Thursday, August 28, 2014

Harvest

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We've been gone off and on all summer, but our garden has been extremely self sufficient thanks to the new watering system that Erik installed in the spring. We leave, we come home, we have crazy amounts of vegetables waiting for us. It seems like we've done the least amount of work in our garden, but this has probably been our most successful year so far. Especially with our peppers. The weather hasn't hurt either...it's been unbelievably beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest.

So here are a few pictures from our harvest. I mean, how lucky are we?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Montana and Wyoming: The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons. The last leg of our Montana/Wyoming trip and oh my goodness had I been looking forward to this part of the journey. We left Yellowstone and before we knew it there they were. Giant mountain peaks silhouetted against a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds floating above them. Look, we're from Washington. We see a lot of mountains (we live near a volcano for crying out loud). But there is something absolutely remarkable about these mountains...we were all completely in awe.

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So we arrive at the cabin we were supposed to stay at for the next three nights, which is when our trip took a wrong turn. I'm choosing not to dwell on it here because it wasn't our fault and it was out of our control (and we got a full refund), but in the end we were only able to stay for one night. Our three days in Jackson Hole and the Tetons turned into one and a half, so we decided to make the best of it. I only snapped a handful of pictures in Jackson Hole, but I loved it there (like, I wanted to move there I loved it so much). Plus we finally found the moose we'd been trying to see since Yellowstone!

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After that we headed to the mountains. As you'll notice the sky was super hazy, and until 2 o'clock or so we couldn't see the Tetons at all. Turns out it was wildfire smoke. Back at home (in the Pacific Northwest) summertime is wildfire season, and all that smoke had followed us to the Tetons. We had also left Yellowstone a day before they declared the air quality in the park unhealthy due to the wildfires. So we got lucky there.

Anyway, our first stop was the Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration. I had found this little log chapel in a book about the Tetons, and I'd been kind of obsessed with seeing it. It was built in 1925, and behind the altar is a picture window with a view of the Cathedral Group, the tallest peaks of the Grand Tetons. It was the quietest, most serene place I have ever been. The yellow stained glass windows cast a warm glow over everything, and the log pews stood in perfect little rows on the plank floors. There's not much more I can say about that chapel...it was just a very spiritual place.

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The church sits on land once owned by the Menor family, who operated the ferry and general store on the property from the 1892 to 1918. They sold the homestead to Maud Noble, and she donated part of the land to the Episcopal church for the chapel. She also continued to run the General Store, the ferry, and opened a tea room in her cabin. My favorite part about the cabin/tea room is that in 1923 the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park (and future National Park Service director) Horace Albright met with local ranchers and business owners about creating Grand Teton National Park.

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The smoke seemed to be getting worse and the time was getting later, so we headed along the scenic trail to Jenny Lake, taking pictures and soaking in the beauty of the mountains before it got too hazy or dark to see them.

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I love to travel, and being able to carry the places I've seen with me makes my life feel infinitely richer and more blessed. Our travels through the Grand Tetons in particularly were very spiritual for me because I feel closest to God in wide open spaces, among beautiful trees, and where I can see mountains rise up into smoky skies. And in old log churches where generations of people have come for peace. The beauty of this place in particular will stay with me always.

And even though we had to cut our time short in Jackson Hole, we were able to spend a couple days meandering home through Idaho. We drove through fields of windmills, spent time in hotel swimming pools, found the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, and watched the Mariners while drinking cocoa and eating cookies. Oh, and we were lucky enough to stumble upon this beautiful sunset...

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Some things work out better when they don't go as planned.