Before the Dawn

Monday morning, Amanda, Jolleen, F, and I woke up at 3:30 and loaded up in the jeep. We headed up Corkscrew Pass and then headed to Hurricane Pass (12,407′). As we had planned, we arrived in almost total darkness to see the whole progression to sunrise.

As we waited in the dark, it was cold. I glanced around at the high peaks silhouetted against the starry sky and started thinking “up.” With shooting stars from the Perseids all around, I decided to head up the slope to our east. Away I went, picking my way through the scree, pausing now and then to note the lightening of the sky to the east and how the mountains in the distance showed more and more. Steadily, I climbed, worrying that I wouldn’t reach the summit before I had gotten too far away from the group.

Finally, I arrived at a craggy summit standing above the Lake Como basin. I could see the lake, shining darkly, down below. I could pick out Uncompaghre and Wetterhorn Peaks along with hundreds of other peaks that I can’t name. It was quiet and cool with just a slight breeze—the morning brimmed with possibility and excitement.

I returned to the group warm and happy—I had just climbed 13,447′ Hurricane Peak before sunrise. Not a bad way to start a day.

More from our sunrise adventure to come soon. (Like once I get pictures from Jolleen and Amanda since my camera battery was completely dead…)

Wedding, Part 15: Cable Arch

At the end of Hells Revenge, most people were pretty tired and ready to head back to the house. Some of us, however, were up for some more fun so Thomas, Tasha, Blaze, Skye, Jason, Jolleen, Amanda, F and I headed over to run Cliffhanger. We made a brief pit stop at Morning Glory Canyon to play on the Indian ladder before we arrived at the trailhead. As it turns out, the entrance to Cliffhanger looked a bit more intense than anyone wanted to attempt with a rental Jeep.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

So F suggested we all hike up to Cable Arch. There was lots of scrambling around and we finally found the cable and headed up to the view point. On the way down, I headed over to a crack that F said he once climbed back to the top and started exploring. It wasn’t long before F, Blaze, Skye, and Jolleen made their way in as well. We all had a blast scrambling around and exploring. One of my very favorite things about Moab is the scrambling and climbing around and it was a blast to do it with so many adventurous people!

Climbing up the fin
These two characters were our passengers all day.
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

Back at the car, we headed back for the house where Pat and Cindy had graciously volunteered to cook dinner for everyone. Pat made an awesome stew in his Dutch oven on the BBQ and it was all devoured in minutes. Leftover pie also came out of the refrigerator and was a big hit.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

Wedding, Part 14: Hells Revenge

Amanda, Stacia and I arrived at Sandflats just before 10am. Since no one had arrived at the trailhead, I decided (on F’s suggestion) to take them up and over Baby Lion’s Back. There’s two ways you can approach Baby Lion’s Back, from the front side, you can see what’s coming and it’s a bit less steep. To get to the backside, you head down a sandy trail, make a sharp turn to your left and start climbing steeply. Clearly, I just didn’t really tell anyone what was going on and went the back way. 🙂

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

When we arrived at the Hells Revenge trailhead, everyone started to pull in. We had the whole lot to ourselves which was a surprise for a fall Sunday but also a relief as we knew with six vehicles (mostly novice drivers) we were going to be sloowwww.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

F had fun seeing what our little jeep could do (and seeing how much he could scare me in the process).  There were some fears (mostly conquered), some victories (Pat and Cindy should be proud of themselves and their stock FJ Cruiser), only minimal mechanical issues (a broken rear drive shaft) and a lot of fun had by all.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

Wedding, Part 13: Morning Glory Canyon Hike

Bright and early, Stacia, Andrea, Amanda, and I headed for Morning Glory Canyon (aka Negro Bill Canyon) to do some hiking. There was actually a little more to the plan than just hiking through the beautiful canyon but only 75% of us knew that. 🙂

Amanda relates the story pretty perfectly over at her blog with lots and lots of pictures. Here’s a couple of my favorites, plus some more tidbits from me.

Stacia and I weren’t sure how far we wanted to hike or exactly what setting she wanted to propose in. What we did know is that we were the only car in the parking lot so we had the canyon to ourselves. There were a few almost right places but when we came to a place where the creek ran right next to the gorgeous red rock with a stone out in the middle of the water we looked at each other, Stacia nodded, and it was a go. I wandered back towards Amanda and Dre and sort of ushered them forward while I headed back down the trail to figure out how to climb up to a ledge above the trail (and in the process managed to scratch my wedding ring just 12 hours after putting it on*).

After what seemed like an appropriate amount of time, I headed back up trail to see if the coast was clear. It was and I pulled a specially carried bottle of sparkling cider from my backpack…only to discover I’d forgotten the bottle opener… oops. (I did try to open it on the rock but only succeeded in scraping my knuckles, alternative bottle opening technique is F’s gig.)

The rest of the hike was awesome. We went another 3/4 of a mile or so while Andrea gushed about how surprised she was and while Stacia told her story of how she pulled it off.   It just couldn’t have been a more perfect morning of love.

Congratulations guys, I’m definitely looking forward to your wedding.

*Which isn’t something I was sad about, it’s something I fully expected. I just figured it would take longer than that.

All photos © 2012 Amanda Summerlin

Wedding, Part 7: Final Wedding Preparations

Once Robin and I arrived back at the house with all of our rental items, it was time to get to work. Steve and I moved tables around to the back of the house while Robin took charge of arranging all the chairs for the ceremony. Next, we pulled out the decorations stash from the storage area and discussed what would go where. I thought that we should wait a few hours to put out the tablecloths but Steve thought that now would be as good of a time as any. I told him which jars we were using to decorate the table and suggested that some rocks would make a good accent and just turned him loose.

Ceremony setup

While Steve was outside decorating the tables, Robin and I started getting things ready to make my bouquet. We started by making stems out of some of the succulent blooms to mix in with the roses we bought at the grocery store. (I’d decided to just take whatever flowers I could get and used a dozen white roses and a dozen blush roses.) Robin was quite the pro at making excellent stems. Since she was so good at wiring the succulents, I put her in charge of F’s boutonnière and my mom’s corsage.

Robin working on flowers
Bouquet making
Bouquet making. (Amanda Summerlin)

About this time, Jolleen got back from town and insisted I have a bagel (she even toasted it and put butter on it for me). Then she set to work making a tie to go with her class As; it turned out quite well! You’d never notice it wasn’t the official tie. (She’d lent her black tie to her husband and it never made it back to the uniform bag.)

As I was eating my bagel, I wondered outside and was absolutely delighted by Steve’s decorating job. He’d built a small rock tower as a centerpiece to the tables, scattered the candle jars around super artfully, and found great places to use more rocks to hold the tablecloths down against any wind. He’d also put some candles on the pie table and put out the log rounds for pie stands. (F cut the tree for the log rounds on our property.) Everything looked AMAZING. (And I didn’t have to do a thing.)

Steve at wedding
Steve relaxing with his handiwork in the background. (Amanda Summerlin)
Steve’s masterpiece

Next, Robin and I assembled my bouquet. I don’t know what I would have done without her! She’s much more artistic than I am and was great about seeing where we were getting holes, where a succulent should go and what color rose we should add next. I just did a lot of bouquet holding while she did the arranging and wire wrapping.

Around this time, Stacia and Andrea returned from visiting Arches (sounds like they had a great sunrise visit!) ready to help. I handed copies of the lasagna recipes to Jolleen and Stacia and away they went. They turned into a regular lasagna making assembly line while I jumped in the shower. Jollene mixed up the ricotta mixture while Stacia and Andrea assembled them in the crockpots. Meanwhile, Robin made sure that all the dishes were being done.

Lasagna Making
LLasagna making assembly line (Amanda Summerlin

Just as they were finishing up, the boys got back from their motorcycle ride. This is when time started going fast for me. F, Jason, and I took some time to go over our ceremony in the front yard and it was then that I realized I was nervous. Jason asked for our input on something and whatever I said must have either sounded stressed out or weird because F just looked at me and said, “Calm down.” I proceeded to put my arm around him and stand there while he and Jason hammered out the last minute details.

Just as we finished up with Jason, Stacia finished washing Sprocket and was heading out for a walk. Since it was time for me to get dressed, I suggested that when she got back, she should bring him upstairs to the apartment where he could hang out with the girls and I could keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t go find some red dirt to roll in while he was still damp (because he absolutely would).

I had a quiet few minutes starting to put my hair in hot rollers before Stacia and Andrea burst in, Sprocket in tow, with two cans of Coors Light for “old times sake.” Andrea even brought in a bowl so I could share my beer with Sprocket. Since I was sort of struggling with the rollers (it’s hard when you can’t see what you’re doing!), Stacia decided to help me out. Fortunately, Amanda made an appearance about then and was able to capture my bridesmaid working wayyy out of her comfort zone. Soon, Jolleen joined us and they worked together on finishing up while Andrea opened a bottle of champagne.

Wedding 20120922-38
Group hair effort. (Amanda Summerlin)

While we were waiting for the curling iron to warm up (we’d run out of curlers for my thick hair), I did my makeup. Sandi and Ashley joined us for some champagne and Ashley helpfully did the final curls and helped me take out the rollers. My mom, aunt, and godmother arrived just in time to help me get into my dress. We all finished off our champagne as Jolleen went to find out where our first look would be and if they were ready.

Sandy and Ashley joined us for the finishing touches.
Me and my mom
Veil adjustments
All smiles.

When she came back upstairs to tell me that we were ready, I felt this big sigh of relief. F and I originally hadn’t planned on seeing each other before the ceremony but I wasn’t nervous exactly, just more a big bundle of energy and being beside F sounded like the place to be.

Ready for the first look.

Support “Photo Journey to the Mecca of Epic”

When we got engaged last July and started planning our wedding, we knew that we wanted some awesome pictures to document the event because 1) it’s our wedding and 2) it’s Moab!

I scoured the internet searching for the perfect person to photograph our wedding. After more hours than I care to admit, I wound up finding Amanda through A Practical Wedding. Forrest and I sent her an email (or ten) and the three of us had an awesome Skype conversation. The fact that Amanda was super excited to come out and take pictures of our wedding made it easy to know that she was the one we wanted to come out to Utah. We’ve emailed back and forth as our wedding plans have developed and had an awesome Skype chat last week which left me pretty much grinning.

This morning, a post popped up in my Google Reader: Amanda’s Big Adventure Means Loot For You.

“So, a few hours with Google Maps, a calculator, and a few big cups of coffee, and I’ve got numbers.  Big numbers.  Numbers like 5000 miles, 68 hours of driving.”

A 5,000 mile road trip? To do what she loves? Now I know we picked the right person to shoot our wedding.

Amanda’s got some big plans to hit up some classic spots in the west and make pictures all along the way. She’s planning on shooting film and digital. Traveling. Exploring. Taking pictures. Simply put, she’s doing the thing she loves. (And you know, shooting our wedding in there too.)

To help support her trip, she’s started an Indiegogo campaign called Photo Journey to the Mecca of Epic with some pretty sweet perks including postcards, calendars, fine art prints, and more. Click over to her campaign and take a look at what she’s offering. Over at 3Up Adventures, we’re always psyched to see someone get an opportunity and run with it—Amanda’s Big Adventure is totally one of those kickass dream chasing ideas.