Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labour Day hike to Stewart Falls

“Wake up, wake up! We’re going hiking today!” Rachel shrieked and excitedly bounded onto our bed wearing pyjamas…and shoes.

“We’re not going hiking yet! No one’s ready to go—everyone’s in bed still. What time is it?”

“But you said we would go hiking today!” said Rachel, her voice rising shrilly with every word.

“Shhhhh! We will, we will. Be quiet, or you’ll wake the…never mind.”

Miriam had already heard the ruckus her sister was causing and started chirping from her crib to let us know she was ready to get up, too,“Dadadadada!” So much for sleeping in on this long weekend.

It was a long morning but we all lived through it and were very ready to go hiking when the early afternoon rolled around (especially Rachel).


We went up to Aspen Grove to hike the Timpanogos Trailhead up to Stewart Falls. It’s a two-mile hike and is easy enough, but with two little babies we found the trail a little rugged. I think we were the slowest hikers on the trail and that’s saying something because the trail was packed today.


Rachel started out in the backpack but we soon convinced her that hiking would be much more fun. She agreed to let Miriam have a turn in the backpack (which made Daddy rather happy) and after she got over her initial fear of being in the woods spent the majority of the trail skipping around happily, stopping to examine any tree, root, leaf, twig, or flower that caught her interest.


A few choice trees are already starting to display the flagrant colours of autumn. I love autumn.


Andrew was excited to see that the trees were changing colour, too, though he’s really pumped for winter instead of autumn (traitor!) and can’t wait for the first snowfall. I think he’s crazy, but I love him.


We had to stop several times to let large groups of fast-paced hikers rush past us. It seemed to take forever to get to the falls, but I think we spent about half the time waiting on the side of the path while hordes of people climbed on by.


While we were driving up to Aspen Grove Rachel was asking about the hike and we were trying to answer her questions the best we could. She was getting so excited that she could hardly talk.

“And what’s the water-fauder…ummm…the water…thing…called?”

“The water fall?”

“Yeah. What’s its name?”

“Stewart Falls.”

She maintained her crazy enthusiasm for about the first half of the hike. We found a tree that had three separate trunks and she laughed about that for a long time, but since the letter F is her default for any letter she can’t say it sounded really funny.

“That frwee had fwee frunks!”


When we were about halfway through the hike Rachel’s demeanor flipped. She had used up every bit of pent-up energy she had stored in her little body by flying all over the trail at the beginning of the hike. Now she was dragging.

“I’m so sick of walking!” she kept saying, “I’m just so sick of it! I can’t do it anymore! I can’t go on! I’m so sick of walking!”

I eventually gave in and offered her a piggyback ride. We galloped as far as I could. When I was completely exhausted I put her down and told her she had to walk. Andrew passed Miriam off to me and made up a little game with Rachel and the two of them made it happily down to the falls. I cheated a little with my charge and passed Miriam off to Uncle David for a while.


It was so cold down at the falls, and even on the trail in the shade. We’re definitely going to have a tough time acclimatizing to the cold weather—my siblings were wearing tee shirts but Andrew, Rachel, Miriam, and I were all in sweaters and were still thinking it was a little nippy. By next year maybe we won’t think this is cold but right now? Brrrr! We were up so high you could see the “icy mystery” nestled snuggly between Timpanogos’ peaks. If there’s snow, it’s too cold for me.


Rachel was so excited to play in the water at the bottom of Stewart Falls. We took her socks and shoes off and rolled her pants up snuggly around her knees. She stepped into the water and then demanded to know where the warm water was.


She did not attempt to get in the water again. Instead she sat on a boulder and had a personal picnic of apple slices, pretzels, fruit snacks, and yogurt. My dad had planned for us to roast hot dogs and marshmallows after the hike but Rachel got it into her little brain that we would be having a picnic at the waterfall. She was so disappointed that we didn’t leave at the crack of dawn this morning that I didn’t want to disappoint her again at the falls.


We didn’t stay at the falls very long before heading back. It was getting too cold and too late. It took us over an hour and a half to hike in to the falls, which was a little longer than we had planned for.


It sure was beautiful, though!


The girls were both acting tired so we decided that Rachel would ride in the backpack the whole way to the trailhead and I’d carry Miriam in the sling.


The first little ways from the falls to the main trail just about killed Andrew and me—it was steep and rocky and the girls were whiny and heavy—but we survived and made it to the top, still smiling. Almost…


After I convinced her that I wasn’t going to stop on the trail to nurse her, Miriam gave up whining and decided to pass the time by waving, smiling, and staring at the other hikers.


Rachel passed out soon after we made it onto the main trail saying, “I’m just going to take a little nap.” The sun was bothering her so I tied my scarf around her head to shield her eyes. Her head was bobbing around the whole way down the mountain.


She woke up just as we got back to the parking lot—and was a little dazed at first. I always think it’s a little disconcerting to children to fall asleep one place and wake up some place entirely different. I have a few memories of being carried from the car to my bed and it’s just a weird feeling to not quite remember how you got where you are. I suppose this late-afternoon stupor is her punishment for waking us up so early in the morning.


She soon finished waking up and was back to her perky, inquisitive self, demanding to know more about the marshmallows Grandpa had told her he’d be bringing.


Miriam also eventually fell asleep on the trail—probably twenty minutes or so before the end. It, again, took us longer than we thought it would to finish the hike but not because of children this time. We kept running into people we knew—Andrew saw two people from his MPA program out hiking with their families, and Uncle David saw one of his mission companions, David Rampton, as well as someone from his former ward. I’m guessing on that one because my mom and I decided to press on without him instead of stopping with him while he chatted. It was kind of funny to see so many people we knew—as Rampton said—on this trail out of all the other trails we could have chosen.


We had brought all of our food—including marshmallows—so that we could build a campfire but it was a “red” day so we weren't allowed to build a fire in the park. We tried some parks lower down in the canyon but they were all so crowded. Instead we decided to just go back to my parent’s house and have a cookout in the backyard. Rachel got to help roast her own hot dog. She was pretty excited about that.


My dad had the ingenious idea to bring a white chocolate bar so that the non-chocolate-eaters* in the family could enjoy s’mores along with everybody else. I haven’t had a s’more in years! It’s been longer than a decade since I’ve had chocolate. Sixteen years, in fact. Seriously. So this s’more was a long time coming. I wonder why we never thought of it before. It was goooooood!


Rachel wasn’t too sure about the sticky, melty marshmallow part of the s’more. She asked me if I would hold it for her while she ate so that she wouldn’t get too messy. I think she only had one actual s’more but she stole enough marshmallows from the bag and pieces of unmelted chocolate to equal having five or six more s’mores!


Miriam was confined to the walker while I ate. She was jealous of everything, even though she had just nursed, but figured out how to move the walker. She’ll be up and running before long.


It was a fun day, that’s for sure. Sometimes we forget about all the fun and exciting things there are to do right here at home. We used to laugh at the Egyptians who had never been to the pyramids but today we realized that is the first time we’d hiked Stewart Falls together since high school—it so happens we hiked it on our first date, though we took a different trail then—and we’ve yet to conquer Mt. Timp or any other number of quasi-famous trails. Silly us.

* Chocolate makes me feel ill so I stopped eating it. Ever. Because whenever I eat it I feel ill. I always just tell people I’m allergic to it, though I’ve never actually been tested for any allergies. My brothers have, though, and among other foods they are sensitive to enough to claim as allergies was…chocolate. So I’m just going to bet that I am allergic to it, too. White chocolate is different enough from dark chocolate that it doesn’t have the same effect.

According to Wikipedia, “Since it does not contain cocoa solids, white chocolate contains only trace amounts of theobromine…this means that white chocolate can be safely consumed by individuals who must avoid theobromine for medical reasons.”

I don’t really know if that’s what makes the difference for me…but whatever the difference I can still eat white chocolate without the same ill effects that occur when I eat dark chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. I love Stewart Falls. We hiked it at the end of May so there was still snow. I was going to attempt Mt. Timp this year, but it fell through. Looks like you all had fun. I have picture of our SF hike in my Facebook.