Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wind + Sand =

This past weekend we trekked down to Great Sand Dunes National Park with four other couples from church-- Erik & Missy Jo Fisk, Jarrod & Amy Hanson, KC & Meg Leppke, and Mark & Kristin Whitney. Bret & I bolted out of Denver as early as we could on Friday (which is, of course, not that early once we got Elsa dropped off at the vet and got the car packed up with everything but the kitchen sink), and arrived to the campsite in time to enjoy a leisurely lunch before the rest of the crew trickled into the park.

I must say, the word I think best describes the Dunes is "surreal". Pictures do not do justice to the awesomeness of what looks like a chunk of the Sahara, dropped down into southern Colorado, amongst ten 14,000 foot peaks. One of the first orders of business when everyone arrived (and after a delicious spaghetti dinner) was to walk down to the Dunes and stick our toes in the sand. (Luckily, it was late enough in the day that the sand had cooled from its afternoon temperature of 140 degrees!)

Unfortunately, we didn't realize what a hike it was from our campsite down to the foot of the Dunes, so Erik sought the help of some random folks in the parking lot to take him back to our site, where he could grab his car and come back for us. Except that he didn't tell us. So we thought he might be missing. (Could he be hiding in the tourist van full of very old asian men? Did he catch a ride on the back of a deer?) Survivor-style, Mark made use of the tools at our disposal in an effort to find our lost friend.....
Needless to say, we were "rescued". And for the rest of the weekend, Erik was under strict orders to tell us specifically where he was going to be at all times.

The next morning, after a yummy breakfast of pancakes, sausage and bacon, the crew headed out for a short hike while I stayed behind with my flashcards. While Friday had been hot and sticky, Saturday was the complete opposite...quite chilly for the first part of the day and WINDY. The strong winds came through to remind us how the Dunes were formed in the first place, I suppose. At any rate, it made eating a challenge for those who are not fond of the taste of sand, and left us feeling exfoliated.

In the evening, I joined the crew for a hike up to Zapata Falls, just outside the park. The hike itself was nothing to write home about, but 1/2 a mile in, we hit a very chilly, quickly flowing stream. For those who didn't mind numb toes (all of us), it was a quick hike up stream and into a little cave to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous Falls.

Bret, Jarrod and Amy headed into the cave.

Zapata Falls

Of course, not everyone wanted to take a dip in the freezing cold water. That would just be my adventurous husband.....

After carefully navigating our way back to the trail, we headed back to the campsite to bundle up by the fire, have another delicious meal (followed by the necessary s'mores) and play some games (boys against girls catchphrase and Battle of the Sexes).

Overall it was an awesome trip with some great new friends. We look forward to doing some more camping before the weather chills in the mountains....but I think it will wait until after the Bar.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Going on a Camping Trip and I'm Taking....

A -- about 200 Flashcards
B -- binder weighing approximately 12 lbs.
C -- Conviser's Mini Review
Yes, in what can only be called a window of temporary insanity, I agreed to go on a weekend camping trip 2 and a half weeks before the Bar Exam. My rationale? Some fresh air will do me good, since I plan to spend every day in between our return and July 29th breathing the air of the law library.
And maybe, just maybe, being surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of Colorado (Great Sand Dunes National Park, in particular) will make me work even harder to impress the Colorado Bar Examiners??
Please pray that Bears do not eat my flashcards.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Celebrating our Rights of Travel & Assembly (or, Happy Birthday, America!)

Yesterday (the 4th of July), I happily took the day off from studying for the Bar to enjoy some fresh air and good company. We woke up bright and early and ventured out to Bailey, CO to hike part of the Lost Creek Wilderness Trail with our friends The Whitneys (Kristen & Mark). It was AWESOME and exactly what I needed after 6 weeks of sitting in class and at the dining room table with my head in books.

For the evening, we were invited to the Leppkes' house to celebrate Independence Day with a BBQ on the lovely deck built by the men-folk of our circle of friends. (Not surprisingly, the deck withstood it's first of many celebrations.) In typical Lewis fashion, we couldn't take a simple store-bought dessert. Oh no, it had to be something straight from our kitchen. After searching for something light and festive, we settled on a Lemon Curd Berry Trifle that, I must say, was easy enough to make between a 6-mile hike and a BBQ AND delicious! Although I don't have to, I'll go ahead and tell you that we skipped the step of making out own lemon curd and bought jars of lemon curd from the store. I fully intend to try this recipe again this summer and make our own lemon curd, but if you're looking for a quick dessert that looks like it could've taken you all day, this is a good one.

The BBQ itself was great fun, but we always have a good time with the Leppkes, Fisks and Whitneys. :)

(Our attempt at Mexican Train Dominoes. Turns out there are too many rules for Bret.)