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Showing posts from July, 2010

Date Day

Though I am privileged to have my summers to myself (no grad school or work commitment this year), I often feel like that doesn’t mean I have more time with Brian.  He does work a four day week (10 hrs per day), but with our busy summer schedule, there has been but one Thursday, Brian’s day off, where we both were home and free.  Taking advantage of the day with no plans, and trying to do all we can before I cannot walk, we decided to have Date Day.  What a great day it was.   We slept in, had a quick breakfast and headed out to the Milwaukee County Zoo.  Though Bri could certainly live without the zoo, he was a real trooper.  We ate lunch there and even had an ice cream treat.  After the zoo, we went for a short drive around Milwaukee and stopped at the lakeshore for a quick stroll.  Despite the sewage dumping, the smell wasn’t any worse than normal - not sure if that’s really a good thing, Lake Michigan.  After the lake, it was adult time, so we went to the grocery store…we needed a …

Lac du Flambeau Livin'

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This past weekend was spent relaxing in the lovely North Woods. I headed to Lac du Flambeau with Becky, my sister-in-law, on Thursday afternoon, which meant that we missed the monsoon-like rains back home, and Mom and Dad Runnells joined us later that evening; Hannah, the pup, was also in tow.  Friday morning was cloudy and cool, so we headed into town to take care of errands.  By lunch, the weather had shifted, and we were able to enjoy some sun on the pontoon boat.  I may have overindulged in the sun, but I had to do something to get this skin looking more Mexican :)  We spent the evening taking in the sights and sounds of Minocqua - that meant a stop at What’s the Scoop, the ice cream shop, and a visit to the ski show.    The fun really began when Brian, Matt and Meg arrived late Friday evening.  Until Sunday afternoon, we balanced eating and drinking (BPB’s pretzels and rye chips, burgers, brats, beer and Bahama Mamas) with fishing and jumping off the pontoon boat.  Oh yeah, the bo…

Should've Been A Cowboy

Well, I had intended to discuss my pre-operative bloodletting experience, but thanks to my forgetfulness, I now have other plans. While driving home from my doctor, and without my iPod to entertain me, I had to shuffle through radio stations to find some enjoyable tunes. Imagine my excitement when I heard Grandpa’s song. For those of us in the Navarrete family, there is a song, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”, that has special meaning for us. It’s a song that reminds us of the cowboy spirit that lived inside of our grandpa/daddy/husband. Though he is no longer with us (he lost his battle with cancer in 1996), this song is one way for us to keep close to him. I consider it one of the many blessings in my life that I lived at my grandparents’ house for some time while I was little; in fact, my entire family lived there while our house was being built. During that time, i developed a relationship with both of my grandparents that most kids are not privileged to. I have such fond memories of the…

Making A Return To The Gimp Squad

Well, it looks like I’ll be back on the gimp squad before too long.  I met with my ankle doctor (I’m sure “ankle doctor” does not appear on his medical license, but admitting I see a podiatrist makes me seem so old, so I’ll stick with the aforementioned term), and he was concerned with the amount of pain I was having.  His initial concern was that I was developing arthritis (again, how old do I sound?!).  I had a series of X-rays, the same ones I had post-surgery, but this time it was much easier to comply with the technician since I could actually move my foot.  The doctor also detected some bone development in an area where it was not supposed to be.  I was sent for a CT of my ankle to further evaluate.   Yesterday, I met with my ankle doctor to get the results of the CT.  I was most concerned about the possible arthritis as long term treatment is ankle fusion (I don’t sit still very well, and I could not imagine not walking well/properly).  I do have some minor arthritis developing,…

Home Sweet Home

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Glacier National Park, MT We were up early Wednesday in order to pack up and head out.  Before leaving, we visited the Two Medicine area of the park.  It was extremely windy once again, so we didn’t spend much time there. After checking out the lake, we drove and drove until we reached North Dakota, where we visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  There is a 36-mile scenic loop that one can drive.  We opted to do that (which was fine as there were very few trails to hike, and I was struggling to walk on my swollen, sore ankle).  It was nearly 8pm when we arrived in town, so there was little open; apparently everything closes by 7pm in Medora, ND.  After our tour of the park, which included a buffalo trotting along side our car and numerous prairie dog sightings, we drove to Dickinson, ND for a night of rest and relaxation. It took a lot of work to find a vacancy in a respectable hotel in town.  There were quite a few hotels (but no Starbucks - lame), but oil company workers occupied …

Brian's Math: 11=15

Glacier National Park, MT I’ll let the pictures (which I’ll post here and on facebook) do most of the talking, but there is a bit I must share from the past two days.  Let me begin with Monday.  There is one main road through Glacier; it’s called Going-To-The-Sun Road.  Despite our drive the day before, I was happy to hop into the Fit and drive along the historic and scenic road.  Along the way, we made a few stops for pictures and exploration.  When all was said and done, we spend about 8 hours away from camp.  It’s a long road and there are ongoing construction projects.  Notable aspects of the drive included the Weeping Wall, Jackson Glacier, Trail of the Cedars, and the black bear sighting (it was in the ditch on the opposite side of the road!).   Tuesday required a rather brave face and a calendar.  It was hard to believe that it was nearly mid-July as the wind was gusting around 40mph, and the temperature dropped to somewhere around 40 degrees.  We planned our longest hike of the …

Lessons From Our Travels

Glacier National Park, MT Today was another travel day for the Runnells duo. We had about nine hours to cover between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. The drive was rather uneventful but definitely more tolerable and scenic than the drive through South Dakota. Most interesting was the experience we had in Browning, Montana. Browning is a reservation town, and is home to the Blackfeet. Many of the “artifacts” (buildings, art, teepees, etc) in town pay tribute to the Native American heritage and the experiences of the people. As we learned in Glacier, there has long been a dispute about the border of the park and the treaty that passed the land from the tribe to the U.S. Government. The tension created by that can still be felt, and we did experience somewhat of a cultural awakening during our visit to the local gas station/market. As a person of Mexican decent, I often felt in some sort of cultural limbo. I am white, and thus am part of the majority group, yet I am also part of a m…

Not Your Average Saturday

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Yellowstone National Park, WY Happy Birthday, Ann!!  Today, we planned a very full day.  We had many stops on our agenda, but plans changed soon after we began the day. The first stop of the day took us about an hour from camp to Tower Falls.  It was a lovely waterfall, but exploration of it was cut short because the trail to the base of the falls was closed; there had been a washout of the trail.  Hoping for more entertainment and hiking, we then turned back in the direction of camp.  We had a few stops to make before returning to Bride Bay, the first of which was Mt. Washburn.  Tom and Ann headed up the trail to take in the sights, while Brian and I debated whether to be practical or adventurous.  If you know the two of us, you can likely guess who was practical and who was adventurous.  We opted for adventurous, and I soon found myself hiking the three miles to the top of the 10,000+ foot mountain. As Brian would say, at least I’m still smiling. There was a lot of snow near the summit,…

Relocating Once Again

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Yellowstone National Park, WY We’ve again relocated.  Today we are officially residents of Bridge Bay Campground, and after arriving at camp and establishing our new “home”, we tended to some much-needed housekeeping.  Showers and laundry were on the agenda.  Figuring we should also do some more rugged work, we decided to hike Elephant Back Trail.  The three-mile round-trip hike was truly grueling at some points.  It is, after all, difficult to gain 1,000 feet in altitude while watching for bears.  Just when we were sure that the trail would fail to provide the promised lake views, we were pleasantly greeted with quite an amazing near-panoramic view of the lake and Yellowstone Hotel.  After a steep yet uneventful decent (thankfully, no bears), we headed to what would be my favorite place of the day, Fishing Bridge.  The area featured a general store (ice cream treat time!!), a laundry facility (nine days of dirty clothes to tend to), and a shower (the best $3.25 ever spent).  After fold…

Four Years Of Fabulous Adventures...And Many More To Come

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Yellowstone National Park, WY Today is our 4th wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe that only four years ago life as husband and wife was just beginning.  We’ve sure had plenty of adventures in that time - numerous climbing trips (Colorado, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota…),  visits to Yosemite, two broken ankles, an airborne car; the list goes on.  Our adventure for today was far more subdued, which, for us, is a good thing.  Today’s task was exploring Old Faithful.  We arrived early and found seats on the benches; we certainly anticipated a good show.  The first eruption was less-than-impressive; the straight-on angle was not the best vantage point.  Afterward, ready to call the whole geyser experience a loss, we walked around the park and investigated the numerous  other thermal features.  As the temperature increased, the general attitude about geysers decreased, and soon it was time to refocus.  On our walk back, we saw another eruption of Old Faithful, and we were …

Runnells Clan Meets For Yellowstone Adventures

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Yellowstone National Park, WY Today we met with Tom, Ann, Daniel and Xavier, and thus began the much-anticipated Yellowstone leg of our journey.  We arrived early to Colter Bay Campground and found a site to share with our camping companions. While we waited for them to arrive, we explored the trails weaving through the campground.   We also explore the massive gift shop/grocery store.  Mid-afternoon, the other Runnells family arrived, and we settled into camp.  After dinner, we explored the Lakeshore Trail and took in the impressive views of the Grand Teton.  While on the hike, Xavier made great use of some of his presents, including his combination spoon-fork-knife-bottle opener.  When we returned to camp, we celebrated Xavier’s 8th birthday with min-cakes and candles, a great start to our trip together.  Early Wednesday morning, after our first warm night of sleep (Thank you, weather gods), we packed up camp, yet again, and headed to Yellowstone.  Though the entrance to the park was …

River Rafting

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Grand Teton National Park, WY Sunday was a slow-start kind of day.  We were greeted with quite a bit of rain to start the day, which meant we had to put off climbing until the weather changed.  To avoid spending all morning in the tent or the car, we headed to town for breakfast.  We were not the only ones with that idea; it was very busy in town.  We did beat most of the rush and had a great breakfast at Crazy Woman Cafe.   After breakfast, we headed back to camp for a bit, and then we headed out to climb. Feeling rather tired and sore, I opted just to belay for Brian, but he was able to get in a couple of interesting routes in an area that was quite fun (and impressive). Monday morning, we departed for Grand Teton National Park.  It took us around five hours to get here, but we’ve arrived.  Our big adventure for the day was a rafting trip down the Snake River.  We were loaded into a van and drove, with the raft, to the launch point.  On our drive, we caught a glimpse of a herd of bison…

Take Me To The Rodeo. No, Really. Take Me To The Rodeo

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Ten Sleep, WY Today was the second full day of our adventure, and we sure made a day of it.  The weather has improved in Ten Sleep, so that meant we were able to get in some climbing.  We woke up early and got right to it.  It was nice to beat the crowds and take our time.  Brian is in his own little heaven, I am sure.  I, too, am enjoying the unique climbing.  I have sore fingers, but no broken bones, Dad!   Some of our roadside friends -the first “wildlife” we saw After spending the morning and part of the afternoon trying to make sense of the crazy guidebook and running up a couple of routes, we headed to town.  Ten Sleep, population 304, is quite the happening place this time of year.  What, you haven’t heard?  It’s the 64th Annual Ten Sleep Rodeo this weekend.  Ready to take in some of the local culture, we put on our best cowboy faces (sadly, I forgot my cowboy hat) and headed into town.  We began with a stop at Dirty Sally’s, the local ice cream and souvenir shop.  We also stopped…

The First Stop - Of Many

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ig Horn National Forest, WY  Well, we’ve arrived. It took 18 hours, but we’re here. Where is “here”, you ask. We are currently residing at Sitting Bull Campground in the Big Horn National Forest near Ten Sleep, WY. After nearly melting in the heat that seemed to be amplified by the open road (driving through South Dakota is heinously boring), we found what was to be our first of many campgrounds. Though I had been previously warned that this would not be the type of camping I am used to in Kentucky and the likes (showers and bathrooms), I was not prepared for what I saw. This campground was primitive, to say the least. The area had a total of 10 sites, one pit toilet, and a colony of fire ants that took up residence in the only available site. Fighting back/hiding imminent tears, I agreed to help Brian set up the tent and spent most of my time shooing away swarms of ants. Brian, too, saw that less than desirable location for what it was, and we opted to investigate other options. We fou…