Summers of Camping

Summers are for camping. And lake swimming and wet pups and campfires and good books. This year our summer is a little crazy with Colton gone for the majority of it and I busy photographing the most beautiful collection of brides + grooms. But when we have the chance, and when we have the luxury of seeing one another, Colton and I like to escape from the city and head for the mountains. Big clear lakes and crisp air and room for Conway to run free make our hearts sing. I wouldn't be surprised to find us living in Montana or Wyoming or Alaska for at least one season of our lives. We have a thing for big skies and wildflowers.

The Painted Hills

Sometimes on a Wednesday afternoon, in the middle of an extra long week, an adventure calls. Lately I've noticed that some of my most favorite escapes are the ones just around the corner. The simple yet spontaneous ones that don't need checked baggage or hotel reservations. The ones that only require half a tank of gas and a coffee for the road. A few weeks ago I grabbed my mom and drove east to visit one of the hidden gems of our state. It's a place I've been multiple times before yet it always seems more beautifully awe-inspiring than the last. Because sometimes, on a Wednesday afternoon, a little fresh air and a new pair of eyes is just what I need.

A Quick Trip to Thailand

At the end of the summer, after Colton returned from Afghanistan and my wedding season was coming to an end, we made a wildly impulsive decision to flee the country and head to Thailand. I think from the time I purchased our tickets to the moment we hopped on the plane, a little over a week passed. But a last minute adventure to a place we've never been is exactly the type of thing we live for. I had one room booked for the night we flew into Bangkok, but other than this we had no plans, no place to live, and no idea how to speak one word of Thai. Fortunately for us Thailand is both an especially hospitable country and one that's remarkably easy to navigate. Leaving the two of us, and only the tiny carry-on backpack we brought along, happy as clams in the Indian Ocean. ...are there clams in the Indian Ocean?

Here's a little peek into our travels. Our first stop, Bangkok, was equal parts craziness and city living. Which meant I loved every minute of it...

Thailand's finest adult beverage.

Deciding, at the airport, where we should head next...

...The south, and the ocean breeze, won our vote.

I don't think there's a single portion of the picture to the right that's in focus - nor is my hair in any state to be photographed. But I love this shot nonetheless (and the nice, non English speaking man who took it) because it's of us. And we're laughing. So fitting.

We even caught a few fabulous beach storms from the comfort of our patio.

After a few days of lazy living we were ready to move camp to something a little more...jungle-y. We hopped a plane north to Chiang Mai where we promptly found a scooter and explored the land.

We took the long and winding (uphill) road to the Doi Suthep temple, and stopped to enjoy the view along our way.

If you've been to Thailand, you'll know that Buddhist temples are no rarity. One could easily spend a year visiting only the temples in Bangkok alone. Since Colton and I are amateur sight-seers at best, we knew we wouldn't have the endurance to explore temple after temple after temple. We chose Doi Suthep as our one temple experience on the recommendation of Colton's cousin + aunt. And I'm so glad we did! It was the perfect combination of culture and history and lots of gold sparkles, all wrapped up in a perfect little rainforest package. Just my style!

Friends, it's only because I love you that I'm sharing the following picture of Colton and I. It's the type of picture that someone might steal from my sock drawer in an attempt to blackmail me into baking them Christmas cookies. So I'm preventing any such potential opportunity by sharing it with the world myself. It's ridiculous, I know this. And every time I look at it I laugh harder than the last. I'm filthy, and resemble something close to what would happen if a construction worker had a scandalous night with a Jane Fonda workout video circa 1980. But it's all okay because my husband was forced into a zip lining harness four sizes too small. This, in turn, created the illusion that he's wearing a boys size 6 short. Which, in the end, all revealed the incredible tan line he earned in Afghanistan while running in extra short, dark green, running shorts. It's a beautiful thing.

And that, Internet friends, is how the Cross's make a Christmas card.

I made Colton take a picture of me crossing this bridge. It was extra dangerous and I almost died three times while maneuvering it. I wanted him to have a photo of me from our last adventure together, just in case I didn't make it.

Also in Chiang Mai we made a point of scooter-ing to see a few tigers.

And then our life-long dream of cuddling with a giant jungle cat came true!!

Back in the city, we ate way too many sarabao Thai-Chinese-dumpling-things from this sweet lady who has been in business for over sixty years.

A soaking wet Colton and our white water rafting guide whose only two English words were 'Stop' and 'Go'. He really streamlined the rafting experience as we knew it.

Jade + silk as far as the eye could see...

Throughout the trip we were also snapping away on my iPhone. I've put together a little montage of the in-between moments from our adventure. Because some things, like seaweed Pringles, just can't be left out.

Happy Adventuring!