Green River Lakes

Aug 22, 2011

Green River Lakes

Ready for the longest post ever? Read on…knowing full well that I have to chronicle the trip for my family so there are gobs of pictures you may or may not want to see.

We have been back from our annual camping trip for a week now and I am finally getting around to writing about it. See, I hate writing about things when I don’t have my pictures of the event and I didn’t have time to sit down and upload a gazillion pictures (nor could I find my camera) until today. My sister had to call me today begging for pictures off my camera before I actually decided to send Keziah on a camera finding mission.


Green River Lakes is magical. It is the place I love most in all the world and the place where I feel the most me. I spent my summers there as a child with my precious Grandma and my bestest cousin, Camille. Camille and I would talk all night, wake up to a delicious many-course breakfast, go clean the campground and outhouses with Grandpa, talk to campers and backpackers from all over the world and then come back to the lodge for lunch with Grandma. The afternoons were ours for swimming in the lake and going on hikes, which we did pretty much every day. Those summers gave me a sense of safety, family, and goodness that changed the dynamics of my soul. They taught me what I wanted to have in my family and created a yearning for family life that would give those same things to my children. I think those summers were the lifelines I needed to get through my childhood and they have greatly influenced my life choices as an adult. I will forever be grateful for the weeks I was able to spend with my grandparents.

The Wind Rivers are rugged and oh, so real. They feed my soul with strength, determination to endure well, and a type of deep grounding into my soul of what is essential in my life, who I am, and what is truth. I need these reminders every year and my mountains always deliver.

This deer wasn’t concerned with us at all. We were THIS close.


Due to the extremely wet and long spring, the mosquitoes were plentiful. By the time we had been in camp for about 24 hours, Fisher had over 200 bites on his legs alone. The bites on Annesley and Fisher will probably be healing for weeks to come. We had to drive out into cell phone range and call Tami to ask her to bring up another ten cans of bug spray.

Mom and Tami…two of my favorite people.


Scott built a swing off the bridge and everyone had loads of fun swinging out over the river.



Keziah swinging on the tree swing.


Blythe braving the frigid water. Even though it’s tradition, one never gets used to it.


My brother, Stephen, going after some trout.


Blythe and Andie.


Bridge jumping – another tradition that doesn’t get easier. There was none for me this year- drat that incision!





Raft building…not quite as stable as Huck Finn’s.


The girls spent a lot of time canoeing and Mikelle, with her leg recently having ACL, MCL, and meniscus surgery was transported all over the place in the thing, but I didn’t ever get in due to my lack of strength in my right arm. Our friend, Austin, let them borrow her kayak for an evening and now Keziah and Blythe want to buy kayaks…wouldn’t that be fun!


Cam’s rad waterproof shorts from Eddie Bauer…love the butt gusset!


I hadn’t been on a hike to the Upper Lake for a couple of years, so I was determined to make it up there this year and take my girls. Thanks to Tami keeping Annesley for me, I was able to go hiking with Richard, Blythe, Keziah, Fisher, Jared, Tiegen, Andie, and Scott. It felt so, so good to be hiking in my mountains again, to be crossing rivers and streams, and to smell the trees. There is something deeply fulfilling about walking on a trail you have walked on hundreds of times before. All the other journeys are remembered and become part of the new journey. It is something I needed this year.

View from the Upper Lake.



A bizarre way to get some rest?


Mid-hike dancing lessons…waltz anyone?


Teaching Tiegen how to dance the Swing…I even took a turn!


Keziah and Sadie…oh, how she loves our dog.


Keziah, Andie, Tiegen, Sadie, and Blythe.


The hikers on the bridge across Clear Creek. I guess if I am the one with the camera I don’t get to be in the picture. Just picture me soaking wet from the shoulders down with hair that hasn’t been washed for 14 days at this point.


Keziah and Tiegen…such good friends.


Uncle Scott refilled everyone’s water bottles with his Katadyn filter.


Blythe and Richard taking a rest


Scott and Andie


Clear Creek Falls…and yes, I could fall to my death at any moment! Had nightmares about Jared and Fisher falling off the cliff all night after our hike!


Our two smallest hikers.


Almost back to camp.


I was determined to teach my girls how to go butt-sliding down the river from the Upper Lake to the Lower Lake and we did it…fully dressed. My friend, Tonya, and my cousin, Camille, and I had done the exact same thing the summer we were sixteen and I needed to do it again. I needed to feel like I was still me and my body could still do hard things. I needed my body to remember that it is healthy and strong and brave and all this nonsense with breast lumps hadn’t changed any of that. I needed to remember as well. It feels so long since the day back in April when I knew something was growing inside of me…I feel like I have lived an entire life in that time. Somehow this hike came to symbolize a journey to remember who I am. I knew it would hurt my incision to go swimming, but I hoped just floating along with the current would be okay. It was SO fun, but I still ended up hurting pretty badly that night.

We had a few tiny hikes, one day we hiked to the cove, another day a group of cousins hiked to the cave, and my brother, Cameron and his girlfriend, Nicole, hiked around the lake and to the Upper Lake in three hours flat. Richard and Scott took children fishing every day and cooked up plenty of trout for us to enjoy.




This guy? He mastered gutting his catches with his new multi-tool from his Grandma.




We also spent lots of time playing Rook and teaching newbies how to play…a mistake since Mikelle and Nicole figured it out pretty darn quick and went on to win several games! Midnight games were enjoyed by all.

Miraculously, Mikelle made it through 11 days of camping on crutches with ten month old Easton…quite a formidable task if you ask me. Grandma played with Easton for hours and hours every day and when she was worn out, Uncle Scott took over.






Uncle Scott and Easton:


Fisher and Jared spent their days collecting bugs and bones and going on their own adventures.


It must be so fun to be a six-year-old boy without anything more important to do than finding butterflies and caterpillars. On our hike to the Upper Lake, Tiegen caught a black caterpillar for them and when we got back to camp all sorts of yellow things came out of it. It was SO bizarre to see these tiny babies come out of the caterpillar right in Fisher’s hands and all of us were baffled as to what was going on because there were hundreds of teensy creatures coming out the caterpillar’s skin and caterpillars don’t give birth, they lay eggs. When we got home, we did some research and found the explanation…wasp parasites!


Annesley and Jared, or Bubba, as she calls him are technically third cousins since Tami and I are second cousins, so I guess they could actually get married. Of course, right now, they aren’t thinking those thoughts at all, but they do love each other to pieces.


Tami’s ear got burned during a mid-day Rook game, so instead of ending the game, she decided to just hang a sock on it to prevent further damage.


Jace and Annesley playing in the water faucet.


Freezing cold head baths.


Keziah’s puppy, Scout, getting a belly rub.


Tami came all the way from Colorado, my friend, Boo, came from Utah, my brother and Nicole came all the way from Wisconsin, and Stephen and Leonard even made it up for a couple of days, so we had a huge group of people around our fire. I love sitting around the fire late at night, listening to stories and watching the stars.


Cam and Nicole.


Thanks to my mom getting there a day early and scoping out all the best campsites, we had a shady one with a stream running through camp to keep all of our food cold, lots of trees, hammocks, and our 12 x 12 and 10 x 10.



We had other visitors too! My mom’s sister Diane came up with a couple of Camille’s children. They went on big hikes almost every day…they had more energy, less little ones, and no recent surgeries in their camp!


My Auntie Beth (my grandma’s sister) and her daughter, Kathy, came up for a day and surprised us all! Kathy had never been to our mountains before and Auntie Beth had only been once many year ago.


While we were there Blythe and Andie turned fifteen and of course, we had gobs of birthday cakes and plenty of presents.












My filthy, but precious Annesley.


Two of my favorite people.


Doing yoga and all sorts of strange poses on the beach.




Eve, Keziah, and Annes spent lots of time at the lake, this time with Easton as well.


Absolute silliness.


Mikelle figured out how to curl mom’s hair with sticks or something…didn’t really work out well for her when it was combed.


Mom’s saggy eyelid


On the way home, we had the tire incident, and Tami somehow lost her pop-up camper poles, but everyone made it home safe and sound, ready to return next year to the mountains we all love.

And this mountain?


This mountain is mine. Just looking at this mountain gives me strength. A few years back I determined I would be climbing it for my 40th birthday. I am three years out and it is time to get serious about this plan and figure out just what I need to do to make it happen. Who is in?

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  1. Tory

    Hi Tracy
    Too bad we missed you up there this year. We went the week before you guys. Joe just got home last week from climbing square top – he probably could help you figure out how to get up there. He spent about a month solid on google earth researching it I think. He said it was one of his favorite hikes ever (although he says that on nearly every hike he goes on :) The pictures look great. I hope my kids grow up with a love for green river lakes like you and Joe have.

    • tracy


      I must talk to Joe! The next time you guys come visit us, please help me remember to find out everything he knows!

  2. Rachael


    Ryan & I will take you up that mountain and make sure you have all the power food and gear you need. Seriously, we need to talk about gear if you need some because we can get it almost 1/2 the price with many companies.

    • tracy


      Has Ryan done that climb? Have you? The back way has a trail…still hard, but not scaling the face of it. What gear can you get?

  3. Tami

    You know that I’m in!! I think we could even do it early… I’m READY!!

  4. dorotoro eena cabina

    Oh my gosh! You weren’t just a whistlin’ dixie, girl!

  5. the mommer who had two uglies show up in the slide show . . . um, rude!

    a whole lota nerva goin’ onna!

  6. Jenny Hanson

    I will join you!!! LOVE the pictures. Hand the camera over more so I get to see your beautiful face more on your blog!!!

    • tracy

      Oh wow! I can’t even imagine how fun that would be Jenny!!!!!

  7. mommer


    • tracy

      Isn’t it! Fisher felt pretty bad for his caterpillar to have been infiltrated by wasp babies. Pretty amazing that he got to see the whole thing happen right in his hand, isn’t it!

  8. nicole

    Hey Tracy! Love this post, especially all the pictures! We’ll have to get the ones we took to you too.. have some of the bridge jumpers and of camp. It was great to meet you all and I had a great time…now i can’t wait to teach my family rook! Cam taught me canasta the other night too! :)

  9. Rachael


    We haven’t climbed that one, but I know we can successfully do it. I can get any gear you need too. Right now we can order from Mammut, Mountain Hardwear, Liberty Mountain, and I believe OR. I know you love Keens, and we can order those too, but I’m not sure off which site. Oh, I think it’s We can order anything off their sites from sleeping bags, backpacks, hats, gloves, jackets, food, trekking poles, etc. We just recently bought freeze dried cans for our foods storage because it was cheaper for us than buying a package with Our Daily Bread. I love mountain houses food (for emergencies not long term benefits on health). You can also get climbing/hiking bars/food. You should take a look around those sites and tell me what you’re thinking.

    • tracy

      Well, I wasn’t actually thinking I would need any special gear, but I could just be way uninformed about what stuff is required! I’ll check with my family members who have climbed it and see what is needed. Thanks!

  10. Tracy, those were FANTASTIC pictures! My mom just told me about your blog. It has been fun to read up a bit on your family You are a terrific person Tracy. I recently read TJED and LOVED it. So much to learn, so much to do. Thanks for being a great example.

    Cousin Melissa

    • tracy

      Hi Melissa!

      Good to see you on here! How did you find the TJED book and what are you going to do with the information? That book changed my life and helped me grasp a concept of education for our family that I love.

      Where do you live? How many children do you have now?