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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Immeasurably More

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." Ephesians 3:20

That has been our verse for the past year. God has done IMMEASURABLY MORE than either of us could have ever imagined. One year ago we began our Utah adventure - IMMEASURABLY MORE. We didn't know it at the time, but God was lining up the pieces for even bigger adventures to come! In November, Inspire Magazine was born and that adventure began - IMMEASURABLY MORE. Now we are about to embark on the adventure of having TWINS - IMMEASURABLY MORE!! We are BEYOND thankful and blessed.

We have reached the summit. We are looking at the horizon, our hearts filled with gratitude, as we stand in awe of God's beauty. That is my description of today. But to get to the top of a mountain, a LOT of trust and perseverance are required.

Our "hike" began in December of 2010 when Brad and I decided we were ready to start a family. We thought "we're young and healthy, I'm sure it will happen right away!" One month goes by, and another, and another, etc... Around the 9 month mark I started to lose hope and was very discouraged. To some, a few months might not seem like a long time, but when you're going through it, the length of time doesn't really matter. When your heart is ready for a baby, the monthly disppointment hits you at your core.

Brad and I both went to see doctors to have everything checked out. We were both healthy, there was no medical reason I wasn't getting pregnant. Not ready to dive into the world of infertility, we prayed and waited.

Then in January of 2012... a faint positive sign appeared! While Brad was at work that day, I painted signs and hung them in our living room that spelled out "we're having a baby!!"  We were SO happy! We had so much fun telling our close family and friends about our wonderful news, and thanked them for praying for us!

About 7.5 weeks into the pregnancy the unthinkable happened, I had a miscarriage. It was the most devistating thing I've ever been through. I was a wreck. I had zero control over my emotions, which was something I had never experienced before. For 24 hours I did nothing but cry and pray. It was as if God had disappeared. He was no where to be found. I found no comfort in praying or in reading my bible. He was silent. After 24 hours of God's silence I stopped praying, and starting yelling. I yelled at God for abandoning me when I needed Him the most. I yelled at him for taking this child away from us. I yelled at him for breaking our hearts. Then I stopped talking to him all together.

In the days that followed we found comfort in one another. Brad was amazing. If you were to ask me at that time what I needed, I wouldn't have been able to tell you.  But some how Brad knew. He said and did exactly what I needed, at the exact time I needed it. I felt closer to him than I ever had before.

A friend of mine who had been through the same thing told me, "If you feel like staring at a wall, then stare at a wall." It was the advice I needed. We took a break from life. We packed up the dog, and put our dirty laundry in garbage bags and headed to my parents house. We needed love, support, and a change of scenery. It was the perfect place to be.

Besides the obvious emotions of sadness, fear, and anger - I felt overwhelmed. The idea of going to the grocery store overwhelmed me. The idea of writing an email overwhelmed me. Just about anything really... overwhelmed me.

A couple weeks after we got home, I asked a friend of mine if I could come over for coffee. She knew about everything we'd been through, and her house was a "safe place" to go. We sat on her couch and I told her about God being absent and about how mad I was. She asked if we could try talking to Him together. I hesitantly said yes. We held hands, closed our eyes, and she started to pray. She was saying EVERYTHING I needed to hear... that God hadn't abandoned me that He's been by my side the whole time, that He knows about all of my tears, and that He is so sad, but He has a greater plan for our life. I knew in that moment that God had been speaking to me THROUGH the people in my life - Brad, friends, and family. That was a form of communication I had not experienced yet. God hadn't abandonded me, He was comforting me through the hugs and tears of other people. Very slowly the sadness began to fade, and we were able to get back to our lives.

Fast forward to Spring 2013. I started taking a fertility medicine called Clomid. It was inexpensive, with few side effects, so we felt comfortable starting there. There was one side effect that caught our attention - 6% chance of multiples. I've always wanted twins, but since they don't run in our families I never thought it was a possibility. I was STOKED!!  Brad thought, "it's only 6% what are the chances?!" Haha...

This time a positive sign appeared immediately on the stick!! I felt sick early on, so I took that as an encouraging sign. Since I had taken Clomid, we had an early ultrasound done at 8 weeks. The doctor said "Well I see TWO babies!" I held Brad's hand so tight, and hoped that he wouldn't fall over. Brad said later that walking to the appointment, he just had a feeling that there were two. Tears of JOY...


Yesterday we had our 12 week ultrasound. We've been anxiously waiting for this day to be here so we could see our babies again. 2 strong heart beats, perfect sizes, 4 legs, 4 arms, 2 healthy babies. Oh be still by heart. We watched them wiggle around in pure amazement. Baby A (I think a boy) was moving and dancing, "he" was even waving his arm like "he" was saying "Hey mom and dad!!". Baby B (I think a girl) was taking a nap until "brother" was getting all of the attention, then "she" decided to start moving around as well. They are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.


We will find out their genders on October 28th, two days after my birthday. What a special birthday gift. Two boys, two girls, one of each - we don't care. God already knows their names, what color their hair is going to be, the amazing plans He has in store for them, and everything in between. That's all that matters. We are just thrilled to be their mama and daddy.

It would take a years worth of blog posts to tell you about everything God has taught us over the past 32 months. We are different people than we were in December of 2011. We have a much closer relationship with God. We have a much closer relationship with each other. Those two things are worth all of the struggle and heartbreak we went through. I wouldn't change a thing.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

If you are going through infertility, our prayers are with you. It is not an easy journey. We pray for comfort and hope. If you have a loved one going through infertility, here is an excellent blog post I read a few months back, written by an incredibly brave woman.


Monday, December 31, 2012

The best is yet to come!

2012 was one for the books. Our year was full of blessings, love, adventure, friendship, dreams fulfilled, struggles, and heartbreak. I would not trade a single experience we had this year for anything. There were many life lessons learned. Here are a few I would like to share with you:

(All of these prints are 5"x7". Please feel free to pull them off of the website and print at home)


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. - Psalm 139:14 

Truly being who you are is not easy. We live in a world that is quick to judge and comparison surrounds us. The truth of the mater is we are all imperfect. The good news is we serve a perfect God who doesn't make mistakes. He created you to be the person you are. He created me to be me. I embraced and celebrated that this year - I encourage you to try it in 2013.


This was the hardest lesson I learned this year. There were many tears, feelings of confusion, anger, and emptiness before I was able to reach the point of gratitude, joy, and worship. My heart is not ready to write the details for the whole world to see, some day maybe. I love the lyrics of this song. I promise there will be at least one line meant for you. Maybe take a pen and write it down.

God is good all the time 
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine 
God is good all the time 
Through the darkest night, His light will shine 
God is good, God is good all the time 

If you're walking through the valley 
And there are shadows all around 
Do not fear, He will guide you 
He will keep you safe and sound 
'Cause He's promised to never leave you 
Nor forsake you and His Word is true 

We were sinners - so unworthy 
Still for us He chose to die 
Filled us with His Holy Spirit 
Now we can stand and testify 
That His love is everlasting 
And His mercies - they will never end 

Lord I may not understand 
All the plans He left for me 
My life is in your hands 
And through the eyes of Him I can clearly see 

God is good all the time 
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine 
God is good all the time 
Through the darkest night, His light will shine 
God is good, God is good all the time


The purpose of this blog (to share our crazy travel stories with friends & family) testifies to the statement above. When Brad and I decided to put our perfectly good house on the market in June, a lot of people thought we were crazy. There was nothing wrong with our life in Charlotte, it was pretty great actually. But who wants to settle for "pretty great" when you can have an EPIC adventure!? Over the past four months, we have experienced and seen things that we never dreamed possible. What is your idea of an epic adventure? Maybe give it a try in 2013. If it doesn't work, try again in 2014 ;)


"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
I can change the world. You can change the world. We can do it with one small act of kindness at a time.
I love the idea of a "community" called Do small things with great love - a place for people to encourage, challenge, share stories, and keep one another accountable. Who's in?


I think we grow the most during challenging seasons of life. Because of events that took place this year, I am now better equipped to handle "storms" in the future. I learned that God is ALWAYS with me, even if I can't feel his presence. His plans for me are far BETTER than anything I could imagine. And that Brad is my rock. He is proof to my previous statement. Being able to share my life with Brad is more than I could have ever hoped for.

These are things I hope to learn and do in 2013:



Life is busy; it's easy to skip quiet time. But if I learned one thing in 2012, it's the following: I can only hear God's still, soft voice when I take the time to listen. "Quiet time" looks different for everyone. I enjoy reading my bible or a devotional with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. If you ask Brad to put his feet on the floor before 9 am he is going to growl at you. He is more prone to finding moments of solitude while walking Maggie down the street. Find a time of the day and a place that works for you. 

Ears to hear and eyes to see--both are gifts from the Lord. - Proverbs 20:12



This is my #1 goal for 2013, personally and professionally.
Give more, buy less.
Worker smarter, not harder.
Focus on what REALLY matters.


I really have a heart and a passion for marriage. Mainly because I am in love with mine so much, and I wish that for everyone. I would like to pursue this passion in a few practical ways:
#1 Publish Inspire Weddings & Marriage - I pray this magazine will be full of practical and inspiring ways to plan for a great marriage!
#2 Be a positive influence - I can't talk about having a great marriage, while being sarcastic with my husband.
#3 Lead a couples small group - our church family has played such a vital role in our lives. We want to give back and be that support systems for others.


This is my hearts desire. How can you use your talents to serve others?


Yes it is!!!!!!  Wishing you all an INCREDIBLE 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chillin' with the Craigger

Craig Huxter is a piece of work.

My older brother by six years, Craig (who we call "the Craigger" for reasons I can't remember) is not someone you'll easily forget.   His personality overflows every room he walk's into.

He's a consistently happy, overwhelmingly outgoing, wound up ball of enthusiasm that seems to infect everyone around him with a jolt of electricity.  You could meet him once and ten years later you'd immediately recognize him.  You wouldn't have a choice because he'd be yelling and waving to you from across the street while stopping traffic to come say hello.  And he'd not just remember you, he'd remember your middle name, your phone number, the names and ages of your kids, their birthdays, and that thing you'd briefly discussed about your lawnmower ten years ago.

And between his bald head, piercing blue eyes and bright clothes he's not to be missed.  He never fades into a crowd - instead he commands the attention of everyone around him - without even trying.  And when he speaks you have to listen - if only because you can't imagine what he will say next.  He's not exactly shy.



He's the sort of guy who - without a second thought -  will strip to his tighty whiteys in the middle of a department store to try on a pair of pants because the changing rooms are full.  He is the sort of guy who laughs so hard in a movie theatre that everyone in the audience starts to laugh at him instead of the movie.  True stories.

And we got to spend a week with him.

Day 1: Skiing.  We went to the Brian Head Ski Resort about an hour and a half north just outside Cedar City.  When we left our house in Santa Clara (elevation 2700 ft) it was 50 degrees and sunny and we wondered how there could possibly be any snow to ski on this early in the year.  When we arrived at the top of the ski hill less than two hours later (elevation 11,000 ft) it was -12 F and blowing a gale.  What an incredible difference the elevation makes.

Sadly, Craig and I calculated that it had been over 20 years since the last time the two of us had skied together - something we've vowed to correct.




It was cold... very, very cold.  Having grown up at the base of a ski hill in Newfoundland, Canada I can remember very few days when - despite hats and goggles and face masks and thermal layers over thermal layers - it was too cold to ski.  This was one of them.    We got in a few quick runs, each followed by a quick warm up before we called it a day and headed back to lower elevations, warmer temperatures and a hot toddy or two.

Day 2: Golfing.  It was cool and crisp and clear and not a breath of wind.  We busted the bank for a round at the Sand Hollow Golf Club, a jaw dropping course set in the middle of the Utah desert with a 360 degree view set among Utah's famous red rocks.  We had a great day.  The course was wide and forgiving and the relatively low temperatures meant we had the course almost to ourselves.  The locals wore wool hats and mittens.  I wore a fall jacket.  Craig wore shorts and a t-shirt.  (Crazy bugger.)




Day 3: Hiking.  We drove through Zion stopping frequently for photos and enjoying the solitude (and scarily close encounters with deer) that come from being there during one of their slowest weeks of the year - that lull in between Thanksgiving and Christmas when everyone is too full, to tired and too broke to go anywhere or do anything.

We hiked up to the mouth of the Narrows and later to the East Canyon Overlook - which is quickly becoming my favorite hike in the park.  Never have I hiked a trail with more to see in such a short distance.  A half mile along the edge of a cliff, looking down into a slot canyon, through an alcove and then to the very edge of a 1000 ft cliff overlooking the east canyon.  Spectacular.  On our drive we saw deer, big horn sheep and buffalo.  Another great day.






Days 4 to 6: Vegas.  We stayed at the Luxor - the classic budget casino hotel.  We hit the outlet stores.  We hit the poker tables. We hit the buffet.  We walked the strip and got tickets to a show.  We even drove to an outdoor range and shot a handgun.  It was the quintessential Vegas weekend (just short of stealing a tiger from Mike Tyson).






All in all a great week with a great guy.  Love you Craigger.  Let's do this again soon.

Up next... Christmas with the Nienow clan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Random stories and photos and stuff - a collection of awesomeness

1) In addition to Bryce Canyon, we took Mom & Dad Huxter (a.k.a. Ken & Cheryl) on a day hike up into the Zion Narrows (for more photos of the Narrows see the post from September). The water was silly cold.  The kind of cold that makes you bend over, grab your knees, and stare angrily at your feet - partially to make sure they are still there and partially so they can look you in the eye while you swear directly at them.  Ken had it the worst.  His skinny little chicken legs offered him no protection at all from the cold.  Cheryl is built like a twig too but apparently has no feeling below the knees and said she was fine.




2) The drive out  the east side of Zion National Parks is spectacular.  In addition to the twisty road and tunnels through the mountains it is chock full of big horn sheep, deer and buffalo. It is a bit like driving through a really scenic animal farm - on another planet.



3) While Stephanie was out of town for her birthday I did two day hikes - Spring Creek Canyon (see earlier post) and the South Fork of Taylor Creek in Zion National Park.  Unfortunately some tool in charge of the National Park Service believes that "outdoors" is no place for a dog, so I had to leave Maggie at home.  More unfortunately I forgot to charge my camera.   This is one of the few shots I got before my camera went dead causing me to thump it repeatedly and call it nasty names.



4) What passes for law enforcement in small town Utah?  No need for actual police officers, when a mannequin will do.  We found this guy snoozing on the job, manning a police car in the bizarre little town of Kanab (which we still like to call "Kabab").  It may have been the least odd thing we saw in that town.



5) While in Kabab over Thanksgiving, we kicked back at this awesome little roadside hotel.  Far less creepy than it initially appears, instead of trying to ignore the fact that is is clearly an old outdated motel, with a neon sign and a crooked deck, they ran with the retro theme.  Turned out to be a great spot.



6) Thanksgiving dinner 2012.  We thought St. George was small and sleepy.  Then we came here.  Kabab makes St. George look like a metropolis.  Finding anything open on Thanksgiving was a challenge.  We were lucky to find this place.  Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of open faced turkey sandwiches and fries, complete with cranberry sauce.  The waiter insisted it wasn't a sandwich, it was an open faced turkey "meal".  Hilarious.



7) Just outside Kabab, is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest "no kill" animal sanctuary in the country.  Founded by a group of  friends in the 1980's it's ongoing purpose is to work towards a time of "No More Homeless Pets".  Sitting on 3700 acres in a beautiful canyon, it is now home to over 1700 pets saved from various shelters and missions around the country.  Most importantly to Stephanie, it is home to about 270 bunnies, many of which (in her opinion at least) were clearly in need a good petting, and she was more than happy to volunteer her time to do so.  I spent all my time reminding her why we couldn't bring them all home with us.



Up next.... Hangin' with my bro.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Buckskin Gulch - The most dangerous hike in North America

Buckskin Gulch is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in North America. National Geographic considers it on par, if not better than the Narrows of Zion Canyon (see September post).  Unlike the Narrows however, many - including one ominous article in Backpacker Magazine - suggests it just might be the most dangerous hike in North America.
 
It is unofficially the longest, narrowest slot canyon in the world.   At over 12 miles long, it is rarely more than 10 feet wide, but it is as much as 400 feet deep.  In parts, it gets so narrow you have to remove your backpack and shimmy through sideways. Over your head, just a narrow slit of sky, sometimes as much as 40 stories up.  And this goes on for about 6 hours (at an average pace).
 
Hiking it is relatively easy, mostly walking, a few pools of water to wade through and a few rock jams to climb over.  So where did it get this ominous title?
 
Here's the catch.  Throughout that entire 12 mile length, should the weather turn against you, there is only one place where you can climb up and out of this crack in the desert.  It is at a point called Middle Route, about 8 miles from the start.
 
Needless to say you don't want to be 4 miles into the canyon and look up to see a thundercloud pass by the narrow strip of sky above your head.  Flash floods in here can take water levels from zero to more than 20 feet deep in seconds, and it is not like you could just tread water until you found somthing to hold onto - these floods roar down the canyon like a freight train of mud and logs and rocks...
 
This is where Stephanie and I went on Thanksgiving weekend.
 
Now don't think we are too crazy.  Thunderstorms just don't happen in the late fall, so a simple check of the weather forecast to ensure rain wasn't expected was all that was needed to ensure we were not hiking to our imminent demise.  Not surprisingly, it called for clear and sunny skies with zero chance of precipitation - like virtually every day out here.

Also, we didn't hike the whole 12 miles.  After our hypothermic trip up Kanarra Creek, the weekend before, wading through frigid waist deep stagnant water didn't sound like a lot of fun so we only went in a couple of miles.  (Though I am already itching to go back...)
 

What really made it amazing were our ignorantly low expectations.   We had no idea how beautiful this hike was going to be.  Once again we were fooled by the impossibly inaccurate information online.  What we had found through Google gave us no indication that this was anything more than your average day hike.  One site even went so far as to say it was "not the most scenic canyon".  What?  Where does that person normally hike? On Mars?  It wasn't until we got back that we read further and validated what we had seen.

Further proof that almost everything you read online is total crap.  (This blog excluded of course.)


Some history... because I know you are all itching for that.

Buckskin Gulch is in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a huge (1.9 million acre!) wilderness in Southern Utah.  It was set aside as a National Monument by Clinton in the 1996.  It was the last area in the continental United States to be mapped and is still almost entirely undeveloped. Just getting to this trailhead required overnighting in the tiny little town of Kanab (which we still like to call "Kabab") and then a 40 mile drive down a two lane paved road followed by nearly 9 miles over a bumpy dirt road - and this is considered "easily accessible" (which refers to anything out here that doesn't require a high clearance four wheel drive).


The colors of the rock and the lighting made for some great shots, though to be honest, the photos we get never do it justice...


This beautiful alcove doesn't even make it into the trail description.  Just not impressive enough I guess?

See the tiny blue dot in the top right photo below?  That is Stephanie about to re-enter the narrows.

Maggie continues to be a celebrity out here.  Every other hiker we pass oohs and ahs at her tiny backpack and her "Wee l'il boots".  (And just for the record, it's not that we pamper our pooch - she drinks a lot of water and tends to tear up her paws... no really!)

Another blue dot in the middle photo below - gives things some perspective.



Fun facts:

1) In the summer, this canyon is known for it's miniature rattlesnakes.  Smaller (so they can hide better), just as deadly as a regular rattlesnake, and totally silent (so they can sneak up on you).  It is like they were specifically bred to be creepy.  We're happy to be here in the winter.

2) The debris on the log below (right) is from the last flash flood.  It was about 10 ft over our heads.
Up next.... Random stories and photos and stuff!

The North Rim - The Grand Canyon, but backwards.

The Grand Canyon gets almost 5 million visitors a year.  That is almost as many people as live in the entire state of Arizona.  Sadly, an extraordinarily high number of those people all visit the same few viewpoints on the South Rim, take the exact same photos, hit the gift shop, and are on their way back to Vegas within a few hours.
 
Not us.  Stephanie and I are pretty chummy with the ol' "GC" as we like to call her.
 
You see, a couple of summers ago we had the incredible opportunity to join Stephanie's parents (a.k.a Donna & Steve) on a hike from the South Rim to the bottom of the canyon, spend a night at the historic Phantom Ranch, and then hike back out again the following day. This is something that fewer than one tenth of one percent of visitors ever get to do - partially because getting these reservations requires luck, patience, persistence and planning everything out more than a year in advance.  Considering Stephanie and I are neither lucky nor patient, nor can tell you where we are going to be next month let alone next year, we would probably never have had the opportunity without the foresight of Donna and Steve (a.k.a. "the most awesomest in-laws ever").
 
So while we were already intimate with the Grand Canyon, over Thanksgiving we decided to take our relationship to the next level.  This time we visited the North Rim.


 
"The North Rim you say?  Never heard of it.  Picture doesn't look familiar..."
 
That is because the North Rim is to the South Rim what Lisa Roberts is to her sister Julia.   Just as attractive, but much less popular.
 
Less than 10% of visitors ever go to the North Rim.  Even though it is only 10 miles from the South Rim as the crow flies, what a ten miles it is!  It requires 212 miles of driving to get there, and that is enough to deter anybody but the most hardcore sightseers. Add to that, the fact that the Park facilities were closed for the winter, and the fact that the road to the park was only still open because of the late arrival of snow, and you have the perfect scenario for people like us.  It was almost deserted.
 
How many times in life do you get to spend a sunny afternoon gazing at one of the seven wonders of the world?   Not many.  Now, how often do you get to do that it in almost total peace and solitude with nobody but your beautiful wife and your crazy dog?  In our case, once.


 
Here's a couple of fun facts:

1) The North Rim is 1000 ft higher than the South Rim, so the distance to the bottom is greater.

2) From the North Rim you can see all the way down to the Colorado river - something you cannot typically do from the South Rim.

3) Dogs seem to have little or no appreciation for spectacular scenery.

 
Maggie loved the hikes to the many crazy view points, but wasn't a big fan of the viewpoints themselves.  We aren't sure if she has a fear of heights, or was just really annoyed that each viewpoint meant the end of the trail and that we were going to force her to pose for photographs, and then turn around and head back to the car.

 
It was crisp, it was cold, it was clear.  It was awesome.
 
And while not all the views were as jaw dropping as the quintessential postcard view from the South Rim, there was more variety of scenery, a more natural, laid back feel, and more crazy rocks to climb out on when you feel like scaring the be-jeebers out of your wife. 


 
One of the neatest things was looking across the canyon at the trails we had hiked down and up on our previous visit.
 
As we sat there in silence, enjoying the quiet and solitude, we could look across and see the sun glinting off the cars packed with tourists lined up on the South Rim. Poor buggers.

 
This viewpoint in particular was incredible.  It must be really spectacular in the morning with the sun at your back.


 

Up next... Buckskin Gulch - The most dangerous hike in North America
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kanarra Creek - an experiment in hypothermia


You'd think we would know better.

Stephanie grew up in South Carolina, proving she know better than to mess with cold water.  I, on the other hand, grew up in Newfoundland, which for all intents and purposes is the North Pole (see the map in the Bryce Canyon Post).  Up there it starts snowing before Halloween and carries on pretty much non-stop until Easter.  If you are lucky, it warms up enough for it to all melt by Memorial Day.  That gives you three lovely months of wind and rain before it turns back into snow again.

One thing that you learn quickly in a place like Newfoundland is that staying warm - and especially dry - is not just nice, it is a necessity. Those who fail to learn this at a young age, generally don't make it to an old age.

Once when I was quite young we were walking across a frozen lake to our cabin when my father made a rare lapse in judgement, failed to test a weak spot of ice and fell through up to his neck.  I have vivid memories of him jogging around us in circles trying to stay warm (and keep his clothes from freezing solid), as we hurried to the cabin and the promise of dry clothes and a warm fire.

Why then, 30 years later do we find ourselves purposely dunking our feet into icy cold water in a frozen stream miles from our car? Let's just say it was an experiment - one that was to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was indeed far too late in the year to be doing  hikes in canyons with running water.

The canyon was carved by Kanarra Creek, creating another gem of a hike just north of us outside the town of Kanarraville.  The creek makes up the entirely of the small town's water supply, and so understandably, they politely request that if you hike there, you leave your dog at home.  Considering Maggie's general aversion to cold water (something she learned from Stephanie I am sure...) it was probably a good thing anyway.
At about 6000 ft elevation, there was already snow on the ground and the small stream was just starting to freeze.  Crossing the creek on the smooth ice covered rocks was a bit like trying to hold your balance while stepping on a loose pile of lightly buttered bowling balls.
We were able to keep our feet dry for most of the hike in, but once the valley narrowed into a tight slot canyon, walking in the water was the only option.  So on top of the slippery rocks, the the ice cold water left us with virtually no feeling below our knees.   It is surprising we didn't bust our butts more than we did.
The highlight of the hike was a short but spectacular slot canyon with a small waterfalls that you had to climb past using possibly the most rickety ladder we had ever laid eyes on.
All in all, we spent about 30 minutes exploring and photographing the canyon, all while trying to stay out of the water as much as possible, and trying to ignore the frostbite that was clearly setting into our toes.
When we got back to the car later that afternoon, we laughed at our frozen pant legs, and as we untied our frozen shoe laces, decided that perhaps we would choose dry canyons in the future - or at least until spring.

Up next... The North Rim - The Grand Canyon, but backwards!