Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rain, Pain, and Memories Gained

Last week, I went backpacking for the first time. It was terrific!

Daddy took my best friends (a.k.a. sisters), Kyla, Kelsey and I up to Washington where we joined up with Mr. Altmyer and his three girls. The Altmyers were so prepared and provided us with sweet backpacks (like, the real deal), blue rain suits (also the real deal), tents, sleeping bags, and the other "camping essentials." 
Daddy, Mr. Altmyer, and a bunch of smurfs heading into the wild

We stopped by the store to pick up some hot dogs, and ended up spending 15 minutes deciding what chili to buy--I never knew there were so many different kinds--then, armed with canned peaches, pop corn, hot dogs, and a can of spam we headed out into the unknown.

The rain drizzled moodily off and on, but I remained toasty in my wonder suit. You see, the goal was to hike in about four miles to a campground, but after about two and a half hours of hiking, we began to look at the narrow trail with new interest--we just might be sleeping on it. Then there were the trees... lots and lots of trees! The trail hadn't been cleared yet, so we became experts at scaling over the wet, slippery, cedars that had fallen across the path. After hiking for another hour we realized that we had no idea where the campground was. So, unsure of what to do, we took a picture.

Me, with some of my favorite people...anything is fun with them!

God is the master artist. I delight in His handiwork!
Just when it was getting dark, we found the campground! Hallelujah! I thought hiking all night sounded like a fun adventure, but as soon as we found that campground I became instantly fatigued. The rain stopped long enough for us to build a fire, set up camp, and roast the largest marshmallows I have ever seen. Meanwhile, I realized the things I take for granted when camping; things like chairs. I found a wet rock does do the trick however.

The next morning was so encouraging! As we ate tasty granola the Altmyers had prepared and warmed ourselves by the fire, we had a wonderful time fellowshipping and reading God's Word. It is such a blessing to spend time with other believers! I was very blessed by many of Mr. Altmyer's "pearls of wisdom." One that really stood out was: "Big GOD, small people...small God, big PEOPLE." How often have I cared way too much what people think of me? How often have I been guilty of putting God in a box and forgetting His power and vast awesomeness? Far too many times. It was so good to hear this powerful truth and be reminded that God is the only one I should endeavor to please.

After our relaxing breakfast, Daddy tore off into the underbrush in a mad race to make a deadline back in Kingston. How he ran seven miles at an eight minute pace while hurdling over trees, I will never know. Needless to say, I won't bother to ask how fast he drove. All I know is, us remaining campers packed out the extra gear he left behind.

It was a gorgeous day and the extra weight we were carrying made us feel like total mountain women. The downside to having an [almost] 50lb pack, aside from feeling like I was being compacted, was the topsy, turvy, tree crossings. If one of us fell, we would probably fall, and fall, and fall. So, none of us decided to tip over, despite the heavy encouragement from our packs. This time we counted the trees. I started looking forward to tree crossings because I got to holler out a number... "fifty-four!" It was exhilarating--definitely made me feel accomplished.

Packed up and headed out

A bunch of miles and 408 trees later, we made it back to the truck feeling like total woodsman warriors. That was until a glaring four foot sign popped our bubble of pride like a pin busts a balloon. There, right by the truck was a sign we had totally ignored. It read "Campground, 7 miles." I guess we have to go back to the basics. We didn't know you were actually supposed to read those things.

All in all it was a blast. Not at all how we had planned, but all the better because of it. When you don't know what's going to happen, there's always that suspense and intrigue. I'll take that over having it all figured out any day. Thanks for putting up with us, Altmyers! We had a wonderful time with you all and were so blessed! And thank you Daddy for taking the time to hike with your girls. I love you!

Rain? 408 tree crossings? 14 miles? 48 pound packs? Spam (for the first time)? Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How fun it is to be typing on a fresh new sheet of paper, on a fresh new blog, on a beautiful blustery day! God is so good to me, and every single day poses as a bright new adventure. I desire to launch instantly into a post about what our family has been up to, but I must refrain. First, I shall briefly summarize what this blog shall be about. Although, of course, like everything else I do, it is subject to change.

My goal for this blog, is that it become a sort of online journal; a place where I can arrange and save our family history through photos, my thoughts, and our experiences on and off "Thanksgiving Valley Farm." Up until now, my writing has stayed safely tucked away in journals and private letters (which  at times has been a good thing) and our photos have stayed locked up in intriguing, yet archaic, photo albums. This is all very well, but I want to share our "happenings" and God's grace with our friends and family. I also desire to combine photos and text somewhere aside from a scrapbook. Thus, this blog.

Being a daughter of Chad Johnson, I tend to have "3 points" come to mind whenever I am explaining something. I can't think of one reason without two others evolving. That being said, reason #2, for blogging, is that I love doing new things . You know, experimenting, trying stuff out, learning a new skill (yes, this does mean that I don't always keep up with everything I start). If I fail, I get to go try out something, win.

Lastly, I am writing this blog for my own enjoyment. That's a big reason. I am passionate about writing (not necessarily grammar) and I process best when I am writing or speaking. One can only imagine the trials of thinking out loud, and I have discovered that writing is a much safer and effective way to sort my thoughts. Of course, most of my thoughts will not be processed here. Anyways, please bear with my long winded ramblings as I re-live some awesome memories.

Okay. So, most people come up with an excuse for starting a blog--aside from the fact that "I want to." I have found our six week family vacation to be just such a reason. It starts in two weeks. Honestly, I don't expect you to be interested in every detail I shall post on here, but if you do ever happen to wonder what the Johnson's are doing, you will know where to find out.

Well, I should probably finish this post so I can start another one. This is such a blast! I look forward to writing on here whenever I feel inspiration (writing without inspiration is like pulling teeth). However, this means I will not be a regular blogger. Expect my posts to rain like cats and dogs for a time before drying up like the drought king Ahab caused. That's how I work best.

Before I go, here's a family picture. I am 18 years old and Kordelia, the baby, is almost one year.
A family hike at Cannon Beach