We made it back to Tampa Tuesday, the 19th, but not without a little trouble. We were scheduled to fly back from Utah on Tuesday, but we were supposed to arrive in Tampa Tuesday night around 10pm, which was exactly when Fay was supposed to hit Tampa (at least, that was the projection Monday afternoon). So, we called the airline (Northwest; very helpful by the way) and rescheduled to fly in to Jacksonville a bit earlier on the 19th (around 5pm) and then grabbed a rental car and drove down to Tampa (via I-10 and I-75). We skirted the storm entirely. If you’ve been following Fay, you’re aware that the course of the storm has changed dozens of times. When we changed our flights, Tampa was in the direct path of the storm. Since then, Fay basically hit every other inch of the state, but skirted Tampa. Tampa’s 100+ year avoidance of a direct hurricane hit continues!
Just for fun I used Google Maps to put together a rough outline of the traveling we did during the 2 1/2 weeks we were gone. The total mileage (roughly, as we flew large chunks of this), is about 8,655 miles. You can see a map of where we went here.
The last few days we were in Utah we spent some time with my parents in Morgan and visited with my two hiking buddies and their families. I picked up some additional pictures from various people. Here are some more photos from Lake Powell:
This first one is of my brother Danny, a highly successful lawyer in Northern Utah. His sister-in-law put this costume together for him, and apparently he wears it regularly:
Here’s Danny’s son, Connor, “riding the bull” (a 50 gallon barrel half full of water my father rigged up). Connor’s pretty fearless when it comes to the water:
Here are Pyper (one of Danny’s girls) and Sydney (one of my brother Mike’s daughters) playing on shore. One of their favorite games was to throw mud at each other.
The very first day, Debi got on the houseboat and sat down next to Pyper and Sydney at the kitchen table. We hadn’t been to Utah in almost 2 1/2 years and they didn’t remember us. So, Pyper introduced herself to Debi, “Hi. I don’t know you. I’m Pyper.” Sydney followed that up with, “And I’m Sydney.” Debi was definitely pleased to make their acquaintance.
Here are two of my nephews, Carter and Brock:
Here’s a photo of a game we played in remembrance of my Uncle Stan. He used to lay the Cragun kids (all 9 of us) down in a row. The game was: he got to tickle us however he wanted and the last person to move won. We tried it with the grandkids (Danny, Mike, and I), but we weren’t nearly as successful as Stan: almost everyone was able to withstand the tickle torture (and my licking their bellies):
Here are Danny and Don ripping it up with Guitar Hero as the grandkids look on:
Here are almost all of the grandkids on the inflatable trampoline behind the houseboat:
Next are a couple photos of our “science experiment” Ant Wars. As you can see, the kids were very interested:
This next one is Debi going over rocks with some of the grandkids:
Another event I failed to recount in my earlier trip report was the game we played one evening – sardines. If you’ve never played sardines, you really must – we used to play it all the time when I was growing up. One person goes off and hides and the others have to find him/her. But instead of telling everyone once you’ve found the person hiding, you hide with that person until everyone has found him/her. Jake was the first to hide and he hid up on the top of the boat in a storage compartment. As I was the last to find him (I was making sure everyone was playing), I hid next. I knew of a bunch of groovy places to hide, but one hit me while I was walking into the main room – right behind the couch. I figured people would walk right past my spot and not notice it for a while. I was right, but eventually my niece, Amanda, decided for some reason to look behind the couch (mind you, it was pressed up against the wall and I was laying on my side in about 7 or 8 inches of space. Once she found me, she just sat on the couch. Others started to realize what was going on, but only one other person, my nephew Brock, decided he would hide WITH me. He dropped behind the couch right onto me and layed on top of me until everyone figured it out. But he didn’t just lay there, he chatted with me (better stated: he talked right into my ear while I tried to breath). He went on and on about how uncomfortable I must be down there and how he was making it more uncomfortable by laying on me, “I bet you’re really uncomfortable down here. This is a tiny place to hide in. I bet me laying on you is making you more uncomfortable, huh?” He thought it was pretty funny. Thinking back on it, it was very funny, even though I was incredibly uncomfortable at the time.
The last person to hide, Carson, hid in the storage compartment underneath the boat. Almost everyone actually got down inside the compartment to hide with him. Here are Debi and I as the first people start to come back out.
This is a photo of the crater-like bowl my brother Mark hiked everyone up to:
Here’s a shot of my brother-in-law, Don, and sister, Tammy, working their way down the ravine to the cliff we jumped off:
And here’s a shot of a bunch of people trying to work their way down the ravine:
Here’s my sister-in-law, Kristen, cheering after her record breaking kayak run in the obstacle course. I hope to one day be half as physically fit as she is:
Here’s my mom finishing the race:
The next two shots are of a niece and nephew kneeboarding. The photos wouldn’t be all that amazing except they are of kids about 5 and 6 years old. They are actually small enough that they can kneel on the kneeboard while it isn’t moving and not sink. Here’s Pyper giving it a whirl:
And here’s Carter:
The next day I took Carter out and he was able to do it almost entirely by himself. He was pretty proud of his kneeboarding skills.
Someone grabbed their camera to get a few shots of us tackling the tent. As you can see, there are about five people on the tent. That pole I’m trying to detach the tent from was actually a very stout piece of electrical conduit. The wind bent it to about a 30 degree angle:
Here are Don and Debi during the marshmallow olympics. Debi had just called it quits, but we got a good shot of them before they ate their marshmallows:
Debi told me later that had the marshmallows been Kraft Stay-Puffed, she probably would have tried harder. I sense a rematch in the making.
This last one of Lake Powell is of Karlie putting the finishing touches on the girls teams’ marshmallow tower. With a little coaching from my father, they slaughtered the boys on this one:
I know this is a pretty long post, but I have a few more photos. These are from the hike. Mark usually takes most of the photos as he has a smaller camera he can slide in and out of his pocket easily. Mine is a behemoth which I usually just take out on the summit. Here are Tom and I at the trailhead getting ready to embark:
Here we are on a saddle about an hour and a half in. A trail runner paused just long enough to snap this for us before flying up the mountain:
Here’s a really good shot of Mark and Tom. I stayed a bit behind them to snap this one:
Here’s a good one of Tom and I. I like it because it gives a sense of the elevation. We were probably 2/3rds the way up the mountain at this point, but you can see we’re above a lot of the surrounding peaks and there is only sky:
This is a great shot of Mark looking down over one of the beautiful valleys and mountain lakes:
Here’s a shot of Tom as we traversed some of the false peaks on the way to the summit. Most of these highpoints have a number of false peaks that give you hope only to crush it once you reach the false summit and realize there is a peak just beyond it that is the actual peak:
Here we are on the summit, taking a break and trying to keep away from the gazillions of flies that were up there:
Final picture… Here’s Tom marching fearlessly through a meadow (we broke off the path for a bit) right at a herd of mountain goats (you can barely see them in the background). We hiked pretty close to them on the way down:
The above photos are courtesy of Jeanne Cragun, Tamera Rupe, and Mark Woolley. If anyone wants larger resolution shots, just let me know.