Thursday, May 24, 2012

Goblin Valley (Saturday, May 19)

It was freezing when we woke up this morning. Literally freezing. As in there was frozen water outside.

So "the big kids" and Grandpa nixed their plans of doing Sulfur Creek (because that involves two hours of wading through...water) and decided that they'd head straight for Little Wild Horse Canyon and then head on to Goblin Valley and from there to home. Since they were packing up camp, the cabin was bustling with activity, which meant that we all woke up, too.

We had breakfast, I got the girls dressed...and then I accidentally went back to bed on purpose and slept until 11:00 or so while the girls played around outside and inside and Andrew and Grandma played Ticket to Ride. It was a glorious and much-needed nap but it did eat up quite a lovely chunk of the day.

After packing lunch, we headed to Goblin Valley, ourselves.

Rachel was much braver about "the monsters" this year than she was last year. Last year she was terrified and cried for a while before she relaxed and started having fun, all because Grandpa told her that goblins are little monsters and we'd be going to Goblin Valley to play on the goblins. And she believed him 100%.

He told her the same thing this year but this year she understood my explanation that Goblin Valley was named Goblin Valley because whoever named it thought the rocks looked like goblins, not because they actually were goblins, and that I grew up calling such geological features hoodoos, which isn't a scary name at all (except that it rhymes with voodoo).

Anyway, Rachel and Miriam were both excited to go hiking and climbing on the goblins.

And we took approximated one million pictures of them doing so. Are you even remotely surprised?

Rachel was scrambling all about, trying to get as high as possible and finding all sorts of "secret passages" to crawl through. 

She was marching around that valley like she owned it!

Sometimes she tells me that she's afraid of heights. Like, at the playground when I try to convince her to climb onto a platform that's just a couple of feet above my head. "I can't!" she'll claim. "I'm afraid of heights." And since she's shaking and on the verge of tears, I'll believe her.

But then she'll go and scale something of monolithic proportions and stare down at me as cool as a cucumber. It's then that I wonder whether she's really as afraid of heights as she claims she is on the playground.

This was was two or three times the height she refused to climb at the playground, silly girl.

Miriam was more of a novice hiker. 

We put her up on a few goblins but she was mostly content with staying on solid ground.

She had her own way of dealing with the steep hills:

No one but Rachel tried Miriam's method (and even she only tried it once because it turns out that all you get is a wedgie-full of sand). 

Miriam's favourite thing to do was sift through the sand. 

Last year Goblin Valley was all muddy, which meant we left there in a terribly messy state. This year I came prepared (since it had rained and rained and rained on us the night before). I brought extra outfits, plastic bags to wrap muddy clothes in, extra water to rinse children off in, baby wipes, and so forth. Apparently it didn't rain over at Goblin Valley because it was so dry that all the kids did was get a little dusty.

The sand was so soft and fine. Miriam found it very tempting and tried to eat it a couple of times (I really don't know what it is about this kid and dirt but she loves the stuff) but she actually listened when we told her not to (she ate enough of it last year to last her a lifetime).

We did a lot of waiting around while Miriam did this:

And this:

While I was waiting for Miriam to finish sifting through the sand a little gnat landed on her arm. She jumped up and ran to me crying and shaking and she didn't stop for a long time. Everyone else thought she must've fallen down and gotten scraped—perhaps broken something—she was sobbing that hard. But, was just a fly. A fly so small you could hardly see it. 

Later Grandpa called us when we happened to be in town (on our way back to the cabin) and she asked if she could talk to him. He asked her how she liked Goblin Valley.

"Know what?" she said. "A bug did land on me. And it was poisonous!"

She believes that every bug is poisonous and I'm not sure that she understands what that means except that she knows it's a very bad thing. As you can imagine, this was a very tearful camping trip for her since bugs are an unavoidable part of camping. Every cricket, every spider, every ant, every fly would set her off wailing. 

It's going to be a long summer, I can tell already.

Anyway, Rachel is a bit of a dirt-magnet, herself, and made a few sand-angels.

She was mostly cheerful while we were hiking, even though we decided that she was officially sick. We had been hoping she'd just been suffering from allergies, having been cooped up in the dusty cabin all day the day before. Alas, her cough was only getting worse as the day wore on. And we'd only brought one faux CamelBak with us and unwittingly gave her the first sip before realizing that, darn it all, she had a cough!

Not wanting to share germs, we enlisted the help of gravity to divy out our water rations.

The girls thought us squirting water in their faces was the best thing, ever! 

They stood around with their mouths open, begging for water like little birds beg for regurgitated earthworms. 

By the time we were finished hiking the girls were old hat at letting the water pool up in their mouth so that they'd get a satisfying gulp instead of just a little squirt of water.

If their clothes look a little damp in any of these pictures it's because this drinking method is not spill-proof. We spilled. A lot.

I did a little bit of climbing, too, but not much. Mostly I just followed Miriam around.

Miriam thought it a grave injustice that she should be forced to walk through the desert on her own two feet. Grandma took pity on her for a while:

Within two hours we'd all exhausted ourselves and we piled into the van to head back to Grover. In case you want to know how we exhausted ourselves, the following a few choice pictures with very little commentary because I'm just about out of things to say. Even though Goblin Valley is an interesting place to hike around and explore it's apparently not a very interesting place to write about—I believe I ran into the same problem while discussing Goblin Valley last year.

In short, we climbed on things, we jumped off of things, we played in the dirt, and we got hot and sweaty.

Here's Miriam pretending to be a goblin, herself. There are far more pictures of her on this trip for a few reasons: 1) She was a little slower-moving than Rachel was so was an easier target and 2) I was following her around while Andrew followed Rachel around and I'm the snap-happy person in the family.

In all fairness, Rachel did much more climbing and hiking than Miriam did. She was just usually a speck in the distance so she didn't show up in many pictures. We'll blame Benjamin on my inability to keep up with Rachel this year.

Both of the girls fell asleep within minutes of getting into the van. It was such a lovely, quiet ride.

We made a couple of pitstops to look for cough syrup for Rachel in the hopes that we'd be able to get a decent night's sleep. There's this gas station in Hanksville that's in a cave. It didn't have any cough syrup but suggested we try the store (yup, "the" store) in Hanksville. Instead we drove into Torrey and visited their General Store.

While I was inside comparing labels, the girls woke up from their naps.

"Did you have a good nap, Rachel?" Grandma asked.

"I didn't have a nap!" Rachel snorted.

"You did. You used my jacket as a pillow."

"I did not!" Rachel insisted.

She doesn't take naps. Even when she takes naps she doesn't take them. She must have just been resting her eyes a little...and snoring (because her nose was so stuffed up).

By the time I made it out to the car we were $8.00 poorer but rich in liquid gold—cough syrup. It had also been decided that since we were in Torrey and we were all hungry now that we'd eat out at Slacker's, a local burger joint.

Andrew said it was the best thing he'd eaten in days. He was so famished that he even polished off Grandma's onion rings (and he usually doesn't like onion rings). There's something about hiking around in the hot sun that makes you inexplicably hungry for just about anything.

After dinner we went back to the cabin and relaxed. This Grover trip has been so wonderful because our children have been spontaneously entertaining themselves, which isn't something that's ever happened at Grover before. Last year they were too afraid to leave my side for long. This year they were all about playing in the sandbox (Miriam's best friend) and hiking the hill by the cabin (Rachel's best friend). Andrew and I were able to sit and read, only glancing up occasionally to make sure no coyotes had made off with our children. It was a lovely evening.

The girls did pester Andrew to put them on the roof of the cabin, though. They had remembered this from when we went last year. At least, Rachel remembered it and talked about it enough that Miriam remembered it, too (though I'm not sure if she truly remembers it or not). So, up onto the roof the children went.

Rachel loved her time on the roof and climbed all the way to the top.

Miriam was a bit more timid about being up so high.

She was happy when Daddy helped her get back down.

Oh, and while we were reading, Rachel busted out the sidewalk chalk and drew a bunch of food chains. First she drew a picture of a python about to eat an alligator (an idea she might have gotten from YouTube) and when she showed us that we explained to her about food chains and encouraged her to draw elaborate food chains all over the porch. She drew a dolphin eating a fish, a turkey eating a worm, a shark eating a fish, a wolf eating a rabbit, a bear getting into a honey tree, and several other things. 
Her food chains ended up being relatively simple but she thought of them all by herself and didn't bother us for a good half hour.

She was pretty proud of her work. Miriam, meanwhile, was busy digging rocks out of her shoes since she'd spent the past however-long in the sandbox (which is more like a gravel-box (think kitty-litter)).

We gave Rachel cough syrup before bed and had a relatively decent sleep, compared to the previous nights. She did wake up hacking at around 4:00 in the morning and we went through a little "If you give a mouse a cookie" scenario. 

I forced her to take some more cough syrup (she hates taking medicine) so she asked for a drink of water. Since she asked for a drink of water she thought it wise that she go to the bathroom (which meant I had to help her down from and back up into the loft—going up and down the ladder for the loft was the bane of my existence this trip (a pioneer woman I am not)) and since it was so cold out in the open she couldn't warm up once she got back in bed. I didn't want to ask her to snuggle her shivering self up to Grandma so I put her to bed between Andrew and me. She still couldn't get warm so I grabbed some extra blankets and piled them on top of us.

We woke up rather sweaty in the morning (Andrew said, "What are all these extra blankets doing in our bed? Wait...what's this extra child doing in our bed? When did she get in bed with us?" He can sleep through anything) but that was the only time I had to get up the entire night so it was a good night.

Just wait until I tell you about the rest of Sunday—it was The Perfect Day.

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