Whew. Is it just me or is this year completely flying by? Kenny and I have decided that everyone is right when they say the older you get the faster time seems to go. Nonetheless, 2015 has been very good to us! Obviously Europe was our big trip of the year, but I’m taking a little break from my Europe blogging to update the other big trips we just got home from. Not only did we celebrate our two year wedding anniversary on July 11th –
|| here’s a side gallery of our camping in Hope Valley ||
but we also celebrated BOTH of our dads gettin hitched! Love was in the air for the month of July! Our father’s both decided on some non traditional ways of doing things; we took a family moon up to British Columbia, Canada for some wilderness relaxation with the newlywed Tavener’s annnd took a road trip for my pop’s destination wedding under an arch in Arches National park in Moab, Utah. Spending back to back vacations in two of our favorite places on earth makes for a pretty awesome mid year celebration! Here’s the galleries of how we welcomed our dads into the married club! Enjoy!
We started our trip on a Saturday morning when Ken and Michele got married in a sweet ceremony at our church with a little coffee reception afterwards. I don’t have any pics yet of the cutie bride and groom – but I got to stand up as a little bridesmaid with my SIL and my new sis•in•law Rachel.
That afternoon around four, we headed for the airport and to our surprise, we got to meet one of my all time favorite celebs: MATTHEW GRAY GUBLER!
If ya’ll don’t know who he is, he is from my favorite show, Criminal Minds, and probably one of the only celebs I would ever even care about meeting! Even Kenny has a little crush on him and we were both so stoked that we happened to run into him. He was such a gem of a dude and even came over to our table to meet our family. This was the coolest way to start our little journey. When we said our goodbyes to him we headed for the plane and went from Reno → Portland → Vancouver (stayed the night) → Fort Nelson → Big Nine Outfitters.
| Big Nine Outfitters, British Columbia, Canada | July 18 – 27 |
Big Nine Outfitters
is a hunting camp that sits in Northern British Columbia, within 15,000 miles of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Kenny, Stevie, and their dad have all been here once before when the kids were younger, but this was mine and the rest of my new fam’s first time there. When we flew into Fort Nelson, we hopped a little commuter plane and traveled 85 miles south into Big Nine. They had been having a hot, dry summer up until the day we flew in and it poured on us the entire time! Which made for a little different trip than what we were expecting – especially since the airline forgot to put three of our bags on our plane with us down in Vancouver. So we were without rain gear and I was without boots until our third day – but we tried to make due. We spent the first couple of days indoors waiting for our bags, and caught up on some sleep and reading by the fire. 🙂 We split our time between the main Base Camp and Blue Lakes camp – one of the smaller camps around the valley. We got to do lots of fun things at both – even took a horseback ride into the mountains one day and hiked up the backside of our camp another. At both, we saw lots of wild animals – elk, moose, sheep, and even saw a pack of wolves at the lake near our cabin!
I got to co-pilot our mini plane coming into camp!
Each camp had a wood burning hot tub that we enjoyed almost every day! The sun doesn’t go down until around eleven, and even then it doesn’t ever really get super dark so we got to utilize a lot more hours during the day.
My cute horse, Hornet.
Our cute cabin at Blue Lakes.
We went fishing a few times in Blue Lakes and collectively all caught over 60 fish!
We had lunch at the top of our hike overlooking all the valleys around us.
And of course we had to have a big ole family bonfire on our last day here!
When it was time to say goodbye to Big Nine, we headed for an overnight in Vancouver. We had just enough time to head to town for dinner in the Olympic Village and see a little glimpse of the city. I also happened to lose my SECOND journal from our Europe trip so that made for a nice little detour before heading home for good.
Ken stayed up in B.C. for another couple weeks so he could hunt and ended up getting his Grand Slam – all four species of Northern American Big Horn Sheep!
When we touched down in Reno, in two hours we packed up the car, grabbed some dinner, and headed East for Moab!
| Moab, Utah | July 28 – August 5 |
When my dad and Michele started planning their wedding, there was never a question that they would get married in Moab. My dad and I started taking road trips all over Utah, Colorado, and Arizona when I was in elementary school. We would camp along the way, finding places in the middle of nowhere to pitch our tent and rock crawl in our Jeep. We also found some of our favorite little towns, like Moab, on our journeys. Moab has always been the one we spend the most time at and my dad has spent every birthday since our first trip here in this cute little four wheeling town. When I was in high school and my sisters were about 2, we took our first family road trip here with Kenny, Michele, and the girls and they too fell in love with the beautiful red rocks and deep, vast canyons that surrounded us. My dad and Michele were so excited to have the rest of our family experience Moab for themselves so we celebrated for the entire week at all our favorite spots around town. When we came into town around 8 am on Tuesday morning, we headed for our condo that we rented out for the week at Moab Springs Ranch
. This was so perfect for all our family coming in from out of town because it’s a little collection of privately owned vacation rentals set up in 4 rows with a big grassy area in the middle where everyone could congregate. Each house had a patio with a BBQ so we spent our nights enjoying each others company and grilling up a big meal to eat together on the grass. We dropped all our stuff of and got ready for camping the next morning, which is where all the fun began. There was lots of beers to be had from Moab Brewery
, about 30 friends and family spread out across our campsites, ribs that my dad and Michele’s neighbors cooked up in their smoker, good conversation, and lots of pictures of the night sky!
When we came back from camping, it was time to get ready for all the wedding shenanigans! We had to get some coffee at one of our favorite coffee shops, Moab Coffee Roasters
and headed to the venue to decorate for the reception at The Broken Oar
My dad and Michele met at the Human Bean in Reno, a little coffee shop that serves chocolate covered espresso beans on the top of all their drinks. For favors, they got some of the chocolate covered espresso beans and wrote a little note on the jars that said, “thank you for BEAN here” 🙂
As their guestbook, they gathered a bunch of postcards and had people sign the backs!
And Michele made all our bouquets!
The ceremony happened in Arches National Park, at Skyline Arch, and it was the most perfect scenery we could have asked for. It was even more special that Kenny got to officiate their ceremony!
The next couple of days we spent hanging out around Moab, shopping the streets and visiting some of the national parks around the area, like Dead Horse Point
, where we even recreated a family photo from our trip a couple years ago.
When everyone headed home on Sunday, we had breakfast with the newlywed’s at our favorite breakfast joint, the Jailhouse Cafe and said our goodbyes.
Kenny, Stevie, and I had planned on going camping for the next 3 days and had found a cute little campsite within Canyonlands National Park
. We hiked around for a bit while searching and found a pretty cool lookout in the Needles district along with some petroglyphs tucked away in a rock.
After a series of unfortunate events – such as our tent breaking and being ran out of canyonlands by the flash flooding, we spent our first night sleeping in the car. We got up the next morning determined to not let our awful night of sleep and discouraged attitudes ruin our trip so we headed back into Arches to hike to Delicate Arch, and it was extremely worth it.
I also showed Stevie and Kenny one of my favorite arches, Double Arch, and we hung out and ate lunch in Arches before heading back out to find a new campsite.
We found a cute little place tucked next to the Colorado River, where we set up shop and bathed in the river to refresh. We had also gone back to town to get some food and made some brats and burritos for dinner, and even cooked up some s’mores for dessert.
The entire evening the rain clouds had seemed to pass by us, until about 10 when it started to flash flood again. I have never seen three people pack up a campsite so fast in my life! We decided we were probably not going to be able to camp that night anymore so we headed back to Moab and found the only place open, the Lazy Lizard Hostel
. We got the ONLY room available, a little cabin that we crashed in for the night. The next morning, we decided we should probably not continue trying to camp given the luck we had been having and hit the road for Salt Lake. Had a quick break for lunch and finally headed home. Although it wasn’t our ideal ending, it made for a pretty good laugh on our way back!
Not only was this such a nice little vacation for the middle of the year, but it was even sweeter that we got to celebrate both of our father’s uniting with their brides. We will absolutely be back to discover more of British Columbia and we will continue to explore more parts of our neighboring state; continuing to make memories in two of our favorite places.
We hope you get to see some of these amazing places in your lifetime, they are surely ones not to miss!!
We’ll be back to Europe on the next post, thanks for stopping in to see what we’ve been up to!
The Traveling Taveners