2019 AF Canyon Half Marathon

Manina has run the AF Canyon Half Marathon before, but this time was different. It was much more personal.

Running for Annie

You see, our dear sister-in-law Annie was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. Annie just had surgery this week to remove the tumor and is currently going through physical and occupational therapy trying to increase mobility in her arm and leg which the tumor affected.

Manina ran for her. On an Instagram post, Manina wrote:

I have run the AF Half Marathon a handful of times but this time was a lot more meaningful. My sweet sister-in-law @annieclifford was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma (brain cancer) and she is fighting like a champ. Tears and cheers were flowing for you today girl! Love you…now go kick some trash! #cancersucks #afcanyonrunagainstcancer #13.1 #bestcheersquad #bestrunningfriends

Manina hurt her leg during a training run a few weeks ago, but she wasn’t going to let that stop her. She rested up well, doing a few workouts on the bike to keep her cardiovascular fitness for the run.

Getting warm with her running buddies before the race

Despite the injury, Manina made great time and had a nice, even pace throughout the run. She finished five minutes ahead of her target time.

All smiles and waves near mile 10
At the finish line with Drew and Ellie

Great job Manina! We’re proud of you! And we were all cheering both you and Annie on all the way.

Labyrinth Canyon Canoe Trip

Drew and I just finished up a spectacular adventure. Drew’s scout troop decided to do a four-day canoe trip down Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River as their big summer camping trip. Here is the full trip report:


We met at Scoutmaster Ben Forstner’s house at 6am with all our gear. Drew and I packed pretty light, with the exception of our food. We stopped for gas in Green Valley and ran into Manina and the girls (all except for Ellie) at the gas station, which was kind of a fun surprise. They had a week of girls camp and me and Drew were going to spend the week in the remote backcountry on the Green River.

We bought a Subway sandwich and ate it on the dirt road heading out to Ruby Ranch, where we would be launching our canoes for a 48 mile journey in our canoes. We loaded up and got out on the water, excited to begin our journey.

Departing from Ruby Ranch

We stopped for a while at a lunch spot with some meager shade offered by some scrub oak. As we were getting back on the river Ben Card was a little too eager to get back into his canoe and the scoutmaster canoe tipped over and capsized. They quickly were able to gather their gear, and no one was in any danger but it wasn’t a great start to the trip for them. (Turns out that would be the only incident the entire trip! It was funny that the experienced adults were the only ones who tipped their canoes!)

On our way down the river, we spied a promising spot with some towering cottonwood trees which would provided some much needed shade, but found it was taken by a guide and her raft.

It was getting late and some of us were getting tired and hangry. We stopped to investigate a few other spots but they were nightmares. Then stumbled on a nice spot that turned out to be great. The scoutmasters started drying out all their gear and pre-filtering water.

The Green River has so much sediment that you have to pre-treat it by pouring a solute of aluminum sulfate (alum) in a five-gallon bucket, stirring briskly with a stick or paddle and then letting the alum bind with all the sediment and sink to the bottom. Then you can pour the clear water on the top into another bucket and the use traditional filters from there. It was quite a process, but cool to see it work.

Drew filtering water from the Green River

Drew and I cooked up one of our freeze-dried meals (Mountain House Chicken & Rice) and set up our tent. Drew and the other scouts sat around a fire and chatted for a while. But we were in bed by 9pm and asleep by about 10pm and all pretty exhausted. It was plenty warm. No sleeping bag needed pretty much all night long.

Here is the GPS data for our first day in Labyrinth Canyon (started recording late, just after launching from Ruby Ranch).


We got up and made our daily oatmeal and freeze-dried fruit and then Drew and a few of his scout buddies tried some fishing. No one caught anything (then, or during the entire trip).

Drew and friends trying out the fishing

It was a beautiful, but very warm day as we set out on the water. After paddling for just about an hour in the morning we came to a little tributary called Tenmile canyon.

Drew exploring Tenmile canyon

I stopped my GPS and started preparing lunch, attempting a cold soak of some curried almond cous cous. I forgot to start up my GPS recording for this day, so my maps are missing a pretty big chunk. However, the good news is that the cold soaked cous cous turned out delicious. Definitely my favorite meal of the trip. Will definitely do that again.

After lunch Drew and his friend Andrew canoed by themselves and did great.

Drew and Andrew canoeing down Labyrinth Canyon

The troop stopped to find a geocache at 2pm. It was a pretty cool cache with some neat history, shade, and a great view.

Drew and some fellow scouts at the geocache

It was still early, but the troop decided to stay there for the night. There weren’t a ton of good camping spots and very little shade, so there was nothing to do but wait out the hot afternoon sun.

Found shade and trees barely able to support a hammock

It was brutally hot so Drew and I waited until about 9pm to set up our tents. I took a “shower” that night, pouring a liter of warm water over my head and trying to rinse off the stinky sticky. It was a nice way to end a tough day.


We got up at 6am and were ready for a big day of paddling on the river.

Excited to get up and on the river

We managed to get on the river by 8am and mostly paddled to our first stop only 3 miles down the river. We pulled into a landing for the Bowknot Bend overlook hike. We found some pretty good camping sites and in hindsight should have traveled the extra hour on Tuesday to set up camp here. But, with the water levels so high, camping space was tough to find and none of us had done the float before.

In any case, the hike and view did not disappoint. It was a beautiful overlook.

Bownight Bend Overlook

The hike must have inspired the scouts, because no one asked to stop for miles and miles. We didn’t stop to eat, electing to just snack in our canoes. No one paddled much, but we floated along at a pretty good pace given how high the river was flowing. The current pushed us along, which was a good thing. Drew didn’t have much gas left in the tank and kept a pretty dry paddle for the last hour or so.

We made another stop at the Denis Julien inscription (from 1836!) and took a quick group picture, and everyone knew our take-out spot was getting pretty close.

Even with the two hikes and 22 miles of paddling on the river, (I didn’t screw up the GPS file for day 3) we still managed to pull into Mineral Bottom by 3pm.

Kids excited to be done and anxious to cool off

Scoutmaster Ben made the satellite phone call and found out the welcome news that our shuttle was available and on its way, we would have to wait three hours and then join the other group at their combined camp at Green River State Park. But, that was way better than staying the night at Mineral Bottom. We were all excited to get done.

Drew and Seth at the finish line

We drove the crazy road out of Mineral Bottom and eventually joined the rest of the youth at 9:30pm and immediately started raiding all of their delicious food. It was so nice to eat cold, juicy, food. And be able to use running water, and cell phones, and not have to carry all of our garbage and waste (yes, all of it). We finally set up our tents at 10:30pm and Drew was out immediately. He was completely exhausted and I was too.

All there was left to do on Friday was to get home and put stuff away. It was an unforgettable week on the Green River. Labyrinth Canyon certainly did not disappoint!

Memorial Day 2019

We started the morning off by running the Run of Remembrance 5K with the whole family (except the oldest who couldn’t get herself out of bed). So proud of my peeps for entertaining my idea. Then off to the cemetery to honor the veterans in the Memorial day program. It was a great day to remember all the freedoms that we now get to enjoy because of the sacrifices others have made on our behalf. #runofremembrance #memorialday #mightyjohnsons #familybbq

via Instagram

Soccer Seasons 2019

Soccer season is over. Ellie‘s team finished the season undefeated. Ellie loves this game. She scored more goals this season than I can count and more importantly, got really good at assisting others in making goals. So proud of her. Drew’s AA team played competitively all season only losing a couple of games and finished strong in the tournament. He is fast and feisty. Way to go!

via Instagram