July: Wood working, 22, Pecos River, and Mt Baldy

12:25 PM

Seeing as I am quite far behind, I am going to let the pictures do most of the storytelling. We got home from visiting family over July 4th weekend and filled the rest of the month with more excitement in New Mexico.

We decided to take a weekend off of travel and stay home and build an end table instead. It was our first time using the power tools I had gotten Spence for Christmas. This was also our first real wood-working project, and I must say it turned out mighty fine. We only had to unscrew the bottom shelf once, because we put in the wrong pieces.

Spencer sawed the boards down to size, we both hammered and beat the heck out of them to give them a weathered look, and I sanded them. The kreg jig we bought came in handy in screwing the boards together. We used a C clamp to hold them to our kitchen table which we had brought outside to work on. I then held the second board in place to the clamped first while Spencer would drill. After two days, it was ready for me to apply the primer and stain. I ended up painting on three coats to get it as dark as we wanted. It is our favorite piece of furniture and sits beside our couch in our living room, waiting to be accompanied by a twin.

Later, we found out that using the extension cord meant for Christmas decorations (only extension cord we had) for power tools wasn't the best idea. It worked well though, and we did not see anything wrong with it until we went to cut Spencer's hair on our porch a couple weeks later and it didn't work. Oops.

July is also my birth month and this year I leveled up to twenty-two. We both worked that day, but when Spencer arrived home, he had roses to hand to me and make my day. I immediately put them in a vase to set on our new table, and it adorned it perfectly. This hero of mine had also woken up early before work to get a dinner of mashed potatoes and barbecued wings started in crock pots (also, made cinnamon rolls for breakfast). After feasting on that, he blessed me with a gorgeous turquoise ring he had picked out at a local jewelers. This guy pays attention when I mention wanting something, let me tell you. He also replaced my copy of Dennis Prager's book "Still the Best Hope" which I had stolen out of my car earlier this year. I am one lucky lady.

That weekend we celebrated more at Pecos River, about an hour and half drive south. We drove on a bumpy dirt road alongside the river for a little ways until we came to a secluded spot away from most of the noise. Our lungs got a workout blowing up the floaties we bought at Walmart. They were on sale because summer is supposed to be over (cruel joke). It was nice to cool down, but the rivers here are sub-par compared to The American. Spencer donned snorkeling gear and searched for lost treasures, but came up short as he could hardly see through the water. He did find a dead turtle, though.

The following weekend we drove up to Santa Fe to do some backpacking. This was the first time we had gone together. Really the first time for us period, if you don't count the time I went for Girl's Camp. Although I count it, as I believe I earned it carrying that heavy load while that tiny.

The first day we hiked around 7 miles, mostly all uphill. Starting out the first day, we thought we had an idea what we were getting ourselves in to as we passed people passed out on the picnic tables next to the trail head, complaining about how tight their tush was. Immediately the trail started out as a straight uphill climb.

Mount Baldy was our destination, and I must say, this is probably prettier than Nogal Peak. The downside is that everybody else thinks so, too, thus a lot more people. We didn't start until after noon on Saturday, so we didn't make it up Baldy, but we went past it to camp below about a half mile away from Lake Katherine. We didn't plan on going as far as we did the first day, but we didn't want to stop near the creek (the water source) as it was not too far in and we wanted to make it farther on day one.

Figuring that we could camp near Baldy, we trekked on, only to discover that there were no flat, protected areas to pitch a tent. Exhausted, at the base of Baldy, we toyed with the idea of turning back for a place to camp, but didn't want to lose our progress. Onward we went, down the other side, with the idea in mind to make it to Lake Katherine as to have a water source. I was too tired to make it that far, starving, and daylight was waning. We managed to find a spot off the trail not too much farther down, clear enough for our small tent. While Spencer worked on setting it up, I took out the backpacking stove and boiled water for macaroni and cheese. Being cautious, as we didn't know how much water we would need/have, we saved the leftover noodle water in our water bottle for use the following morning to boil for oatmeal.

That night we not only froze in our cheap, thin Walmart sleeping bags, but we tossed and turned over our 1/4" blue pads. Combine that with the worst headache I've had from the elevation, and it was a terrible nights sleep (Mt Baldy is 12,632 ft). I swore through the entire night that we would never backpack again. Haha!

We woke up the next morning not quite refreshed, but ready to head back. At the saddle of the mountain, we debated not even going up to Baldy's peak, as we were exhausted and extremely sore. But with aching bodies, we told ourselves that we didn't come all this way only to let the mountain defeat us. It was about a mile straight up from the saddle point. We hid our largest bag in some trees at the base before making the climb. Our legs eventually brought us to the peak, and it was glorious! Many people don't know you can go a little extra distance where you can overlook Lake Katherine, but we had read about it previously and made sure to see it. It was beautiful and well worth it! This is why we love hiking. Views like that will last a lifetime, too, thanks to pictures we are able to take. 

Marmots own the peak; they were everywhere! We didn't know what they were at the time, they looked like huge groundhogs. Basically, they are giant squirrels. Spencer enjoyed giving one a scare and ruined the ecosystem by feeding a chipmunk.

After soaking in the views, we descended the 7 miles 2,322 feet to the parking lot. Our poles assisted us tremendously down the slippery parts of the hill. In total we had hiked around 15 miles over the weekend. We learned that heavy packs make quite the difference in the progress one is able to make. The last half mile the first day, while I was dying, Spencer offered to carry my pack on top of his. Um, is this man crazy? Honestly, this guy... I felt like such a weakling. Also, it made me appreciate my husband even more. He was a trooper the whole time. What mountain?

Since then, we have bought better pads and a backpacking pillow. We are also on the hunt for warmer sleeping bags. The trick is finding warm sleeping bags that don't break the bank or the back. Despite our mixed feelings over backpacking, we loved it (afterwards) and are dying to do some more.

Wow, okay, so I ended up going in to more detail than planned. But really, I can't get away with less, as this is substituting for our hand-written journal that I've been so bad at keeping up with lately. So I will have to finish up July next time, which will include our Grand Canyon trip!

Wood working:

Kaley's 22nd Birthday:

He even dressed up for me...

Gift from my parents.
 Pecos River:

My fish.

After finding a dragonfly struggling in the river, he tried to drown it more, then had a change of heart and tried rescuing it and blowing the water off. Boys will be...

 Mount Baldy:

So this was sad and hilarious... The tread of Spencer's new hiking shoes came off and he had to duct tape and tie it with para-cord together on our hike.

Setting up camp.

Dinner time.

My mountain man.

The saddle where we came from.

It was good knowing you, Love.

On top of Baldy, overlooking Lake Katherine.

Love you all!

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  1. Laurie Barrow8/31/15, 1:28 PM

    Love living all your adventures with you--it makes missing you guys a bit more bearable!
    Love & Hugs--

  2. Love you memories and pictures. luv g & g Macy


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