We've just finished our first week of summer break (by the way, the kids are out of school (I haven't written about that yet because I'm drowning in writing fodder)) so to celebrate making it out alive, we went on a family adventure.
I feel like we haven't done many family adventures lately (I realize we just went to Idaho and then the girls and I went up to Canada and then Andrew and I went to North Carolina...shhhhhh) because we've been so stressed out over living life in limbo. We still have no solid plan for the future so we're embracing our back up plan, which will include another year of job hunting. While we're grateful for the work we have for the coming year, something a little more steady would be nice.
Part of embracing our back up plan is reinstituting weekend adventures (you know, when Andrew's not off at conferences/interviews). So last weekend we hiked the Y (obviously) and this evening we went up Diamond Fork Canyon to do a little hiking at Red Ledges.
Red Ledges is like a worm hole from the Wasatch Front to Southern Utah—complete with red rocks, greenery, and blue sky!
Our goal was to find the little arch we'd read about, but apparently I didn't read about it took closely because we ended up first taking the trail that heads into the canyon, which was surprisingly strenuous (my opinion of the trail was probably tainted by the fact that I decided to take a turn packing the baby around and because I didn't know where all the cliffs were on the trail and a certain someone (*cough* Benjamin *cough*) kept scampering up ahead of everyone on the path.
Anyway, before we got to the strenuous part, we had spent some time enjoying the red walls of the canyon for a while.
Here's Miriam showing off her new haircut:
Grandma took her to the salon today and they cut it for free because she was donating her lovely long locks. She's been preening after since (but it is a good look for her, so I suppose some preening is justified).
Here's Rachel doing a bit of climbing, with lots of encouragement from her father. Rachel was being so timid! Benjamin...wasn't. He is also pictured here, doing some jumping (with no encouragement from anybody):
I kept trying to get a good picture of me with Alexander in the hiking backpack. This is not one of them. He looks cute. I look like a wild maniac. I think this is the one I snapped after spinning around for a bit, trying to get him to laugh. It worked; he's smiling. But, like I said, I look like a wild maniac.
Here's Miriam investigating this little cave:
And then it was my turn, sans backpack:
Alexander hung out below while I was climbing:
Here's Benjamin looking smug:
I think the kids already have lollipops in their mouths (they do; I just checked). We met some teenage girls doing a photoshoot of sorts in the canyon and they offered the kids some of their extra lollipops, which was sweet of them (but now all our pictures of the kids are with big, bulging cheeks and purple-tinged lips).
Here are a few pictures of the scenery:
Here's a picture of Miriam and Benjamin overlooking a however-many-feet-this-is ledge:
It's not terribly high, but certainly high enough to make Momma nervous. All this hiking will be good conditioning for Grover. It will help our legs get stronger and improve our endurance (as well as threshold for panicking).
Here, Andrew got a nice picture of me with the baby in the backpack (though the baby is completely enthralled by all the straps and clips so there's no way he's going to look at the camera). It's amazing what not taking a selfie can do for you:
Zoë was willing to pose for a picture with me, even if Alexander wasn't:
Here's me at the bottom of the hill, wondering if I can make it any further with the baby:
|You've got to be kidding me|
Here are the kids clinging to Andrew's legs (there's a decent drop off just a few feet to the left of Miriam):
But they're just pretending to be afraid, silly kids:
Here's the brave part of our crew at the top of a little cliff (actually the very same spot they were standing for the pictures above). The scaredy cats had already hiked down to the bottom to take this picture:
But we're pretty cute scaredy cats:
Here's some more scenery (you're welcome):
The rocks turned a brilliant red colour as the sun sank.
Oh, look! Here's photographic evidence of our little hikers sliding down the mountain on their rear ends (lucky kiddos):
Here's Andrew and Zoë at the top of the first cliff:
And the kids scooting down:
We obviously didn't find the arch, which was confusing because I remembered that the arch was supposedly close to the parking lot. And it was supposed to be a super easy hike (and what we'd just been through was no walk in the park).
So we decided to take another trail! Andrew mentioned that he'd seen a family take a different fork in the road, so we tried that fork. It wasn't really any better.
It led us to this rock face where some kind soul had left a rope to assist you in climbing up to the next part of the trail. We let the kids try out the rope but I refused to hike a trail that complicated with a baby on my back (wimpy, I know).
Plus, the family that had taken that route was coming down just as we were getting to it and the dad huffed, "We are never doing this again!" He said it was pretty difficult (and he had older kids than we did, so...yeah). He also said they didn't see an arch back there (so there was no reason for us to go look).
Instead we sat in the dirt...
And took a selfie (look—Andrew got a summer haircut, too!):
And then trudged off to the parking lot. Zoë, for whatever reason, was really excited about trying a pit toilet so Andrew volunteered to take her. So they went into the toilets and the rest of us turned to look the opposite direction (because who wants to stare at a pit toilet shack?) and lo...
...we discovered the arch!
It's really there, just north of the pit toilets!*
It's so close to the parking lot it's not even funny! In fact, if you park in the far (north)* end of the parking lot, the trail will spit you out right in front of the arch. Here's a picture of me nursing Alexander and chilling with Zoë while Andrew's up at the arch with the big kids (we are sitting on the table because the seats were super low to the ground). We picnicked on the other end (south, apparently)* of the parking lot so we didn't even try this path (obviously).
Instead of heading home we did a little more climbing around, which was well worth delaying bedtime for.
She inspired Rachel to give it a try:
And Benjamin, too, though his shortness kept him a little more grounded:
Here's Alexander hanging out on a rock:
And playing airplane with Daddy:
And here's Zoë, who had been quite the little trouper but was quickly running out of steam:
She kept begging me to give the baby to Daddy so I could hold her (by the time we loaded into the van it was already past 8:30, so no wonder she was feeling worn out):
Here are some group pictures:
Andrew mentioned this would be a nice place to do some family portraits (because it's like Southern Utah, but cooler (temperature-wise) and closer), so stay tuned to see if we end up with anything more formal than this:
Some people were setting up rappelling ropes while we were hiking around and the kids wanted to watch them, so we stuck around for a few minutes. Now they're all super interested in rappelling (so I told them to talk to their Uncle Patrick because I know nothing about the sport (I've been, like, twice—and only ever off a rappelling tower)).
While somewhat busy watching, I also took these adorable pictures:
But I wanted a cute picture of the two of them, so I called Alexander's name, hoping he would flash me a smile. And, boy, did he ever!
Like I mentioned, it was past 8:30 by the time we got loaded into the van, and then we had to stop and wait for some cows to finish crossing the road:
So it was nearly 9:00 by the time we got home (which meant we were treated to a beautiful sunset (the sun sets quite early when you're in the canyon)):
I'm glad we discovered this little place!
* I had no idea that the direction was north until I read it on someone else's blog. I'm directionally challenged like that. If you are, too, just come out of the pit toilets and walk straight ahead on the path parallel to the parking lot fence.
** Technically Andrew had already been there since his dad took the youth in their ward rappelling there ages ago (but Andrew didn't quite remember where until we'd gotten there).