Friday, November 15, 2013

The PCC at The UCCC

In July, I heard from my friend Amy that a group from the Polynesian Cultural Center (located in Laie, HI) was going to be in Salt Lake and putting on a couple shows at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, located in West Valley. And that tickets were only about $10!  Going to the night show at the PCC costs around $50, I believe, and this ended up being nearly the same show, minus some of the animated videos they display on the backdrop at the PCC show, and with perhaps a few fewer dancers, which worked out well since the stage area was probably quite a bit smaller than what they have back home.

I asked Natalie and Ben if they wanted to come with us, and in the end Amy's friends didn't want to sit where we had picked out spot when we got there, so I only saw Amy for a couple minutes.  Ben suggested a good place to eat beforehand might be Mo Betta Steaks, and it was definitely some good Hawaiian BBQ at a reasonable price.

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George's bishop (Steve Laulu) was the MC and started the night out giving out T-shirts for correct answers to a variety of PCC-related trivia questions. We knew some of the answers but were sitting far enough back that we generally weren't going to be able to be heard.

The show ("Ha: The Breath of Life") kind of tells the story of a family in the islands, but mostly serves to provide opportunities to show off dances from the various island groups represented at the PCC.  To be honest I sometimes have a hard time remembering which is which.

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This Haka dance is, I think, from New Zealand, or Aotearoa, as the Maori call it

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Tahitian maybe? or Samoan? I'm just saying names of the islands now.

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One of the islands has a dance that involves fire on the ground and dancing over it and sitting on it

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I think this is when they got married or something (note to self: don't wait 3.5 months before blogging about stuff)

The highlight of the night show at the PCC and of this show as well is the fireknife performance. I was really pleased with the photos I was able to get of this part of the show.

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Two at once!

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I think the other guy was a little more skilled, but since this guy was the main character he got to do the finale

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Upper Muley Twist Canyon Hike - Capitol Reef

In June, I took a quick trip down to Utah's least popular National Park: Capitol Reef!  I'd never been before, and some friends were going down to do a hike and to check the park off their list.

We left Salt Lake after work on Friday and got down to the park pretty late.  The hike we were doing was actually about 30 miles away from the main part of the park on dirt roads.  We got to the trailhead around midnight and laid out pads and mattresses and slept under the stars and the "super" moon, which was so bright it was actually a little annoying when I was trying to sleep. :)

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We came across this cool looking valley shortly before arriving at our destination for the night and stopped to get out and admire the view.  Obviously the photo doesn't do it justice.

We woke up fairly early and hit the trail.  It was about 10 miles round trip, with most of the hike consisting of a loop, half of which was up on the ridgeline facing the Waterpocket Fold, the geologic highlight of the trip. It's a fold in the earth's crust that makes for some cool ridges, that runs for over 100 miles.  It was pretty cool to look at.

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Not far from our campsite

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Cool rock near the trailhead

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Getting started

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There were lots of cool rocks like this

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Group shot (minus Sesh) with the Waterpocket Fold in the background

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Better look at the Fold

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Hey look! I was there too!

I also stitched together a panoramic view of the fold, but I don't think it will share too well in this narrow space. I did post it to Flickr though.
Other highlights of the hike included some cool redrock, heading a little bit the wrong way down a dead-end slot canyon, lunch in another shady little slot canyon, and pretty much having the place to ourselves almost the whole time. We finally crossed paths with a handful of other hikers near the end of the day.

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For some reason this hillside reminded me of gelato

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Here's a close up on the arch in that last shot

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Nearing the halfway point

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Here's where we hit a bit of a dead end and had to backtrack to figure out where the trail went

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A shady spot for a break

Beside the Waterpocket Fold, the other advertised highlight of the hike was Saddle Arch, which I kept an eye out for throughout the hike.  It turned out to be on the other side of the loop from where we started, just before getting back to the beginning of the loop. By the time we passed it, I didn't have a ton of energy to clamber up the rocks to get a better view, so I just had to make the most of the 20x zoom on my new camera to make it look like I got up there. :)

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Saddle Arch

It was a nice long hike and my iffy hip was definitely feeling it by the end.  At one near the end, I thought about stopping to rest, but worried that I'd be unable to get back up again. :) But I was glad I went and pleased to survive the hike.

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I made it!

We got done in the afternoon and made our way back up to Salt Lake, stopping for dinner in Salina.

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Mom's Cafe

All in all a fun weekend trip.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Picking up Elder Tripp at the Airport

Sitting at the dealership, waiting for them to tell me that my battery needs to be replaced even though its good enough to start my car anytime except when I've been sitting in it (with it turned off) for at least 10 minutes.... Anyway, figured this was as good a time as any to do a little blogging. 

Ben got home from serving a 2 year mission to the Honolulu Hawaii mission in June, and we went and picked him up at the airport.  The highlights included the awkwardness of Natalie avoiding eye contact with the brother of one of the other missionaries who she'd gone out with once, as well as the fact that the missionaries stopped to chat with Thurl Bailey on their way down to where we were waiting. Guess they didn't miss us as much as we missed them. :)

Hanging up the sign on the garage

Hug for mom

Hug for dad

Hug for Natalie

Spence looking dubious/weird

Here's the video I took of his arrival:

Anyway, it's been good to have him home. He goes to school at the U and works with the athletics department, and I see him every couple weeks or so. He's currently living in Grantsville and commuting into town for school/work.