Sunday, June 12, 2011

Banff... Almost

For months now we have been planning to use our timeshare condo in beautiful Banff, BC Canada. Unfortunately we made it only as far as the Canadian border and no further.

We drove to Helena, MT and stayed there overnight as it was about half-way to Banff. The next morning we drove through Glacier National Park and stopped for a little hike.

Little did we know, our plans to enter Canada and vacation for a week were about to be denied.

We came to the Port of Piegan and were told to talk with the immigration officers since it was Brandon's first time going to Canada. Apparently since 9-11 travel into Canada has become a lot more difficult: if you want to read more about why: go here. Brandon's little misdemeanor from 20 years ago proved to be a reason he was deemed "inadmissible to Canada."

  • Drove 1,600 miles
  • Stayed in 2 low-end motels in the middle of nowhere
  • Ate at McDonalds (twice), Pizza Hut and DQ
  • Lost $800 on our timeshare vacation
  • Cried a few tears and said some angry words toward the Canadians
  • Spent over 24 hours in the car
Shove off hosers, eh?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Telephone Canyon

In May we took our annual trip to Zion and took on some canyoneering in Telephone Canyon.
This canyon was supposed to be "dry," but the record snowfall and precipitation this year has rivers running high everywhere in the state right now!

We start out on the West Rim Trail...

It was a long day for the 7 of us. 10 hours of hiking and rappelling through a beautiful canyon.
Nick, Brandon, Brittany, Emily, Chilly, Pete and Anthony.

Just one of 13 rappels in the canyon. With 7 people it took us quite a while to get through.

By the time we exited the canyon and still had to hike back down it was getting dark. Luckily the full moon led us down the path!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


At the starting line 8 miles above the beautiful little mountain town called Eden: 5/21/11
Never thought I'd actually be at the starting line of ANY marathon.
The miles flew by as I chatted with these girls (Shyloh, Kellie and Kristin) and I really couldn't have done it without them! The course weaved around Pineview reservoir, across the dam and down the beautiful Ogden canyon.

26.2 miles after a lot of walk/ running, stretching my IT band and sore knee at every one of the many water stations, 5 hours after starting- the finish line finally came into view on 25th street in Ogden.

My aunt and uncle happened to be there to watch my cousin's girlfriend come in. They wondered why my bib said "Cheree" on it. Well, that's because the marathon sold out in December and someone wanted to sell the spot they'd paid for- so I took it!

Thanks for all your support Brandon!

Shyloh and I had our matching KT tape for our pesky IT band problems. By the time Shyloh and I were still in Ogden canyon, Jared blazed into the finish line. It was so fun to have the Belnaps in it with me!

Brandon's co-worker Bryan and I tested our minimal training strategy for this marathon thing- guess it worked!

My friend Kim from work made this experience so much fun and encouraged me all along the way. Hopefully we have many more of these to look forward to together!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Ski Touring

We have endless amounts of footage from these past few weeks of ski touring in the back country. (But I won't bore you with all of it) Brandon has been exploring and then bringing me along to share in the fun. We get tons and tons of fresh turns all to ourselves. But it's not easy getting there- a good 2-3 hours "hike" up on our skis with "skins" on the bottom that help grip the snow as we travel up the mountain gets us to those wide open spaces.

While others are cursing Mother Nature as she delivers storm after storm when they want it to be warm and springy, we have been loving it! Utah has almost 200% of normal snowpack levels thus far and if May warms up too fast we're looking at major flooding problems this year. As for now- let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recipe FAIL

Even though he was satisfied with his Baskin Robbins ice cream cake, I was determined to make Brandon a birthday cake. Having a week off work I decided to go all out and make from scratch his request: white cake with raspberry filling and chocolate frosting.

Not including time spent at the grocery store gathering needed ingredients for this special cake, I spent a good 3 hours preparing this homemade cake. Then another good hour doing all the clean up. Guess where the cake is now? The garbage. Yep. It was disgusting. I don't know what happened, I followed the recipe exactly. I got "Chopped."

The next day I consulted my other recipe: add 1 1/2 cups water and 2 egg whites to box mix. Use previously prepared raspberry filling from scratch, frost with Pillsbury chocolate frosting. The moral of this story? Betty Crocker knows her stuff; I don't.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Birthday Boy

Hint: This boy doesn't like to celebrate birthdays... but his wife does. He's been getting spoiled all weekend long!

After an incredible snowstorm and one of the best powder days of the ski season together, a low-key weekend at his mom's was just what he wanted.

On the menu: Khoreshe Geimeh (delicious homemade Persian food; courtesy of Brandon's mom). Dessert: mint chocolate chip ice cream cake roll; courtesy of Baskin Robbins. I tried to make him a cake but this is what he wanted!

Anthony and Annie say Happy birthday too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Moab 1/2

It was so fun to run the "Canyonlands Other Half" in October, I couldn't wait to get back to Moab and run down the lower half of the canyon next to the river again!

This time I ran solo, but often I looked around me and imagined my Uncle Al running with me, hair blowing in the wind. I always feel his presence in the desert. Brandon was there to cheer me on and get me through that last mile through town.
My knee was really sore and gave me a lot of trouble this time, but I managed to make it in decent time. 2'06
After the race we got some food and went for a little hike to stretch out the legs. I cut it short since my knee was super painful, but the dogs were in hog heaven running around the red rocks and dirt.
Unfortunately, this is the last pic of our trip since the wind blew my camera into the sand as it was on timer waiting to snap a photo. That shouldn't surprise anyone considering my luck with cameras!
We had such a fun weekend trip down there and I got to meet up with friends who came down for the race as well. We took the bikes out the next day after a beautiful drive through Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point. The poor pups ripped their paws on the rocky trail and I was limping a bit, but all in all it was a blast!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's all about LOVE

This past weekend was a very special time for the Bench family. Although I don't have pictures of Baby Qhloi's parents, they were "officially" made a family. The court declared the adoption was final, and on Saturday she was sealed to them in the Bountiful temple. Sunday was her blessing in church and what a wonderful occasion that was!

Courtney is part of our family, and being pregnant with her first baby makes Grandma Glad very happy since she has given up on her twin grand-daughters from having babies ;-)
There was quite a spread at the Bench's after the blessing and no shortage of jokes from these guys!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Age of Aquarius

As if we need an excuse to all get together... most of us have February birthdays.
Qhloi brought her party hat to the family birthday celebration.
Grandparenting looks good on them.
Who else but Pat Bench makes 3 different desserts for all 3 b-day girls?
All together we are 96 years old
One of the best b-day/ Valentines gifts ever- Sarah Mc Lachlan at Kingsbury Hall. Thanks babe!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekends are for...

Weekends are for breathing fresh mountain air...
For hiking up these beautiful Utah canyons in the snow...
For exploring an icy cave...

And for finding a really steep mountain-side and sliding down on our butts. Even if it did make us sore for days!

Monday, January 10, 2011

What we've been UP to

Bringing in the New Year with a climb up the "Great White Icicle."
Brandon got some new ice screws for Christmas he was dying to try out!
Sometimes taking a picture at the top of a frozen waterfall means you drop your camera case.
Don't worry mom and dad, this is totally safe!