Instead of sending a Christmas letter with our cards this year, I decided to post our traditional letter into a blog post so pictures could be added which will make a much more interesting peek into the wonderful things we experienced this year of 2012. The pictures, for the most part, are new ones not included in any other posts or blogs (before now) so I hope you enjoy!
I got to exercise my privilege as a grandmother by traveling to Heather and Keith’s to help out with their new baby and play with Kayla!
The above image won 2nd place in “People” at SVCC’s Salon judging.
Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park – While it was snowy and cold outside, the Gaiser Conservatory was balmy and warm inside. We paid a visit and boosted our winter blues.
In February we drove to Kennewick, WA to visit our daughter Lisa and her family. The weather
is always more mild there than in Spokane. On the drive home I took at picture of a farm. I was impressed with how incredibly organized it looked against the impending rain clouds.
In March we remodeled our bathroom with the help of some long-time friends and I still LOVE my bathroom. And Gayle and Cory also added some built in shelves in our storage room in the basement. It is a great addition! At the end of the month, we took a trip to visit family for some very happy occasions. Our grandson Coleman was going to be baptized, and baby Evan was going to be blessed. Although they live in different cities, arrangements were made so these ordinances could take place at the same meetinghouse so friends and family could attend both. We were grateful we could be there for both.
We were also able to go to Tess’s dance studio’s dress rehearsal the day before, which was a treat for us since we normally are not there for her recitals.
We visited with my parents who live in the area. Their health did not allow them to join us at the Church or dance studio, and we paid them a home visit with Heather and Keith and children. I believe that this was the first time that they had seen their newest great grand-child.
We also got to spend some time with Trevor and Karen as well as Eric and Penny. We love being with our children and grandchildren and miss them so much when we have to go home.
Mother’s Day is in May, and whenever possible I love being with my children if possible. We took a day trip to Walla Walla on Saturday for the hot air balloon festival with our daughter Lisa and three grand-daughters. Sunday night I took a self-portrait wearing the corsage that Gayle gave me – a tradition that he has done for many years. I have a beautiful wreath made from years of dried corsages. What a wonderful thing it is to be a mother. I can’t think of any other thing I have done in my life that brings me greater joy than to have raised seven beautiful children. And now with 15 grandchildren we are very blessed.
At the end of May we took a trip to Steptoe Butte, which is located in the southeast corner of Washington State. Photographers come from all over the world to photograph this area, and this was our first trip there, a long time in coming, in spite of the short distance from us. We found it to be beautiful in its own way, and want to share a few of the pictures I took that day.
We celebrated our anniversary by going to one of our favorite places on earth, Glacier National Park. We had planned this for months, knew it might be cold and prepared accordingly for tent camping. We stayed at the KOA near the West Entrance. We planned to hike “The Garden Wall,” and found out it was not possible due to high levels of snow – the trail was completely covered. Very disappointed we decided on the Cracker Lake Hike after talking with a ranger.
It was quite overcast the day we planned our 6 mile hike to Cracker Lake, and it started to drizzle. We had ponchos to keep us and our gear dry, so the rain did not deter us.
This trail is shared by the trail riders (horses) and one group told us to watch for the Grizzly bears on the rock ledges we would hike past. Gayle spotted them.
They were much farther away than what this appears. I cropped this image for a closer look. The picture below shows one of the most challenging places of the hike. The trail led into thick brush to the right or hike into the freezing water. One had to get over the boulder. Gayle didn’t have too much difficulty but I did; with all my camera equipment I was completely nervous. Finally I made it with Gayle’s encouragement, and we crossed this makeshift bridge with a light rain falling. Others coming back warned us there was an icefield that one had to cross to get to Cracker Lake, and it was getting slick with the rain.
This is what the ice field looked like when we arrived to the place. Cracker Lake was just beyond the ice and snow, from what we understood, but a thick fog was settling in, it was still drizzling rain, and we didn’t feel comfortable crossing it. If one slipped, it was a long way down on the right with a raging creek to greet you. So we rested there a short while and ate some snacks to regain some energy, and turned around.
On our way back, the dirt trail turned to a slippery sloppy mess of a trail. Gayle fell down twice, and I did once. We were a sight for sore eyes when we got back!!
By the time the trail was a sloppy mess, my camera was inside the bag under my poncho and not coming out. And that is the end of our adventure to Cracker Lake!
In July we were on our way for another trip. This time the plan was to spend about 4 days in the Grand Tetons and then attend a family reunion in Idaho. While en route, we learned that Gayle’s aunt had passed away. We changed our plans and spent two days in the tetons, drove to Utah to attend the funeral, then prepared for the family reunion in Idaho. In the tetons we found a nice campsite at the coveted Jenny Lake Campground. Two days, two hikes: Leigh Lake in search of reflections in water, and the more strenuous Lake Solitude up Cascade Canyon. It is hard to believe we were there only two days because we filled the time to the max. Hundreds of pictures later, we were on the road again. Here is one of the images that I took which I absolutely love, on our way to Leigh Lake.
We left the Tetons with the hope of returning someday soon to explore and photograph the beauty.
We attended the funeral of Gayle’s Aunt Hannah in Utah and join with many family members who had traveled many miles to be there. Family we had not seen for years, it was wonderful to see them, even if only for a few short hours.
On to the 3 day Evans Family Reunion at Ideal Beach Resort! I wish that I could name each one here, and share the reasons that I love each one.
We had a wonderful time together!
It was wonderful to have my parents here with us at this place and time. All too quickly we had to say “Good-bye.” We traveled south and spent a few more days with daughters Heather and Jennie before we all had to separate. Highlights of those days were a visit to the Natural History Museum, swimming, and a visit to The Creamery.
What a wonderful vacation we had! On the way home, I amused myself by taking pictures of the Montana sky as it was filled with wonderful cloud formations for miles and miles. Back home in Washington, we had a garden of weeds that needed our immediate attention! Cory did well harvesting the several zucchini plants in our absence and we came home to a pile that he had not consumed. Got caught up with it all, and we traveled back to Kennewick to help Lisa pack up. With nearly everything in boxes, the reality hit hard. They were really moving, and I savored every minute I could spend with them. The Grange Park in Kennewick is home to the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden, where over 25 gardens are organized along sidewalks and paths, including a rose garden with over 500 varieties. This has been a favorite spot to photograph flowers and grandchildren.
The month began with a visit from Lisa, Hung, Corbyn, Paige, and Dakota. Hung had flown back to drive the moving truck and they were on their way to their new home South Dakota. We spent the day at Silverwood Theme Park on Saturday, and by early Monday morning they were on the road.
I really like Silverwood Themepark. I never cease to be amazed at their variety of flowers and carefully landscaped garden beds. It is clean and a lot of fun for family entertainment.
In Mid August we visited Palouse State Park, which brags to have one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state of Washington, falling nearly 200 feet. We knew that in late summer the falls would not be roaring like it would in spring, but
wanted to go anyway at this time. We traveled through small farming towns instead of the interstate, and again was reminded of the beauty of the rolling hills creating a quilted tapestry on the landscape. The weather was the hottest week-end of the summer- around 100 degrees. A fire broke out in the area and the KOA campground where we stayed lost their electricity for about 8 hours. In spite of that we had a great time, visiting Dayton, a charming town. There we visited the site where Lewis and Clark and company had camped. Life -sized bronze replicas of all the individuals in a field took our minds back to a time we can only read about in history books. We visited the historic Dayton Depot, the oldest surviving train depot in Washington. Beautifully restored, it is now a museum. We saw many antiques, including a “dynamite-proof” safe.
We visited Palouse Falls State Park twice: at the crack of dawn before any of our fellow campers saw the light of day, and in the evening before sunset. The latter produced the best light for photographing, but we enjoyed both times, hiking around the perimeter on the top to explore the views and even hiked down into the canyon. One other place worth mentioning was our visit to Little Goose Dam. The evening light cast a warm glow on the golden weeds and rocks.
By the end of August our garden kept us very busy. We had all the tomatoes, green peppers, green beans, and zucchini that we could possibly want, and some was shared, some preserved.
We went on our last camping trip of the year to celebrate Gayle’s birthday in Leavenworth, Washington during OktoberFest. A little nervous to camp that late in the season, it actually worked out very well in spite of some cool weather and rain. We always stay at the KOA campground in Leavenworth, but this time we were assigned a camping spot in a section that we had never been to before and we were very pleasantly surprised. It was very large, set back from the road, very large trees gave privacy, and behind us was a hill leading down to the river! We were well equipped and very comfortable. Highlights included playing the 18 hole game of golf on the beautiful Enzian putting course, shopping, meandering through the photography displays on Front Street, and just hanging out at our beautiful camp spot.
Not a highlight of my year, but a first and cause for concern was when the musicians of the Spokane Symphony decided to strike on Nov. 2nd. Gratefully it ended about 4 weeks later, but during that period of time, the workload in the Box Office heightened a great deal, something we are still working through. During this period, I learned how much this orchestra means to the community! This year’s theme “Passion Now Playing,” rings true not only of the musicians on stage but also of the audience in Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.
December was extremely busy with concerts and trying to prepare for Christmas, and now is a time of reflection. I am grateful for the opportunities we had, the memories we created, and the blessings from Heaven. I know that we all, the human race, are loved by our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ. This beautiful earth was created for our enjoyment, and I love sharing the beauty I see in nature and people through my photography. Thanks for reading my post! Gayle and I wish you all a new year full of love and joy!