris and Dave as lead paddlers, myself in the rear, Amy on the port side, and Jarom and Colin sitting on thwarts in the middle, protected. We had an excellent trip, took us a little longer than Sunday because our crew was so small. But we hit Big Kahuna hard and strong, made Dave swim it. We stopped after Champagne at a cliff on the left. Colin wanted to jump it, but the climb is short and tricky; you have to crawl across a crumbling rocky ledge to get there. At top there's a dead gnarled tree with smooth wood that you can cling to before jumping. But both Jarom and Colin were determined to jump something, so we led them to the underside of the cliff where you can jump about five or six feet down in the dark deep Snake. Jarom wanted me to hold him, but instead we held hands as we jumped in together. We went under a foot or so and then came back up, Jarom screaming out not from fear, but from the water's cold. Even so, he loved the jump. He's very brave. Amy went and jumped it too. Colin did it probably five times. I climbed up to the bigger ledge--maybe thirty feet up--and jumped in from the root of the gnarled tree. It was invigorating--the water's cold isn't even numbing, it's refreshing.

Here're the photos of us going through Big Kahuna:

We took out and strapped the inflated raft to the roof of the Jeep, then piled four adults and two kids into it and drove the eight mile stretch of highway back to West Table where Michelle had been watching all the other kids. We made ready for the next trip, with Dave, Chris, Colin and I again, Michelle and Torin replacing Jarom and Amy. We had run into Dave's friend Justin Jones, a big guy with tons of experience on the Snake, and brought him as well. It was my third Snake trip in two days. When we hit Big Kahuna, all four of the adult males fell in and swam. That wave is gigantic, it just pushes you up vertical, then a second wave slams you from the right so the whole starboard side of the boat gets knocked. The only people who didn't swim this time were Michelle (the one girl) and Torin and Colin (the two children). Amazing. I went under the boat but walked my way out with my fingertips and was back in in a jiffy--seriously I was probably only in the water for five seconds, it's second nature to get back in quickly and start retrieving people. We grabbed everyone else, saved our paddles, then were on our way again. We stopped at the same cliff to jump again, but as we were eddying out, I saw a guy jump from halfway up a pine tree above the gnarled tree. Probably fifty feet plus. "Stupid," an old guide wearing a cowboy hat said. But I couldn't watch this kid do that and not attempt it myself, I just couldn't. So there I went, scaling the rocky ledge, hopping above the gnarled tree, climbing midway up this lodgepole pine until I found a little opening in the branches overlooking the deep moss-colored water, then I readied myself, announced "Coming down!" and leapt far out into the air and just hung there, drifting slowly down until I hit hard with my feet pointing down and my arms at my side. It was a big jump, but I swam to shore and it felt great. Dave said, "All these pictures you take on this trip and you didn't get a picture of that." Oh well. We finished the last section uneventfully, maybe a little tired, then took out and headed back to see Amy and the kids.

Amy was feeling sick. She had gotten this extreme sore throat. And I mean extreme; when we looked at it later on with a flashlight down her throat, you could see this huge spherical cyst-looking mass at the back right. It was swollen and purply and looked very painful. She could hardly talk. We packed up our stuff, packed in the kids, and headed south to Alpine to get pizza. Amy took some advil and we figured we'd see if she got feeling any better. We at pizza at Gunnar's Pizza. It was average food, but poor service--the waitress forgot about us and told the kids where they could and couldn't sit and kind of lectured them. It was funny, at one point the cook came out and heard Colin burp a nice seven-year old boy burp and he turned slowly and said to him, "Honey, that's disgusting." Anyway, they were okay. But Bella and Orion were asleep in the car and Amy was in deep pain, just trying to rest with her head against the window, so we decided we'd go back to camp, pack up and head home. We could be home by about 1 am. Dave and Michelle still had to drive back up to Jackson to return the children's life jackets that we had rented. So we parted ways there at Gunnar's--Chris took a picture of the crew and Justin had the rafting gear that he had to take down to Utah State in Logan to return.

We went back to camp and packed our things. It was sad to leave such beautiful wilderness, but we'd had good fun and were ready to go home, especially if it meant sick Amy sleeping in a bed. Before we were done packing, Michelle and Dave came back and said they'd leave with us too. So we all packed up and left at the same time. We drove those pretty highways, all the way watching a thunderstorm unfold beneath granite clouds in the distance, with lightning shooting down at intervals and lighting up unnamed mountain ranges. We stopped for gas in Thayne and the wind blew dust around us. We took a wrong turn and went too far into Idaho, a 45-minute diversion. I was getting hopefully tired, so in Evanston I had to ask Amy to drive. I tried to stay awake but it was impossible. Finally at 1:30 we were home. Amy put some aspirin back on her massive lump (that's an old sore throat trick that only the veterans know) and within an hour the lump had two small holes eaten through it like acid, like a popped pimple. It made her feel much better, and she went to bed in relative peace, even ended up healing quickly. I had the next day off--the 24th, Pioneer Day in Utah--so we just turned on the swamp cooler and fell asleep.

This is the thicket I was talking about. My view. And this isn't the worst of it.

There's Fall Creek, right next to us.

On the boat across Jenny Lake.

Hidden Falls.

This is Wyoming.

The sweet sweet antlers. Remember--not from hunted elk.

First trip, Monday.


Second trip, Monday.