Monday morning Spencer and I stuck with our training routine and went swimming. This time our friends Warren and Rachel came with us while my mom watched their baby. The pool was crowded. They have 3 lanes and there were already 6 or 7 swimmers there when the 4 of us arrived. We ended up trying to make the most of it in the lazy river, but eventually were able to get into the lap pool as some people left.
Later in the morning, Sarah Liggett came and picked me up so we could spend part of the day together. The mission was to explore 17-mile cave in Idaho Falls. Neither of us had ever been there. Unfortunately for Sarah, I dragged her to several stores before going to the caves. When you live in Bush Alaska, you have to take advantage of being around stores, even if you're not a fan of shopping. The caves were pretty cool, although I've never seen so much graffiti or such a complete graffiti job in my whole life. The entire cave was graffitied from the entrance to the back of the cave. It's been so long since I went caving that I forgot how important a good flashlight was. Neither Sarah nor I brought a substantial flashlight, so we could only just see the step in front of us, but it was still fun.
Tuesday was my mother's 65th birthday. In her words "65 and still alive". We started the day off really early by heading to Driggs at 4:30 am. We had heard about the hot air balloon races and wanted to see them. Tim and I went with my mom and Warren Powell and his daughter. Unfortunately at about 6:15 am it was announced that it was too windy and the races had been canceled. I came home and went back to bed. I figured the rest of the day would be much more enjoyable if I finished getting the rest of my sleep. I had several plans for the rest of the day, but most of them didn't happen. I did get a lot of good things finished though.
After our nap, Tim got going on his homework and I went to the temple. I decided about a week or two ago that I want to go to the temple every week that I am here. Since, I don't have much opportunity to go to the temple 9 months out of the year, I might as well take advantage of it while it's 5 minutes up the road. It was a really good thing I took a nap before going so that I was able to stay awake and alert (I had been a bit sleepy the previous visit). I love the peacefulness of the temple and the opportunity for quiet meditation.
Wednesday Spencer and I woke up early to go swimming once again. I did 17 laps (about 1/2 mile) without stopping. I had yet to do that this summer. I finished my laps in 25 minutes. This is a super slow time for an experienced swimmer, but it was a good time for me. I hope I can shave off a few more minutes before race day arrives.
When we got home we started packing for a trip to Utah. I sneaked away to the parade for a few minutes while we were waiting for Tim to get home from the gym. After 11:00 Spencer, Tim, and my mom left for Mapleton, Utah to party with some more of the family. We got to see Valerie's new apartment and then went to Gus's house. There were water games and then great food. Afterward we played some intense games of goaltimate. Finally we had some ice cream and lit off some fireworks.
We left the next morning. Mom and Spencer dropped Tim and I off in Montpelier, ID and then headed home so Spencer could go to work. Tim and I were meeting up with Warren and Rachel so we could go camping at Bear Lake. Originally we were going to spend Thursday out on the boat, but it was raining, so we decided to hold off. We set up our camp site and then went to the Paris ice caves. I had never been there, but they were pretty cool. Rachel and I were a bit adventurous and explored further into the cave than the men, but there wasn't nearly as far to go as there would be in a lava tube. (I'm definitely more accustomed to lava tube caves.)
Friday morning Warren made us a feast of pancakes, hash browns, fried eggs, and sausage. Fairly soon after breakfast we packed up our campsite so we could continue having fun elsewhere. Warren had some exploring in mind to do behind Rachel's mom's house, so we were gone on the four wheelers in the hills and valleys for 3 or 4 hours. It was actually a ton of fun to explore around and we did some fairly technically riding I think. We found a grove a trees in which to eat lunch. However, it is apparently a favorite spot of the cows too, because we were in the company of many cow pies. Tim and I came back with our faces and bodies caked in dirt. When we took off our sunglasses we looked like raccoons.
Our last bit of fun was going out on the boat on Bear Lake. Warren gave Tim and I a few rides on the tube. Rachel took a turn and then the boat broke right as Warren was about to go. Luckily we were able to flag down another boat and we got towed back to the dock. Tim and I took off for Rexburg shortly after. We made it home just after 11:00 pm.
Spending the entire day in the sun really must have tired us out. We slept until 10:30 am on Saturday morning. Once we got up, Tim started working on his homework and I worked on a few projects. We got our return plane tickets to Togiak. We will be flying back up on August 2nd.
Today Tim and I went to church in the Stonebridge Ward. That is where we went when we lived in Rexburg. It was a lot of fun to see everyone. It's amazing how much hasn't changed. I found myself sitting on the same bench or chair has I used to sit and the families all sat in the same places too. The biggest difference was that all our nursery kids were all 5 and 6 years old (makes sense) and our webelos were all a little more grown up.
Overall it has been a busy and fun week. No complaints here and we're only slightly sunburned.