Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hell's Half Acre

If you'd call wandering in darkness and confusion hell, then Hell's Half Acre is appropriately named. Get ready for a story.

We went camping a few weeks ago at Hell's Half Acre. After setting up camp we decided to take a hike. Because there was only another hour or so of sunlight, we decided that we didn't have enough time to follow the marked trail; so, we would just make a quick loop and circle back to our camp before the sun set.

By the way, Hell's Half Acre is over 125 square miles of lava rock and sagebrush.

After twenty minutes of marveling at interesting lava formations, taking pictures and climbing in and out of large crevices, we decided the remaining half hour of sunlight would best be put to use by hiking the short 60 yards or so back to our camp.

Suddenly all of the interesting lava formations looked exactly the same.

"Hey, look, there's that cave we saw before we climbed on that big rock."

"No, that's not the big rock we climbed on, that's the big rock we climbed on."

"Then that's not the same cave we saw."

"Wait, maybe it's that big rock."

Before long, the sun had set and we still hadn't found our camp. We wandered for over an hour in the darkness. Luckily, it was a warm night and we had a flashlight! It might have been exciting to spend the night in the desert under the stars, but the thought of the hot dogs and s'mores waiting for us back at our camp was more thrilling than our adventure at that present moment.

We decided to pray, and we were relieved to find a road-like path that led us to where we could see the lights going by on the highway about a half a mile away. We knew that there was a dirt road off the highway that led to our camp, so we headed for the headlights.

The path eventually ended, but we could still see the headlights of the cars passing every so often. We finally reached it, and walked along the highway for about a mile before we came to the dirt road that led to our campsite, another mile off the highway. Only 4 or 5 cars passed us the entire time, but those drivers must have been wondering if we had taken our leisurely night-time stroll a little too far.

But the stars and moon were bright, and we made it back to our campsite by curfew with battery-power to spare. What a hike!

(The next morning we took the marked hike that we had avoided the night before and found it a great deal more enjoyable. Here are pictures!)

"I killed this tree with my bare hands!"

"This is a big lava flow!"

The Great Divide

"I see you!"

P.S. The adventures didn't end when we found our way back to our camp. Boy, were we starved! But not a single match in the 250-count box would light. The cigarette lighter in our car didn't make a spark, either. And, by the way, NEVER try to start a campfire with jumper cables. Just don't.

So we drove 20 miles to town, bought a lighter at the Maverick convenience store, drove back, and had hot dogs and smores for dinner around midnight.

The next morning, a large bird attacked our tent and we found beer cans in our campfire. We don't drink beer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Firm a Foundation

On Sunday, we sang "How Firm a Foundation" as members of the choir at the CES Fireside with Elder David A. Bednar, which was broadcasted from the BYU - Idaho campus to college-age members of the Church around the world. Can you find Ben in this screen capture?

Follow the link above to see us singing in the choir! We sang at the beginning of the program, so it's not too far into the broadcast. You might also have to download a quick and easy installation to run the video.

I really enjoyed Elder Bednar's words! At the Fireside, Elder Bednar counseled young adults to beware of the false realities of online media. Truth, he taught, is things as they really are. Truth is eternal. Often, the "reality" that we experience online is far from truth, or things as they really are. Therefore, we should avoid spending too much time chatting, gaming, and living out our lives "virtually," which would seperate us not only from the company of those we love, but from the influence of the Lord's Spirit, who is the voice of truth. (He also taught that we should use technology for the benefit of others, to share truth and promote the influence of the Spirit, which testifies of Christ.)

Since Ben and I originally met on Facebook, I told Ben after the Fireside that I thought Elder Bednar had to be right; Ben is much better in real life than on Facebook. It's truth eternal!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Takin' a Spring Break

We LOVE Rachel and her kids (and Glen, too). They stayed at Mom and Dad's for Spring Break, and we basically partied for 10 days straight. Well, maybe not, but we did go mini-golfing, explored a cool rock formation at the park, jumped on the trampoline, had two barbeques, went to the "Titanic" exhibit at the Museum of Idaho (with Alan, Crystal and baby Haley Higginbotham, too...Jared LOVES baby Haley), "fondued" several varieties of fruit and finger foods, and played "Joseph Smith Jeopardy" (Rachel and Jenny dominated in Final Jeopardy).

We also learned a cool song about cleaning your room (Boo-wa-wa-wa-wa), and I gained the supernatural ability to transform into whatever character or animal my two-year-old nephew, Jaron, had in mind. Thus, I was "Sharpteeth Jenny" (the T-Rex from the Land Before Time), "Pirate Jenny," "Doggie Jenny," "Tiger Jenny," " Lion Jenny," and "Snake Jenny." When we weren't pretending, I was just "My Jenny" to Jaron. :)

Here are some pictures of our escapades; Rachel is the talented photographer: