What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Summer is just about over.  I took 3 breaks from work this summer.  I wish we had more time for more adventures but its time to get back to work.

I started the summer with a 1-week trip to Camp Three Falls to conduct National Youth Leadership Training for the Ventura County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  We had a staff of 15 and 28 participants.  While the week was a lot of work, I enjoyed making new friendships and renewing old ones while on the course.  The training course teaches the scouts skills that can be used throughout their lives.  Hopefully, the week at camp will help prepare the young men who attended to become the strong leaders that our nation will need in the future.

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Adventure #2 was a 10-day trip to Costa Rica.  It was our 35th anniversary this year and we wanted to do something special.  We were thinking about a trip to Hawaii, then I saw an ad for a all-inclusive “natural paradise” trip to Costa Rica.  Wendy wasn’t too sure about it at first, but once we started researching the trip, we starting thinking it was a good choice.

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We visited the Poas Volcano this first full day of the trip.  The weather is often cloudy and blocks the views, but we had a great view of the crater.

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We spent two nights in Tortuguero on the Caribbean side of the country. To get to Tortuguero, we needed to take a 90-minute boat ride to the lodge. Along the way, we saw a very large crocodile, along with lots of other tropical wildlife. This was just the beginning introduction to the area. We did two other small boat trips into the jungle and saw lots of interesting wildlife.

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Saturday night, we took a special naturalist-lead walk along the beach to watch green turtles lay their eggs. We got to see three turtles. The first couldn’t make up her mind what to do. She start making her nest, but stopped several times. We could only see her silhouette as she used her flippers to clear the area of plant material. While we are waiting for her to do something, another turtle came out of the surf. She was about 100 feet away, but we walked within 50 feet as we left to visit another turtle’s site. We were able to watch as she finished laying her eggs–between 90 and 120–and then cover them with sand. As an added bonus, we were bitten by leaf cutter ants that were in the ivy where the turtle was laying her eggs. Unfortunately, we don’t have any photos of the turtles because they don’t allow cameras or lights on the beach.

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The next two nights were spend in the Fortuna area in a lodge at the base of the Arenal Volcano.

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We also did another river trip–this one took us within a few feet of Nicaragua. I took the opportunity to walk around the fence to do a quick Nicaraguan visit.

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We also got a chance to see a little (actually a lot) of Nicaraguan rain.
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We visited the Arenal Hanging Bridges.  It was a 2-mile loop hike up and down a canyon in the rain forest.  There are 6 suspension bridges and a dozen other spans.  It was a great way to spend the morning.

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While we didn’t get a chance to see an eruption of lava on the Arenal Volcano, we did get to see the volcano venting stream and smoke.
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We finished the trip with a two-night stay at a very nice Marriott on the Pacific Coast.  It was right on the beach and had an incredible swimming pool.  It was a classy way to finish the trip.

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This sunset was in Tortuguero.  It was beautiful.  Most of the afternoons and evenings were cloudy, with rain sometimes.

We really enjoyed the Costa Rican adventure. It was one of those trip of a lifetime.

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The final adventure was a quick trip to Utah to attend a wedding and to visit Julie, Nathan, Jacob, Josh, and Ainsley.  It was fun getting a chance to be a grandpa.

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We drove up American Fork Canyon Friday and Saturday nights for a little fishing.  Jacob caught his first fish.

We also went up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Albion Basin to check out the wildflowers.

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So the summer is over and the adventures are just memories now. The change of pace was good. Seeing and experiencing new sights/sites is the way I like to spend vacation time. Finishing the summer by being a grandpa was a very good thing for me and hopefully for Jacob, Joshua and Ainsley.

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