Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Visions of the Southwest~ Hiking One of the World's Seven Wonders: Grand Canyon National Park ~ WW


Welcome friends~

Thanks for visiting for  my continuing series
around the amazing and  beautiful spots we
explored during our trek Out West last month!
As I'm sure many of YOU feel as well,
it's our opinion that  you can't just visit 
a place of historic and epic grandeur,
a wonder of the world, for heaven's sake,
 by glancing over a turn - out in the road.
Even a few turn - outs.
No way.
You must venture within.
Hike down into it.
Even if 22 summers ago 
("B.C.," -  you know what that means, right?)
 July 31, of '92, 
to be exact 
you and your hubby hiked rim to river and back 
In. One. Day.
GAH!
That's 9.2 miles each way
and an elevation of over 5,000 feet on the
 Bright Angel Trail of the South Rim.
And you almost, literally, almost, died of heatstroke.
I. Kid. You. Not.
And didja click that link above for the trail??
Well, go back there guys....
notice how backpacker.com labels
The Bright Angel 
"One of America's Most Dangerous Trails?'
Yeah.

Remember  how the pain of childbirth 
is shoved back into the deep recesses
of your brain and subsequent 
pregnancies occur and you're thrilled
and blessed and when reality sets in about what you need
endure in 40 weeks, you think, 
It wasn't that bad last time.....
<cough>
So, yeah, he talked me into it.
Again.
We're 22 years older
and less in shape.
( !! ) 
But.....this time around,
we "only" hiked halfway down.
Just 4.6 miles from the South Rim to Indian Gardens.
Okay, doable, right?
Welllllllll.....down,  yes.
Up, ummmmm, that's another story.
We made it.
Yes, we did.
However, the only way I got out 
was with the constant encouragement
of my hubby and boys with all the rah rah
Look at her go.
You can do it.
We're almost there Mom.
Okay, don't lie to me.
We're SO NOT almost there guys.

Telling and somewhat scary sign, 
wouldn't you say?
 We spotted it on the way down
and did not capture it!
So this photo credit
and my friend, Monica, for telling me I could find it online!


And love?
Love is.........
as you traverse upward,
the sun is high, albeit thankfully, behind clouds,
the walls of the Canyon are radiating heat,
temps are low 90s now
and you realize you're hiking through the desert to boot,
your hubby dumps  his
 liter bottle of water on your head 
with 1.5 miles to go to ascend and
tells how great you look,
even though you're sweat streaked, 
crying, planning  aloud where you'll throw up in the
 shade ofthe switchback up ahead,
borderline panicked about AGAIN 
being stuck in the Canyon and 
how on Earth did I let you talk me into this?
Am I nuts?

Think we had an awful time, given all this crazy talk?
Well, quite the contrary.
We had an amazing time.
It was exhilarating, 
It was gorgeous.

It was one of those corny, one-with-nature times
of our lives that will never happen again.
We're on the same trail walked by Hopi and Navajo  thousands of years ago.
Where photographers wait patiently for just the right moment, 
the right lighting,
the right angle of sun and shadow for that perfect picture.
And yet, The Grand Canon cannot be the subject of an imperfect picture.

It is true perfection.
It is the one place where so many hope to go One Day. 
Our God set in motion the forces,
millions of years ago,
~~millions~~
 which carved and created and perfected
one of the most jaw dropping and
Grandest of spectacles on the planet.
And we are here, in this moment,
living it.
What a time to be alive.
To revel in the splendor and in
His creation.


So, our hike?
Here goes~~ We left the South Rim at about 4:40 AM  at 49 degrees F
to beat the heat and sun.
Turns out we weren't actually
 treated to the amazing show of nature
because of heavy cloud coverage,
sunset over the Grand Canyon,
even more stunning and unique as seen from below the rim

The most amazing site ever.
'Really.
But we were spared super-heat in early morn!





We made it  halfway to the Colorado River!

These shots were taken from Plataea Point,
which is 1.5 miles striaght out over the Colorado:

 Yup, that's the mighty Colorado,
in these shots above and below~~

~Ascending~~

 Look who we found on the trail~



Yeah, smiling!
Boy, were we hotttttttt!
And weary!
But we did it!!

Later that day~

A kiva on the East Rim

Rewarded with an amazing sunset that night!



That night~~
campfire!
roasting hot dogs!
melting s'mores!
The quiet and peace of the Desert View Campground!
Though in all honesty the rain,
or shall I say, monsoon,
both nights we camped at the Canyon was less than, 
well, convenient,  given our accommodations.
When your room has nylon sides and 
you're on the ground most of the time,
it's really perfect.
Throw in temps in the high 40s and driving rain at a serious,
almost horizontal angle
and well,
not-so-perfect.
But by morning and then once we were all dried out,
it was all fine.




The next day,
stiff and sore, but excited to do a little more exploring.....
the boys are sworn in as Junior Rangers!



A cool shirt at The Village gift shop........

The historic El Tovar Hotel by the South Rim

What a trip,
what an experience...

It's truly hard to describe  how epic and 
well, grand,  it really was.

For my other posts in my 
 Visions of the Southwest series,
you might like to click to~~~ 




Riding the Rapids with 
Mountain Waters Rafting



 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time here at my home on the web!

Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.
I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,

~Chris

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baking and Literature and Pi ~ Oh My! 6 Fun Steps from our Unit Study on Circumference ~

"Nature is an infinite sphere whose center
 is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere."
~Blaise Pascal,
seventeenth century French 
mathematician, physicist and philosopher

pencildivider

Welcome friends, to my little corner of the web!
In June, we completed a unit study on the topic
of circumference and I realized with wrapping the year
and preparing for our family travels,
 that I've yet to blog it---
for fun and for any who might find it a tad useful-----!
 Though the new school year's just about upon us
and we're thinking schoolroom set up
and curriculum choices,
here's our study......
For those mathletes among us who may be interested in  
 how we had fun bringing all things pi to life.

pencildivider

For those of you who've not ventured into pi territory recently,
here's a refresher:
The number Pi is the ratio of the circumference 
of a circle to its diameter. 

The value of Pi is approximately
 3.14159265358979323846 or 22/7.

Sound familiar?
Sure it does!
Now let's have some fun....

1. Topic intro and derivatives~
We primarily discussed this brand new word, 'circumference,' in terms of its 
potential root. What word it sounds like, may be derived from, etc.
Yes, 'circle' can be derived and we know we're embarking on a study within geometry
of their size, measurements and all generally all things circular.

pencildivider

2. Literature link~
Living books are huge around here. Our shelves, our window sills, our baskets
 strewn around the floor, in corners,
 by sofas and on counters are bursting with themed books.  
I know you'll agree that there's no better way to 
 begin learning a  new topic of study than
 by living it through literature and either extrapolating a deeper meaning
 through discussion or simply  learning this new topic, 
whether it be the Napoleon's demise, adverbs,  
the respiratory system or, in this case,  circumference.
Do you know  Cindy Neuschwander's clever mathematical titles? We adore her
 books for our math unit studies!  

We read and reread  Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi.
 Initially, just to enjoy and then, read  in succession,
 to jot in math notebooks, the following:
 the references to circumference usage,
 the "new" vocabulary, 
and to literally  write the formulas,
 working them with Radius, son of Sir Cumference, 
as he frantically follows clues given him about each circle's measure. 
Why the chaos, the rush and the need to figure exactly how big a given circle is?
 Well, you'll have to read that  for yourself and  work  each circle's circumference!

Needless to say, this math adventure is a superb and fun way to introduce circumference 
to a young kid ( grade 5)  and review the topic 
with an older child ( my other son, in grade 8) 
which is what we did here in
our homeschool, in June.

3.  Now, back to that vocabulary I mentioned above: 
We listed, defined and drew pictures of these words/concepts, 
specific to our study:

circumference
diameter
radius/radii
Pi
3.14 and 22/7
formula
geometry
angle
Review of these target words: 
perimeter
inch
centimeter
measurement
pencildivider


4. Practice, practice, practice~
Around here, I'm known as The Queen of Drill and Kill. Sooooooooo this is just a tiny piece of the practical application.....We use the Math U See series and have, since...well,  forever.  While my kids no longer like the DVDs, (  I guess seeing the same math teacher day in day out since 2004 can get a bit redundant, no?)  I, frankly, like the program. The workbooks are user friendly  and the teacher's manual/DVDs are practical  if only to acquire background for myself and perhaps a different and more creative  angle on presenting a new topic. Especially as the kids get older and the demands of the math curriculum become more stringent!  


 My son was in grade 5 last school year and so, 
we  used the Epsilon level
(Circumference is covered in chapters 27 and 28)
And, do you notice how a cute little doggie notebook 
seems to make math just so much more fun??
If you are seeking  
additional practice to reinforce the concept, there's
always worksheet generators such as this.


pencildivider

5 Find the D and the r! 
Working the formula forward and backward.~
Here's what I mean by that.....
I don't think that there's enough of a basis for understanding this
concept   if the only practice kids get is working the straight  
 C =  π d  
( or C = 2 π  r). 
Do  they really and deeply understand unless they examine
 the formula and they figure
from different "points of view?"
So we work the problems "backwards," creating our own "inverse" 
examples using  the ones provided in the book. 
The kids should not only know and be able to work formulas to find
 the C of a circle,
 but additionally,  given the circumference,
 they should be able to find the circle's 
radius and diameter as well using these formulas : 

For example:

The diameter of a circle is 3 centimeters. What is the circumference?

 ( diagram ~~thanks to Math Goodies)
diagram for example 2 with diameter equal to 3 centimeters

Circumference equals Pi times diameter
circumference = 3.14 · (3 cm)
circumference = 9.42 cm

Now let's do that "backwards" too:
What is the diameter of a circle whose circumference is 9.42cm?

D= C/π

D = 9.42/3.14

D= 3 cm

Let's find the radius now by adding another step as we  divide the D by 2:
D = 3 cm, therefore  r = 1.5 cm.


pencildivider

6. Invite geometry into the kitchen!
Chocolate chip cookies + math = fun!
At this point, after immersing in the activities, the practice and the measurement of all things circular ( ! )  while we definitely still needed to review, rework and revisit many examples around circumference using both 3.14 and 22/7,it was time to move on a bit.

We baked up a storm, using this recipe which is tried and true and oh-so-yummy! 
Click over the full description and step x step!
Here's what you need:

1 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
2/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tspn salt
2 c choc chips
1/2 cups chopped walnuts
 ( Walnuts optional, but we're big nut people, so I always throw them in!)


Here's my son having fun with PI:
We baked the above recipe and I took no shots of 
that kitchen adventure...drat.
So here he is a week or so later mixing up a quick and yummy



You know the drill, bake, enjoy and m-e-a-s-u-r-e!

We purposely baked many different sizes, so we'd
have the fun of measuring a variety of circumferences.....






pencildivider

Hope you enjoyed some math fun around our circumference study!
I'd love to hear how YOU learned a math topic too...it's
always wonderful to get those ideas swapped!


Thank you, friends,  for visiting
and spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.
I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,

~Chris








Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adirondack Scrapbook 2014 ~ Our Week at the Lake: Beauty and Memories, Despite the Downpours, the Colds, the Loss............

Welcome friends!
Thanks so much for stopping in to share in 
our Adirondack scrapbook!
Well, we're home!
And I, unfortunately, could not keep to daily
and chronological posting of our week upstate
 (so much easier to organize like that!)
 due to lack of wifi.
My son is super techy
 and can usually circumvent 
computer related difficulties. 
Even with this awesome kid at the helm,
I couldn't get online and stay online
 for more than a few minutes.
And forget  about loading pictures.



SO:
The remainder of our week??
Well, I'd like to say it was sun drenched and infused with
endless family joviality and happy memories galore.
Well.
I could say that.
Buuuuuut,  life isn't all sunshine and unicorns,
so why expect  a vacation to be?
Yeah, we had rain, oh heck,  we had downpours,
colds, fevers, 
an ant infestation ( ew), 
a blowup over an Honors assignment brought along 
and yet to be done midweek,
an unexplained and miserable rash I contracted for three days
 ( no idea why, what, how on Earth. 
It's gone. Thank the Lord.)
Did I mention rain?
And wet.
Everything. Was. Wet.
Which probably helped lead to sour dispositions
 all around.
But that's nothing......
Into all this was came the saddest and most tragic news. 
Who among us hasn 't laughed with,
been touched by,
felt as if they knew him?
I cried when I heard.
My sons and husband, 
huge fans of his, huge fans, 
were shocked into silence.
To talk of him in the past tense is so overwhelmingly tragic.
Just tragic.
My kids act in community theater;
 my younger son
related so so much to Robin.
He'd look to the actor as a model,
a barometer of hard work and perseverance and success;
as he and my son have dyslexia in common.
And for him, it was  an especially melancholy time ,
 to hear that a beloved figure 
fought so and ultimately could not conquer his demons. 
The obstacles he overcame to achieve so highly in his field
are unquantifiable.
So many hurdles and so much love, but intolerable pain.
The best thing I've read, about this tragedy,
I mean, The Best Thing I've read,  
is written by my friend, Crystal.
Please go read it.
Please.
 Let's all become educated and aware and 
open discussions with our kids about the reality
of depression.
Thank you, Crystal.
You say it best.
So, yes, the sadness that we felt permeated our time.

But we did, in between the fevers, 
the sneezes,
the naughty ants and the unrelenting rain ( ! )
get out and enjoy our lake.
After all, we're only there once a year and 
we need to make the most of it!  
Even if that means swimming in 33 degree drizzle!
 

SO here we go.....
Some shots of our week, as well as other,
undocumented-by-the-memory-card events~!

This island here:
we call it "Huck Finn Island"~


Well, we swam to it, 
as well as beyond ....
Fun...and  exhilarating!
Yup, that was Monday, before the waterworks began......

While the sun shone:
Boat races~~








Enjoying boogie boards give by their Aunt~~


Badminton tourneys~~



More sunnies~~

In between raindrops:
A race to the dock~~

 

Texas Hold 'Em~~



Singing in the Rain??
How about Swimming in the Deluge?!



 These boys don't know when to give up!
Finally, the weather won.....
  too heavy and too cold!


A brief slice of sun!
Yay!
 

Fishing trip!
 

Rainbow!

 A flock ( ? ) of adorable ducks~
 
Fireworks in town!
How lucky are we
 that the rain stopped for a bit that night!?





Banana splits all around, post -  firework display!



 
And, on the morning, we left:
Catching two  last fish, each ~





Our fort...soooooo many memories here of the kids,



 

Ice cream, lakeside.....



Look who we ran into in town~~




The View From Our Cabin is a reflection of mine,
written a few years ago, during our week at the lake,
if you'd like to click over.

Lengthening Shadows is another.....

Lastly, 
Paddle boats, Pleiades, Pike, Old Growth Pines and Promises~ 
Wrapping ‘Summer Love’ into a New School Year
is yet another piece of writing around our time 
in the beautiful Adirondacks of upstate NY.


Other noteworthy lake-ponderings and happenings that 
didn't get captured by the camera~~

**Watching for Pleiades despite the murky /cloudy sky
**Cabin lights, slowly aglow as dusk settles sending beams clear across the lake
**Can we bottle that campfire scent that infuses into our sweatshirts?
**Huck Finn Island's old growth pines whose shadows stretch and 
stretch and touch each shore of the lake
**Even more, dozens more, photos to frame and settle on our windowsills, tables, counters
And now, we've been traveling to our lake for sooooo long that truly,
the boys no longer look the same as when we began.
Who knew that would happen one day?
I have to accept it.
They're growing up.
**Glittery Christmas tree lights we string outside 
our cabin to light the night.
Nature needs no help accessorizing,
but I love me a lotta sparkle.
**sigh. So. Much. More.


For those so inclined, here's~~
Bridges, Boats, Beauty and Fish Whisperers
and 
 Swimming, Sailing, Sunnies, Celebrations, Supermoon
If have time to click over!

Please don't forget to click to Crystal's blog for her
post on the tragedy we're all talking about.


Thank you, friends,  for visiting
and spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.
I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,

~Chris

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