Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jack at Nationals

Let me take a break from my Yosemite trip recap and talk about where I've been recently. I have been completely consumed with Jack's rampage through nationals! Jack plays for UNC Wilmington's ultimate frisbee team. Derrick and I encouraged him to play his freshman year and he wasn't even sure if he was going to play the A team because of the level of commitment. It takes a ton of time and dedication to play on a college ultimate team. He ended up making and playing on the A team last year and got to play a few points per game. His team went to Nationals last year and he was lucky to get any playing time at all. As a freshman you typically become more and more of a bench warmer as the season progresses.

Fast forward to this year and this is what you can read about Jack from this nationals:

"UNCW's Jack Williams led the tournament in goals. He didn't have any goals counted in the 1st game because he had a different jersey on (we cleared this with observers/staff beforehand) so there were 5 missed. That's 25 goals. He's 18 years old."

Sophomore Jack Williams (#11) got past Pitt deep several times. Pitt had shown vulnerability deep and UNC-W knew it.

With Harvard just yards away from a victory, UNCW sophomore Jack Williams made an unbelievable shoulder-high layout D near the endzone. After taking a timeout, Wilmington’s Xavier Maxstadt, on the first throw, ripped a massive 70-yard backhand huck to Williams, who came down with a great sky to win the game.

 Fans flooded the only remaining game still in action to see #11 Jack Williams for UNC-W get an unpredictably massive layout block on the end zone line. The Wilmington sideline erupted again like they had all weekend in support for their team, and the players seemed to feed off of it even more than before. Two throws later, Williams once again came through with a skying catch just in front of the end zone. 

If that wasn't awesome enough, Jack was also named MVP of their pre-quarters game against Harvard by Skyd Magazine.

And to top it all off, Jack was named by USA Ultimate as one of the tournaments Top 7 performers:

"Jack Williams – North Carolina-Wilmington – The Seamen standout was directly involved in every one of UNC-W’s three consecutive double-game (break) winning points leading up to the semifinals. From his goal-line layout D against Harvard to his hockey assist on the Seamen winning goal against Pitt, Williams rose to the occasion when Wilmington needed it. Oh, and this sophomore led the tournament in goals (20)."

My parents were there watching and giving us a steady stream of updates. We had a few scares because Mom and Dad are still learning the frisbee lingo (a break is VERY different then a turn-over :) but it was absolutely awesome to be able to follow along.

Wilmington made it to semis which meant they faced UNC and it would be broadcast on ESPN 3. Seriously!! Jack was on ESPN 3. We got a group of friends together to watch and it crashed. ESPN 3 crashed and it was devastating. I wanted to see him play so badly!! Thank goodness for awesome friends that come to the rescue. Julie was there observing nationals and happened to be in the stands. She used most of her data plan and skyped with us from the stands. She even used her hand to shield the sun glare. It was far away and grainy but it was so much better than twitter updates. She would point out when Jack had the disc and when he scored.

You can watch the actual ESPN3 coverage from their archives here: here: 
Jack is all over the coverage and it was so awesome to watch.  I may or may not have taken a few pictures of the screen....

Can you tell how much I was freaking out?? I'm so proud and it was so amazing to see him at Nationals doing so well. He seriously had the experience of a lifetime. Most college teams don't make it to Nationals. Most ultimate players have not been to college Nationals. Only 16 teams a year make it (and a lot of those are repeat teams that make it every year) and when you are a college player you only have 4 (5 at most) seasons to qualify for one of those remaining spots. I never went to college Nationals and Derrick went once. Making Nationals is a goal for most teams. Making Nationals is THE big moment of the season for most teams. Just making it to Nationals. Jack got to experience making it to Nationals and then playing one of the best tournaments of his life and ended his incredible season on ESPN 3. That is really special. I couldn't be more proud!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Until Next Time Tahoe

On our last day at Lake Tahoe Derrick and I decided to drive around the east side of the lake and take a different route home. This way we could see that side of Tahoe since coming in we came from the West. We also had plans to stop for a hike halfway home and soak up just a bit more scenery. What we didn't play on was getting stuck in a snowstorm!  It was barely flurrying when we hit the road and about 3 miles later we were in a full fledged our prius. We were the only prius on the road. Luckily the roads didn't get bad while we were driving so we just forged ahead. We drove through snow for about an hour and found the hike that we were hoping to go on. We missed it the first time and almost didn't turn around but I'm so glad we did. The skies cleared as soon as we parked and the hike was awesome! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. actual trail!


There was one other couple on the trail and we were happy they could take this photo of us. I think it really shows how amazing it was. We were just surrounded by these views...360 degrees!

See the waterfall?

We made one more stop on the way home and it was to take a picture of this rock. It just rose up out of nowhere and it looks like a giant toucan! How cool is that??

Lake Tahoe was amazing and if you ever get a chance to visit don't turn it down! Derrick and I want to go back during the summer sometime when it's warm enough to actually enjoy the water. That being said...Lake Tahoe has nothing on Yosemite. That's up next!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two Years!!

We made it two years and we still like each other :) That's an accomplishment that deserves a dangerous hike into the middle of nowhere if you ask me! Derrick and I got up early on Tuesday morning (thanks a lot East Coast time!) so we were on the trail by 9:30 AM. We hiked Mount Rose. It promised a beautiful waterfall, a route to the summit if you wanted, or a 5 mile loop if you chose you weren't up for the summit. It got great reviews and we headed in without any trepidation. We should have known we were in for a tough day when, with our first step, we were blasted by some really hard, fast wind! Our ears were numb! Besides the wind the trail started pretty tamely.

We had to take breaks every so often because the elevation was getting to us. I don't remember being in a place before where I could really tell that the elevation affected me but it certainly did here!

Then we saw this!

A patch of snow that eventually lost all resemblance of a trail and turned to this:

We walked out for about 100 yards then decided we had to be wrong and turned around. Once getting back to the trail we decided we had been right the first time so we located a set of footprints and proceeded to follow those footprints along the whole trail. Sometimes they would venture off to a vista point and we'd have to backtrack and find a different set of footprints to follow. There was no one else on the trail either...we just crossed our fingers and marched on. Our plan B was to just follow our footprints back.  Every once in a while the snow would clear and we would find the original path. Those were very happy moments filled with fist pumps and cheers!

Whenever we found a part of the trail not covered in snow, we built a cairn. We had seen one or two  at the beginning of the trail and they were shining beacons of light for us! We were also thankful we had made them on the way back.

The views all along the way were breath-taking! We were very happy with our hike choices while in Tahoe. The vista hike the day before gave us stunning views of the lake while this hike gave us more mountain views.

The snow was crazy deep! If you weren't careful you would sink down to your knee in some places. And it was like walking in sand the entire way. Our calves were burning by the end!

Thank goodness for granola bars and Famous Amos!!

The halfway point was a waterfall about 2.5 miles in. We were so excited when we found it!! I still can't really believe we were following a trail. I don't know how the people before us, without footprints to follow, knew where they were going. 

This will show you how deep the snow was! We think this sign was supposed to be closer to eye level. 

Sunk up to my knee!

See that little strip of snow between the grass and the bottom of the waterfall? Derrick and I walked down there and I almost fell into the waterfall! All of the sudden my foot fell through the snow and it made a hole straight down to rushing water. Apparently that snow is not on solid's somehow just bridged over the waterfall. We somehow made it back across without anymore incidents. 

This was supposed to be the half-way point of the hike. We looked for the other part of the trail for about 30 minutes including an incredibly steep hike up past the waterfall but we ended up giving up and going back home the way we came. There were a couple trails around there, one being 18 miles long, and we didn't want to accidentally end up on the wrong trail and end up on the other side of the lake without the car!

I still can't believe we made it! That night we celebrated two years of marriage at a little steakhouse called Old Range Steakhouse. It was one of the few restaurants in town and had pretty good reviews. We had reservations for 7:30 and showed up at 7:00. The guy said "Thank God". Apparently they don't get many diners that late and they were able to close earlier now that we had arrived earlier. The food was good and the atmosphere was strange. It was the perfect anniversary day.

I am so thankful to have been able to spend the past two years with my amazing husband. He is the calm to my crazy and I wouldn't want to be with anyone else! I love him so much and he loves me just as much...and I know that for a fact. That's pretty cool :)

Next up! Our final day in Tahoe and a feature on the many trees of Tahoe! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tahoe Anniversary

We're back! I think I have blog posts for days, weeks even! I took so many pictures in Tahoe and in Yosemite and they are all breathtaking. Not because I'm some sort of stellar photographer. You couldn't take a bad picture in these places...everything was gorgeously amazing! That being said, get ready for some photo-heavy posts for a while.

On Sunday afternoon, after Jamie's soccer game, Derrick and I headed to Lake Tahoe. If we ever move away, it's going to be because of the West coast. It was beautiful and the weather was amazing. We joked that they only thing keeping us from never going back was the gas situation. We had a very hard time 1. paying for the gas 2. pumping the gas. It may make moving to California not worth it. We finally got a full tank though and hit the windy and steep roads to Lake Tahoe.

 We stayed in the Franciscan Lakeside Lodge. They were these adorable little cottages right on the northern beach of Lake Tahoe. Nothing fancy or over the top, but cozy, convenient, and just perfect! 

Our whole cabin was about 200 square feet and it had a little wood burning stove that heated the cabin in no time. I loved it!

We arrived mid-afternoon on Sunday so we decided to do a short vista hike on Sunday. The views were incredible!


Sorry about all of the pictures but I warned you...and seriously?? Isn't it stunning?? The pictures don't even do it justice. And if you think these views are amazing, we both unanimously agree that Yosemite was even more incredible!

I was also super excited to find these giant pine cones. In fact, there are 5 in the mail on there way across the country to me right now!  Yep, I took them back to Sacramento and paid shipping to mail them to myself. Derrick doesn't understand but I can't wait til they get here! My parents used to live in California and they had brought back several. I remember this basket full of giant pine cones next to the fireplace in our old house. I was really little when we had them so in my mind they were about the size of my head. These aren't quite that big but I'm really excited to have my own basket of giant pine cones. I always thought they were amazing when I was little so I'm sure they will be a conversation starter in our house.  I googled online and found out that you should bake them to kill all of the bugs inside them. I popped them in the oven in our cabin and promptly filled the entire place with smoke....oops! I also read that freezing them was another option so after I rescued them from the oven, I popped them in the freezer for the rest of our stay. Can't wait for them to get here!

Derrick and I also practiced rock climbing every chance we got! We had hired a guide to take us climbing in Yosemite and wanted to be on top of our game ;)

This was just Day 1! I'm telling you, I took 421 pictures on this trip. They won't all make the blog but most of them are worth it so this is going to be a long series of blog posts! Check in tomorrow for our dangerous anniversary hike through the snow! I'm glad we made it out alive!