Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon (Wednesday, July 27)

We got up in the morning with the sun, basically. There aren't a whole lot of other options when your tent heats up to a million degrees the minute the sun peeps over the horizon. Miriam had moved to our bed in the middle of the night—she was cold—and she was the first one to wake up. Since she was still dry I hurried and took her out of the tent to go potty. I don't really expect her to stay dry at night yet (and we still put her to bed in diapers) but it's kind of a treat when she does stay dry.

After going potty we went away from the tents to play quietly together.

About half an hour later I heard Rachel crying.

She had wet the bed.

And I forgot to pack the washing machine.


So I washed her pyjamas and bedding in the shower and hung them out to dry. Then we had breakfast and set out to visit Goblin Valley. I have only been to Goblin Valley one other time (7 years ago) and it was approximately a billion degrees (or just 112°F (45°C)) and the rocks were hot enough to melt the flesh off your hand. Needless to say, we didn't do much exploring then.

We've had so much rain this year, though, and our summer has been so mild that the valley was surprisingly...nice. We spent a long time exploring around the "goblins." Apparently Goblin Valley was originally called Mushroom Valley, which I find equally descriptive if not more so. Everyone knows what a mushroom is. Not everyone knows what a goblin is. And how do you explain what a goblin is without scaring a four-year-old?

Grandpa told my four-year-old that they were little monsters.

She was too scared to do anything for the first hour we were there. Thus there are a lot of pictures of Rachel freaking out (and very few of her enjoying herself). Eventually Rachel calmed down and enjoyed herself but it certainly took her a long time. She was, as Grandpa likes to say (and I think he's quoting from Shrek), a donkey on the edge.

Miriam had loads of fun. It didn't take her any time at all to learn that climbing on hoodoos is one of the greatest pastimes of all.

Of course, she had a handful of teenage boys as exemplars. James (known by Miriam as Jims) was wearing a florescent green shirt and Miriam could spot him a mile away.

"Jims—up there!" she'd squeal. "Meme want up there, too!"

Phillip was another one of Miriam's favourites. She calls him "Psy-butt," which was a little confusing at first but I can totally see how she got that from Phillip. He was often "up there," too, and Miriam, of course, would follow closely behind. She rarely got to the top of anything (without assistance) but that doesn't mean that she didn't try.

Phillip climbed to the top of the taller hoodoos at the back of the park. It was pretty high up there—he's not quite at the top in this picture but you can see he's quite high as it is. He guessed that it was 80 feet tall but after hiking on Friday (where we climbed 80 feet) I'm pretty sure this was closer to 100 feet (or higher) because I'm pretty sure he was much higher up than we were.

We did go visit the cave where James is standing...well, the one under where James is standing.

It was nice and cool inside—even though it wasn't sweltering hot under the sun it was still nice to find a bit of shade.

It was right by the "path" that Phillip was taking down the hoodoo, and it was a good thing we were all chilling in the cave because Phillip got a little bit stuck coming down and needed some assistance. There were several able-bodied men ready and willing to help Phillip not break his neck.

After Phillip was safely back on the ground we played around on the hoodoos for a little while longer—like I said, playing on hoodoos is a lot of fun. My first year of girls' camp we went to Writing-on-Stone and in the evenings we played kick the can while hiding amongst the hoodoos. It was a lot of fun.

This was a lot of fun, too, although I did more helping than playing. I guess that's what happens when you're the mother—but, honestly, watching my kids have fun is just as much fun as having fun, myself.

Cue: a million (more) pictures of us having fun!

This is what happens when Andrew is armed with one camera and I'm holding the other one—way too many pictures.

Oh, there are still more pictures. We were there for a long time. And to think I've completely run out of things to say.... I mean, we were there a long time but it isn't exactly like we did a whole bunch of different things. The trip could be summed up as: we climbed on rocks—a lot.

And this was before the girls discovered the mud.

Oh, the mud.

This camping trip could pretty much be summed up as: the girls played in the mud—a lot.

Miriam was enjoying the mud with all of her senses. I took a little video of her, intending on getting a cute clip of her playing with the mud but just when I turned on the camera she took a little taste of the mud.

You'll probably have to turn up the volume pretty high to hear her responses but our conversation goes like this:

Me: Hey, Miriam! What did you eat?
Meme: Mud!
Me: Was it yummy?
Meme: Yeah.

To hear her say in her sweet, angelic voice that she was eating "Mud!" was too precious.

We took a little break for lunch, using up some of our precious water preserves to wash off the girls, and then headed over to hike Little Wild Horse Canyon, a wonderful slot canyon in the San Rafael Swell.

It's a relatively easy hike once you get over what I believe we called "dangerous rock." Apparently it usually takes only fifteen minutes to get into the canyon but it took us upwards of a half hour. 

Rachel hiked the whole way by herself and she took Rachel-sized steps, which was fine...except that it meant that we slowed everyone else down immeasurably.

Grandpa told her that the canyon would get so narrow that she would be able to put her hands out and touch both sides of the canyon. She practiced a bit so that she would be ready when the time came.

The big boys didn't seemed too annoyed by our slow pace; they were busy entertaining themselves with rock climbing, a bit of parkour, and some photo-bombing.

 We made it into what Grandpa called the "belly of the snake" but soon had to turn back.

Andrew was up ahead of us and announced that the canyon had gotten so narrow that he could go no further wearing the backpack. It took him several minutes to manage turning around so that we could head back out of the canyon.

I suppose we could have abandoned the backpack and kept going, but a storm was brewing above us and we were worried about getting trapped in the canyon during a flash flood. We had no worries about the boys being able to climb up to safety if that were to happen, but we did worry about hauling our children up somewhere high enough to be out of harm's way. 

And so we hiked out, making sure we still had fun along the way.

It was nice to not have to keep up with anyone or worry about holding anyone back (or being rained out). We made it to the car just as it started to sprinkle.

The drive back to Grover ended up being a little perilous. We had to drive right through that big, black raincloud with lightning cracking all around us and flash floods threatening to take over the road at any minute. Water was rushing across the fields on either side of us and a couple of roads were already washed out, but we made it back to camp just fine. Luckily Grandma had been there to take in the wash that I had hung out to dry and zip up the windows on our tent!

It hadn't rained too hard in Grover—just enough to get everything damp—but we did get to see a beautiful rainbow before the sun set.

Dinner was spaghetti, I believe, with salad on the side. There was a big bottle of ranch dressing on the table with the lid on (or so I thought) and I picked it up to shake it a bit before pouring some on my salad. Unfortunately the lid hadn't been screwed on tight and while I was shaking the bottle the lid flew off and I spilled ranch dressing all over. It was slightly embarrassing, but at least we were outside so clean up was a little easier.

Just after dinner Rachel came to find me and, laughing, said, "Daddy said a silly word!"

"What word was that?" I asked.

"Uncomfortable," she giggled.

Then she ran over to Andrew and said, "Say that silly word again, Daddy!"

"What silly word?" he asked.

"You know!" Rachel insisted.

"Oogetiy-boogity!" Andrew tried.

"That's not a silly word!" Rachel scoffed.

She's silly.

We put the kids to bed fully expecting them to fall asleep within seconds of hitting their pillows, but alas they stayed awake long into the night.

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