Wednesday, June 22, 2016

family pics

I almost forgot this August 2015 family picture session. I'm really not going to say much about it, other than that it took place at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA and that our good friend--the amazing Julia Cook ( the photos for us. It's always tricky to get the whole family smiling at the same time--and of course only took some hundreds of photos to get the ones shown below;). I have to say, though, that my favorites are the ones where we're just messing around!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

august 2015 misc.

And to finish out August (and the summer) ... 

My sister Carrie visits from Germany, and we all get together to celebrate! Woo hoo!!

Mae has fun experimenting with pre-made fondant packets ... 

And for a random splattering: Mae and Grandma Loo get a cute pic together, the boys help with a Eagle service project, Kevin is a good sport during Bishop's Night at YW Camp, and Brooks and Mae make Joseph a spaceship (or something like that).

Happy summer days!

pacific crest trail (August 2015)

At the very end of August, Kevin took the older boys (including his awesome cousin Porter Draney) on their yearly high adventure. This time they had decided to do a 30+ mile portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at White Pass by Leech Lake and ending at Tipsoo Lake. 

This hike is at a decent elevation to start, as most or all of it is in Mount Rainier National Park. They also chose to take the continually ascending path each day since the views were supposed to get more spectacular each day as they progressed upwards!  That said, we knew just before they left that it looked like they would probably have some rain, but didn't realize at all just how much rain and cold they were soon going to experience. Let's just say it was an amazing trip, but probably not a terribly fun one. 

I'm just going to use Kevin's notes from the trip to give a run down .. 

Oh and here's my name key;):
Kevin: K
James: J
Porter Draney: PD
Porter Dueck: PJD

Day One
Lows: PJD was flu sick all day, K realized he had forgotten his boot insoles; no fish in Beutsch Lake; went to bed without the rain fly on and K and J had to get up in the middle of the night when the rain started to cover tent and gear; K's 65lb. pack is heavy!!

Highs: It was sunny and beautiful when they started out; ate melted Reese's PB Cups; got bear bags hung successfully; had fun discussing Destiny (a video game!).

In Betweens: We saw a guy swim naked in Deer Lake to get his snagged fishing line and came back with the snagged hook and even had a fish on the end of it!

Lessons Learned: snag in fishing line, but got untangled with a reward at the end...such is life; we can all do hard things...and there's a great sense of accomplishment that comes from that!

Day Two
Highs: After giving PJD one Motrin and a priesthood blessing we decided to press on, and about an hour later he was feeling great!; K and J caught fish at Snow Lake; ended the evening playing Phase 10.

LowsLate start after the night's rain; had to make a tough decision to go back or keep going forward since PJD was still sick; K found a wasp inside the tent and got stung.

In Betweens: a huge storm coming so find a good "hunkering down" spot and get both the rain fly and a big brown tarp set up for protection. 

Lessons Learned: we're always journeying to a destination and most of the time the journey is tough going. Such is life, and the true key is doing whatever is possible to stay optimistic and enjoy those is just too short not too!
Day Three
Highs: Blessed with a patch of dry weather for a bit so were able to pack up quickly, dry off some equipment, and head out to hopefully find a somewhat dry spot for the next night.

Lows: Very tough start!, right after leaving camp it started raining hard again; moving kept everyone warm but all were exhausted and soaked with rain and sweat by the time Crag Lake came into view (6 miles later) so were seriously concerned about hypothermia, especially with how cold it was--cold enough to see breath while in the tent; K was still cold two hours after getting into tent and worried about everyone not having dry clothes. 

"Long story short, I told everyone that as soon as we got to our camping destination, we needed to immediately get the tarp setup to have a place to pitch our tent somewhat protected from the constant rain...then, once the tarp and tent were setup, we were to get out of our wet clothes, into some dry ones and then climb into our sleeping bags!"

Lessons Learned: Pray and put your trust in God--he always takes care of us (like finding a perfect--probably "miraculous," fairly dry camping spot once arriving to Cragg Lake, or prompting K to throw in that huge tarp right before leaving on the trip); fear and faith can't coexist.

Day Four: 
Lows: The rain came down in buckets all night--still relentless at 7am, rain even started coming under the tent; PD's air mattress popped in the very early morning hours leaving all four guys to squish together on the remaining three pads; decided it was pouring down too hard to hike (and everything was too wet), so stayed in the tent all day.

Highs: Managed to stay in good spirits with Phase 10 and a hot breakfast (cooked by opening the front zipper of the tent and cooking very carefully under the vestibule); staying in the crowded tent managed to warm everyone up--especially on only 3 sleeping pads!; had found a slightly sloped tent spot so that the water would run through rather than pool up underneath the tent; they were happy to have brought plenty of rope so clothes could be hung all over inside the tent to dry; very brief brake of sunshine in the afternoon; K randomly found a leather belt around camp (which was great since his wet pants were starting to slip off;); read a church book together, shared testimonies, etc. 

In Betweens: The "Draney Curse" :-) proves to still be in full force (Year 1: Mildred Bacon Swim, Year 2: Ross Lake Bathroom Lockout, Year 3: PCT Air Pad Blowout)

Day Five:
Highs: K gave each of the boys a Priesthood blessing to encourage them and give them strength for the hike out; "Operation Fix Poncho with Duct Tape Part 1" succeeds; they start out warm and in good spirits; saw a mother elk and kid and a mother deer and her two fauns; had just what they needed from K's first-aid kit.

Lows: Knew they had to hike 13+ miles because of being confined to the tent the day before with the non-stop rain, meaning we also had to get up by 6am to get to our pick-up point on time; “Operation Fix Poncho Part 2” doesn't work out so well and end up tying things together to make do; the hike out was very arduous--13 wet and cold miles with a lot of elevation gain; shoulders, feet, and pretty much everywhere else are completely exhausted; K's phone glitches and can no longer track trip statistics or be used as a GPS (fortunately had an emergency "hard" map)

A very nice friend dropped the guys off at their starting point, but I was designated to pick them up at a certain time at the location outlined. I had been a little worried about them throughout the week (based on the rain and wind we were experiencing at our home; supposedly it was the worst storm at Mt. Raineer in 30 years), but I really had no idea how bad it was until I arrived at the meeting point. 

It was super foggy and really really cold. I had Joseph with me and we were both bundled up in the car and were still very chilly. As if that didn't worry me enough, they were late arriving at the meeting point--probably only by about 30-45 minutes or so, but I began to really be concerned for their welfare. 

Of course, it turned out that they were fine, and once they finally came into view we were all pretty excited to see each other. They definitely looked totally wasted, but were pretty calm, excited to update me and take a picture or two, and were especially content to take a seat in the comfy car. 

On the way home, we stopped in Buckley at an old mom-n-pop restaurant called Wally's. PD and J got the Waltimate burger which was huge!! Of course they were probably extra excited to have such a yummy, hot meal; but man, these boys can eat!

I do think K decided that if he would have known just how bad the weather was going to be, he never would have risked taking the boys on this trip. That said, I'm sure it is a high adventure they really will never forget. 

Great work guys!!

General Stats: 
PCT Survival Adventure
Start Date:
Aug 27, 2015 2:23 pm
Map: (valid until Feb 27, 2016)
30 miles
Elapsed Time:
~11 hours
Avg Speed:
2.4 mph
Max Speed:
7.5 mph
Avg Pace:
24' 42" per mile
Min Altitude:
4,043 ft
Max Altitude:
6,100 ft
Start Time:
Start Location:

46º 38' 41" N

121º 22' 59" W
End Location:
 Anderson Lake – However, really at Tipsoo Lake

46º 49' 54" N

121º 28' 27" W

ross lake family adventure (august 2015)

So, Kevin really loves hiking, fishing, camping, and all things outdoors. Yeah yea yeah, we all know that already. He also has a friend, Doug, who is equally fond of the great outdoors and is basically always up for an adventure. When Kevin and Doug get brainstorming, Melanie (Doug's wife) and I get a little nervous.

I'm pretty sure that's how this next trip got started: as a crazy brainstorm between Kevin and Doug. 

This brainstorm, after much online research, led them to drive up to Canada (Vancouver B.C.) to each purchase a Stryker inflatable boat ( 

Which then led them to research and purchase motors to go with their new inflatable boats.

Which then led Melanie and I to wonder where in the world we were going to store these new amazing, well-researched boats and motors.

Anyway, after much planning, a few hurdles to overcome, and a lot of anticipation, in August of 2015 we were on our way up to Ross Lake National Park in the North Cascades   (

Just getting there was honestly a bit of an adventure. While you can access the lake from the US side with canoes or kayaks, etc., there is currently no actual boat launch. So, we had to drive into Canada, do the whole boarder crossing thing (where I was required to dump out my carefully stored eggs), head to the small town of Hope for food and all the fresh groceries we weren't allowed to bring over the border, and then branch off on a dirt road for the National Park. 

The first night of our trip was a bit questionable, and I for one was beginning to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into. We had forgotten an item for the week that proved to be a bit difficult to find, there weren't many food choices in Hope and our Dairy Queen dinner that evening was only somewhat palatable, and about halfway along the fairly lengthy dirt road to the park, two random (and somewhat dirty and perhaps stoned) strangers emerged from the trees waiving us down--fortunately a ranger happened to be following close behind and took over the encounter. 

Then, once we made it into the actual park, there was hardly a person in sight, which is sometimes a great thing but on this particular occasion felt a little creepy. To top it off, as soon as we got out of the car to set up our tent, we were swarmed by mosquitos and bugs and had to rush as quickly as we could to get the tent assembled and jump on in.

Needless to say, I was a little worried for the rest of the week. 

But then this happened ...

The next morning was gorgeous. It was quite a bit of work getting our boat inflated and assembled and getting all our stuff loaded up--we were heading to boat-in only campsites, which really are the best in the park by far!! But once all that was done (after two boat loads), we arrived at a beautiful, serene, and secluded (in the good way) Little Beaver campground. 

We basically had our own private doc, which we utilized to its full extent.  

We spent the day enjoying the warm sunshine and the beauty of this amazing place.

In the evening we cooked dinner and messed around.

The next day was equally beautiful, and to cause even more excitement, Doug, Melanie, and family arrived! 

We had a great time hanging around camp--eating, relaxing in the hammock, and even getting in a round of backwoods putt putt golf (mini wiffle balls and random sticks or branches).

Mae managed to strike a few poses during the down time. 

And of course, we fished!!

And fished!

And fished some more!

And then before we knew it--and after plenty of game playing, swimming, boating, and rock jumping--we were on our way back home. 

We managed to fit in the boat (barely) with only one load this time, which was nice! 
Oh, and I forgot to mention, James completed his online boaters certification with Kevin before the trip, so he got to take turns "driving" the boat throughout the week--which he thoroughly enjoyed (bottom right pic). 

And that was that. Goodbye Ross Lake. I suppose we'll be seeing you again very soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

scout camp (august 2015)

I'm not going to say much about this one, as of course I wasn't actually there myself and probably could not do justice to the crazy, dirty, smelly, and fun experience.

Here's what I do know: 

These boys left on a Monday morning at the crack of dawn.
They shot rifles.
They messed around like a bunch of pre-teen/teen boys.

They ate a TON of food.
They swam (not to mention kayaked, canoed, and learned life-saving skills) in the Sound.
They played poker at night in their cabin (which could be against the rules, so mum's the word)
They did group huddles (or something).

They took a lot of goofy pictures. 
And finally, they enjoyed a beautiful week at Camp Parsons Boy Scouts Camp!!

Oh, did I mention goofy pictures (I think James' stomach is full of enormous amounts of soda).

Oops, I forgot to mention that they completed a bunch of merit badges as well--that's kinda an important part of camp, right?!

And beyond all that, I really don't want to know;).

Great work guys!!