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Taum Sauk Mountain

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Happy Father's Day everyone.  I'm doing some tinkering on the back-end of the website and thought I'd use some pictures from a hike we did last fall as a "test post."  This particular hike was significant as the entire family was able to summit Taum Sauk mountain, the highest point in all of Missouri!

Green Lake


We spent Memorial Day on the trail to Green Lake. As our time is short in Washington we are anxious to get outdoors as much as the weather will cooperate. Mindful of the holiday, we had had the kids watch a documentary on the Battle of the Bulge the night before and Zachary--a very imaginative child, spent much of his time far away in the woods around Bastogne, lobbing grenades at German machine gun positions and (repeatedly) dying in a very heroic manner. His late Uncle Raymond, a veteran of that battle, would no doubt have been pleased to see the energetic, if not always historically accurate reinactment by his great great great nephew. More pictures below.

Bumper Sticker

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I've spent the last week or two providing medical support for an "expedition length" adventure race called the Subaru Primal Quest. It's been a remarkable time, fascinating from a variety of perspectives. I was out observing the ropes course and spoted this bumber sticker on a truck; I found it amusing, and reflective of a sentiment shared by more than a few of the atheletes participating in the race.
My best vacation is your worst nightmare.

A Tree Mold is Made

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Rachel and I took the troop on a weekend getaway to Mt. Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. It was the first time we’ve ever taken all of the kids—in fact it was the first time Ray and I have ever been camping together. That seems hard to believe but she has always stayed home with Emma and Luke before.

Going Japanese: Kyoto

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For those of you that might not have heard, my oldest son Dunnington and I recently returned from a trip to Japan. I had considered myself reasonably well traveled, having lived in Europe and otherwise growing up all over the country--I’d even been to Canada. It struck me when we landed at Yokota Air Force Base outside of Tokyo that I had not set foot on foreign soil in fifteen years (well, not counting Canada). And this was very foreign soil.


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Yesterday we got out of the megatropolis of Tokyo and visited the woodland realm of Nikko. The above picture was taken at a famous shrine there which also serves as the tomb of one of Japan's greatest Shoguns. I don't recall his name, but his relationship with a shipwrecked Portugese sailor was the basis for the book and movie "Shogun." You can see Dunnington in a white t-shirt climbing the stairs. The outstanding feature of this shrine is that it is much more ornately decorated than any building we had seen previously. This is very un-Zen, but apparently that was the Zeitgeist. The building pictured is actually just one of the gates in the complex.

Back on the Slopes

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In keeping with the snowy theme of recent posts, here are a few pictures from when Dunn and Zach and I went skiing on my birthday. It was C-O-L-D, probably the coldest day I've been out in years.

See Dunn Run

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Dunnington started running with me a few weeks ago and already he is up to two miles! We're going slow, I'm only letting him run twice a week for now so he doesn't get hurt. Dunn was inspired to get serious when I told him I saw a whole family run St. George, the youngest member being eight years old. If he sticks with it, by the time we move to Missouri, he will be ready to train with Grandma for a marathon.

In our last episode, brothers John and Matthew took to the streets of Chicago in a brilliant if misguided 26.2 mile struggle for glory. Still heady from victory, and not the kind to rest on their laurels, the brothers solemnly resolved to meet the following year in St. George Utah to re-live the dream. In medicine, the term “folie á deux” is used to describe the phenomenon of two or more persons sharing the same delusion. In the Westhoff family, it is called “Marathon.”

Pacific Beware!

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Last week on our campout we hiked a three mile boardwalk to the ocean. When we got to the ocean, the first thing we did was take off our shoes and shirts and run to the water. We were expecting sand, but got rocks. We went in the water anyway to test our skill. When I decided to go back on the shore to dry I noticed that my foot was cut in two places. Dad was pretty sure that it was going to get infected and I kept on asking him if I was going to die. It was a miracle that it healed fine, but it sure did sting.

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