Lindsay has embarked on a five month study tour of South America. She is starting in Ecuador, progressing to Bolivia then Peru and finishing in Argentina where she will be in a study abroad program in Buenos Aires. You can follow her blog at http://adelanteyarriba.blogspot.com/ as well as follow her on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/lindsay.fasser. We’re in contact with her almost daily (thank you Verizon International Plan + WiFi/Texting!) and she is exploring some amazing towns in Ecuador and meeting some new friends.
I love this time of year when we look back & reflect on the last 12 months. Fortunately for us, we have mostly good memories of 2016. I was struck however, when it came time to find a photo of the 4 of us together for our Christmas card, I actually couldn’t find one! It seems the Fassers were often not a dynamic foursome! That doesn’t mean we didn’t find time to be together, or that there is a lack of closeness. I think it is more of just the reality that our kids are getting older (and bigger!) and sometimes we have to divide in order to enjoy them while doing their various activities and pursuing their interests.
Lindsay happily returned to USF as a sophomore this year and has had a fabulous time at that school. This last summer she worked as a camp counselor at Camp Sealth, something she has always wanted to do. She worked most recently at a darling bakery/café called Heart Baker in San Francisco. She just wrapped her fall semester where she has chosen her major in International Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies with a concentration on Latin American Studies. She will be home with us for the next 4 weeks and then will be leaving on January 17th for Ecuador where she plans to travel for 4 weeks. In February she will arrive in Buenos Aires where she will begin a semester abroad in Argentina.
Jackson is awesome! He is a freshman at Ballard High School. He has grown so much this last year, its almost painful to watch! He continues to train and work at his Parkour sport and Free Running. He has just finished level one at the Olympic Ski School where he will work as an assistant snowboarding instructor this winter. This last summer he spent 12 days on the trail at Philmont which is a high adventure Boy Scout camp in the mountains of New Mexico. He is still working toward his Eagle Scout rank.
Scott & I are having a blast watching it all and sharing our time with the kids. Scott was fortunate to have accompanied Jackson and 40 other scouts from Seattle to Philmont. For both our guys this was a life changing experience. Scott is an adjunct professor at UW teaching a digital marketing course at the Foster School of Business. The three of us (no Lindsay) took an amazing trip to Belize over spring break! We snorkeled, rode zip lines and rafted in caves! We enjoyed the beaches and the delicious food.
We hope this letter finds you well. If you would like to see pictures from our last year please go to our family website (recently updated!) at www.fasser.net.
Michelle and the Fasser Clan
John Howell picked a great hike this year for our annual boyz excursion into the woods and off the grid. Five men entered the Never Summer Wilderness to hike, fish, drink, cross the Continental Divide (twice), play in the snow and get Rocky Mountain High (12,200′ to be exact). Participants included Rob Blake (Montana), John Howell (Texas), Pat Boyer (Arizona), Scott & Jeff Thompson (Washington) – all fraternity brothers from Trinity (San Antonio).
Click here for the photos of the trip.
Highlights and memories included:
- Everyone had early flights to Colorado to get in, get geared up, buy fishing licenses, etc.
- Fishing in Big Thompson River outside of Estes Park
- Big Kahuna BBQ dinner at Smokin’ Daves
- First day hike, 7.5 miles to Bowen Lake – 2,100′ gain – Blue Bird Day hiking, but snow started in late afternoon after we got tents set-up – nailed it!
- Saw TWO bull moose on the way to Bowen – massive! check the pictures.
- All day Saturday was snow, fishing (Pat was only winner on fishing), big bon fire, napping and relaxing. Scott got two holes of golf in to keep the tradition alive.
- Day three – Patricks Birthday! – Rewarded with 8 tough miles through Bowen Pass, Continental Divide to Parika Lake. Another bluebird day, incredible views and Pat had his Oxygen Blast birthday gift to keep us all oxygenated. Highest point was 12,200′.
- We had another great campsite about 1/3 mile below the lake – once we set-up back to lake for fishing – killed it! 5 beautiful Eastern Brook Trout (Scott 2, Jeff 1, Patrick 2, Rob 0)
- Grilled fish and bourbon tasting Sunday Night – Also, clear sky’s and bright stars for gazing
- Monday – another blue bird day for the easy 7.5 mile hike out.
Jackson and I were lucky enough to go to the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in North Central New Mexico with 29 other scouts and 13 dads from Troop 186 this summer. It was an incredible trip, an incredible experience and a bucket list hiking adventure. We were gone for 15 days in late July that started with a flight to Denver and a drive to Salida, Colorado. We spent a couple of days in Salida getting used to altitude and having fun! We spent a full day on the Arkansas river floating Browns Canyon on inflatable kayaks (Duckies) and a half day climbing on a high ropes course with Captain Zipline.
Philmont moves 23,000 people through the 140,000 acre property every summer – it’s a Boy Scout Disney Land! For more details on the operations, read my blog post on the operational and leadership lessons learned at Philmont on my business site here.
Philmont was fun on so many levels – highlights below and pictures here.
- Our crew (8 boys + 4/5 dads) hiked itinerary 9 and covered almost 70 miles over 11 days on the trail – so, lots of mileage and time off the grid
- The hike was constantly interrupted by cool activities like: black powder rifle shooting, 3D archery, sweat lodges, spar pole climbing, fly fishing and so much more
- The boys were in charge and had to be leaders – Dylan Baker was crew leader, Joe Gockowski was chaplains aid and Jackson was wilderness gia (making sure we followed leave no trace principles). I was the adult adviser and got to support the boys leadership to guide the crew throughout the trip.
- It was great hiking with the other dads – Rick, Eric, Andy and Brent – Eric taught us Euchre and we played it a lot!
- Traveling as a group of 44 people was awesome – Dave Delarco did an amazing job organizing us – Thrifty Rental Car was aweful as they didn’t have our vans ready – waited an hour to get them.
- Learning the “Philmont Way” from our Ranger, Michael (Engineering student at Notre Dame). He helped us understand where to pitch a tent, how to cook and clean our pots so bears don’t get interested, hang our food, poop + pee in the woods and much more.
- Rain, hale and lighting – scary but invigorating! Every afternoon between 12:30 and 2pm we had rain – sometimes very light and short? Most days, heavy and longer. We knew it was coming and were prepared for it. Jackson + William did back flips in the hale and we all hunkered down in lightening position on the trail when it would strike too close.
- Getting up at 3:30am to hike in the dark and reach the Tooth of Time – a rock outcropping that is the final stop before hiking back to basecamp
Philmont was a tremendous adventure with the different boys, dads and activities. Layers of intrigue and physical challenge and leadership and organization made this a once in a lifetime experience.
What an incredible trip to Belize for Spring Break! The idea started with a desire to go someplace warm, but not Mexico. Lindsay’s spring break time did not line-up with Jackson’s so it was just Michelle, Jackson and I who went to the Southern Coastal fishing village of Hopkins for 6 days of sun and fun. The village itself was small, only dirt roads, very local and the center of the Garifuna culture – people who were island dwellers that go pushed out by the British.
- Snorkeling and exploring the local Keyes (small islands)
- Tubing through a cave
- Swimming in warm water
- Our wonderful motel – The Coconut Grove – right on the beach
- Cruising through Hopkins on a rented golf cart – exploring all of the nooks and crannies of the village
- Zip lining through the jungle
- The wonderful people – very nice and social
- The great food – all sorts of sea food
Jackson created a video of some of our activities here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0_3gRpp2Ss
Here is a link to the photos from the trip – https://goo.gl/photos/dwvtoEBKKxpU27JT6