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Snow on the 4th of July

The fourth of July is always one of my favorite days of the year. It usually is extremely busy for me as I usually have responsibilities at a carnival put on by our church to raise funds for our young men and young women’s organizations that lasts most of the day. This year, however, they did the carnival on Saturday the second so the fourth was all mine. Awesome, a day to do just exactly what I wish. What I wished was to take a hike with my daughter and friends in the morning, swimming in a local pond with my daughters in the afternoon, a barbecue in the canyon in the evening and then finish the day off with fireworks at dark. It went off without a hitch and was better then I had hoped. Just what the fourth should be, a day to be with the people who matter most in a place that means the most to me. Happy Birthday America, I Love You.

I am going to focus on the hike in this blog today. In a word it was spectacular. I had heard from a friend recently, that what people in my community call "the glacier", was especially impressive this year because of our record setting snow fall last winter. The glacier is an area of snow pack up one of the local canyons that does not fully melt most years until late in the summer. I remember slidding on it in July as a kid but had not been there in twenty years. I wanted my daughters to see it so we called some friends and planned a hike.

We started early, meeting at 7:00AM. The previous days temperatures in the valley had broken 100 degrees and we were trying to beat the heat. When we arrived at the trail head the sky was over cast with drops of rain falling sporadically. Perfect for hiking. Because of the usually wet spring the grass was tall, thick, and green on each side of the trail. Wild flowers were blooming with

Columbine

blue bells, indian paint brush, black eye susans, columbine, and many more I don’t know the names of, all adding vivid color to the deep green of grass and trees. All this was set against the high peaks rising 5,000 feet above us, the stone just starting to show in places through the deep white blanket of snow. One of my friends had a nephew visiting from Alaska. He stepped out of the Yukon we were riding in and remarked, "I feel like I am back home". I have never been to Alaska but it's nice to know I'’ve been close.

Makeshift Bridge over cold water

Make Shift Bridge

We hiked for miles, the sound of the swollen creek, running heavy with snow melt, rushing past us. The trail crossed back and forth across this torrent. Typically there are make shift bridges made of dead fall which make this possible while staying dry. All but the biggest of these were gone. The teen age boys in our group loved solving these engineering problems and constructed new bridges where possible and carrying the younger or cuter of us across when not. The water was so cold that their legs were bright red and numb within minutes.

My seven year old daughter became tough on this hike. My wife had dressed her for the adventure in knee length shorts. A wonderful choice for most 4th of July activities but not for this adventure. She learned to identify stinging nettle by painful experince after walking through a patch. As with most things the painful lessons are the ones we learn from most. The rest of the hike she would point out every patch we passed. While crossing a stream with her on my back I slipped and landed in a pile of dead fall which had been piled high by the flooding stream earlier in the year. She ended up with a nasty abrasion on her leg.

My Tough Seven Year Old

I got out my first aid kit to clean and bandage it but she refused. She wanted to show her Mom. She was proud of the battle scars and I was proud of her toughness.

We reached the "glacier" and it was spectacular. The stream was gushing out of its face. It was probably thirty feet deep and full of rocks and splintered trees from much higher on the mountain. It was fun to see geology in motion. Rocks from high on the slope which will find them self on the valley floor before the season was done. It was intimidating to see large trees which had been shredded by the power of snow and ice. The snow had melted forming caves down to the stream flowing below, cold air rushed out of these holes. We played on the glacier for an hour, had lunch washing it down with water taken from the face of the glacier.

On the hike back out I watched the beauty pass by. I watched my daughters play and laugh and try to avoid stinging nettle. I saw out of the corner of my eye, a trout sip an insect from the surface of a

Small but Beautiful

side pool, in the quite of the rushing stream. I cast with my fly rod while balancing on a log in the middle of the stream into another dark quiet pool and then watched it come to life as a trout took my fly in a flash of silver. It then raced around the pool trying to free itself. I watched that same trout glide gracefully back into the depths of that pool as it was granted its freedom. It had been a glorious morning.

Vision is what had made this morning what it was. The memories I take with me from this day are mainly, not totally, but mainly visual. I was thankful for the beauty of my home land, its trees, flowers, peaks and streams that morning. I was thankful that I had been able to watch my daughters enjoy themselves and nature. It was awesome to see that trout take that fly and see the total functional beauty of a creature so perfectly adapted to its environment. Vision is what made that morning for me. I am grateful to be involved in a profession that allows me to improve peoples quality of life by maximizing and protecting their vision.

One last story, as I was coming down I removed my Maui Jim sunglasses for a moment. I was amazed by the loss saturation of the colors. I told my hiking buddy that I had enjoyed my hike more then he did. He asked why and I just handed him my Maui Jim’s. He put them on and said, WOW! That is amazing. He was blown away by how much better the world looked through a pair of Maui’s. The world just looks better through Maui’s. If you have not tried them you should come by and test drive a pair.

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Annular (ring of fire) Solar Eclipse

We all have a rare opportunity to view a rare annular (ring of fire) solar eclipse here in Utah this Sunday.  It should be awesome to view but you need to be careful.  Viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection can literally burn a hole in your retina and cause permanent loss of central vision. Since you do not have pain receptors in your retina this can happen without you even being aware of it.  DO NOT RISK IT!!   Advanced Family Eyecare is happy to provide glasses with special filters that provide complete protection from the sun’s energy so the eclipse can be viewed safely by you and your children.  We have a good supply but they will be given out on a first come first serve basis so come on in today.  For more information on the eclipse including the best viewing times and locations follow the link below.

http://www.eclipseafrique.com/dbimages/document/fichier/685/Schedule_USA_-_UTAH.pdf

For other safe viewing options including how to make a pinhole projector click here.

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