Maisie

If you’ve looked at our Instagram account recently, you’ll see that Tyler and I got our puppy! Her name is Maisie and she is a Bernese Mountain Dog. She came from upstate New York and was the runt in a litter of seven. I guess the term, runt, in a Bernese litter is relative since she will still grow to be at least 70 lbs, but that’s not too big for us.

IMG_20140720_125112

Since Tyler’s working this week, I’ve quickly come to appreciate what it must feel like to be a new parent, because all of my time seems to be consumed by this little girl. Our first priority is house-training and her mini bladder pretty much necessitates that we take her outside every hour or so. At night, Tyler and I are up every two hours to two and a half hours taking her out to pee as well. Fortunately, the night time routine, while tiring, has gone fairly well and Maisie settles down fairly quickly to go back to sleep once we bring her back inside. Daytime hours have been trickier and we’ve had some accidents, but we’re going to see the vet and start puppy school later this week, which we are confident will help us both get into a smoother routine.

Despite house-training challenges (which we’re told will go on for a while), both Tyler and I feel really lucky to have such a good dog. As I sit and type this Maisie is lying at my feet taking a little nap. She is SUPER cute when she does this and she loves to snuggle when we sit on the floor beside her. When she’s awake, she is also super sweet. In fact, she loves to meet new people. Kids still scare her a little, but she’s all about the adults. We’ve been keeping a running tally and in the few days we’ve had her, she’s met over twenty-five new people! She’s done fabulously with almost every single one.

We’re sure that the next few weeks with continue to be challenging, but also very rewarding. It’s actually pretty funny how much joy we experience every time Maisie goes to the bathroom outside! Who would have thought?!

 

Jenny Lake

For the past 2 weeks, Jessica and I have been on the move a lot. After stopping in Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument, we arrived in Jackson, WY. We were both very excited to reach Jackson because it meant we would have about 10 days with minimal moving. We rented a house with some friends who flew in to meet us in Jackson. After living out of the back of our Prius for 2 weeks, we were pretty psyched to be able to unload our bins.

IMG_0181

After checking out the Jackson Hole Rodeo the night we arrived, we made plans for an easier hike on our first day. We drove to the Jenny Lake trailhead where we took a ferry across the incredible Jenny Lake.

IMG_0121     IMG_0119After traversing the lake (~2 miles) we docked and began the mile long trek past Hidden Falls to Inspiration point. We had a lot to get done in the morning so we were not able to start until the afternoon. By the time we arrived, it was VERY crowded. The Inspiration Point trail is short and spectacular, making it one of the busiest in the park. It was still gorgeous. Half way to Inspiration Point we reached Hidden Falls.

IMG_0138     IMG_0132IMG_0136

Our friends (Dan & Melissa and Teddy & Josie) stopped for the obligatory photo in front of the massive falls. This was the earliest in the summer that I had ever been to Jackson. We noticed right away that all of the rivers and falls were much more full than we were used to. So much water was pouring over the falls that we were getting misted the whole time, but it felt great on such a hot afternoon.

IMG_0146     IMG_0148The trail gets more exciting after the falls. It winds up a rocky slope climbing towards the edge a cliff overlooking the lake. The hike isn’t terribly hard, but in the summer heat and the alpine air, you definitely feel it. Eventually we reached Inspiration Point.

IMG_0154 IMG_0157 IMG_0160I have probably been to Inspiration Point a dozen times. Yet, I am always impressed. The muted hues of the valley slice a think line between the blue of the lake and the sky. You could sit on the rocks there and pass the whole day away just looking at the view.

IMG_0162 IMG_0163

After soaking in the views and downing some snacks, we started the trek back down to our cars. This time though, we skipped the ferry and walked the 2 miles around the lake. I can’t remember the last time I opted for the walk around the lake, but I highly recommend it when the trails are packed. After leaving the boat dock, the number of other hikers we passed dropped significantly, and the privacy allowed us to enjoy the views that popped up regularly through the lakeside brush.

IMG_0172

IMG_0168IMG_0178IMG_0186     IMG_0182

There is a reason the hikes around Jenny Lake are some of the most popular in the park. The views were incredible and any hike is always made more fun when it is done with friends.

Craters of the Moon

After leaving Seattle, missing Mt. Rainier, and a quick stop in Boise, Jessica and I continued our trek back east with a brief stop in Craters of the Moon National Monument.

IMG_0109Craters of the Moon is well-named for its otherworldly appearance. Alternating patches of chaotic black rock and reflective black sand make up the landscape nearly as far as you can see. The park has a loop road (and caves that we didn’t have time to stop at) where you can see many of the different terrains. There was even a large hill I could scramble up.

IMG_0085IMG_0091     IMG_0105

Craters of the Moon is a misnomer, though, for how it formed. The landscape is not made up of craters and doesn’t really have much to do with the lunar landscape–except in appearance. The monument is actually  is made up of cooled lava fields that escaped from a continental rift zone.

IMG_0086Stretching forces on the Earth’s crust opened up a tear (called a rift) in the land, and lava from the Earth’s mantle seeped out. Here the stretching of the land was thought to be caused by pressure from the nearby Yellowstone Caldera. As you may know, the continent moves westward over the Yellowstone hotspot. Had we wanted to visit this land ~10 million years ago, we would have had to look in Yellowstone National Park!

IMG_0107 IMG_0097 IMG_0082While we didn’t have as much time to explore the park as we wanted, it was still neat to drive the scenic loop and see the landscape. We hope to return someday to explore the caves and to sleep at the campground set out in the middle of this barren landscape. But for now, we must continue eastward!