Monday, June 27, 2011
I realized that I forgot to post 2 pictures from the sand mountain. First, Jason & his cousins on the very top.
And then poor Jared’s face after he “swam” down the sand mountain.
He was pretty miserable there for a while, and his scalp was covered with sand too. He’d been all hot and sweaty (climbing sand mountain would do that to anyone!) and so the sand just stuck to his head. Poor boy was a good sport about it.
After we were done playing at the sand mountain we drove into the park one more time. We went to the Delicate Arch overlook so that everyone who hadn’t been lucky enough to hike in for the sunrise could still see it. I’d forgotten how far away it is from the overlook—a mile is a long way. Like I said before, I’d also forgotten how many people there would be there, now that we’d been spoiled by our private viewing. But the overlook hike was much easier for everyone to do, even the babies got to come.
Jared had a meditative moment.
The kids all wanted to go back to Double Arch to climb more, but we realized what time it was and that we needed to head home. So we had an elegant lunch in the parking lot,
and then started the drive back to Andra’s house.
Our mini-family reunion at Arches was great! Next time we’ll just do it longer, and persuade more people to come!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday afternoon the kids and I took MAJOR naps. After dinner one of my brother in laws wanted to go and check out a big sand hill across the highway from the entrance to Arches. Hill nothing, when we got there it was obvious that this was a sand MOUNTAIN! The kids were already climbing up, but I had no desire to try it. But then my sister and sister in law climbed all the way to the top and started calling my name, and I felt shamed into giving it a try.
I thought I was going to die, my heart was pounding so hard. I tried to stay dignified while I climbed, but by about halfway up I gave up and used my hands too. About halfway I had to stop and recuperate for a while before the final push. When I finally made it up to the top my sister was shocked that I had done it, since I’m “so old” and had hiked to Delicate Arch that morning. I couldn’t tell her I’m not that old…I was still breathing too hard!
Coming down the sand mountain was lots of fun. We slid and jumped and ran and then all too soon we were back at the bottom, and there was NO way we were going back up!
The next morning before we went into Arches we decided to stop at the sand mountain and take some pictures to show what we had done and where we had been. It was supposed to be quick; take pictures fast, in and out.
We took a few pictures.
(this picture doesn’t even show how high this mountain was…)
But then before we could get everyone back in the car one person started climbing, and then another, and before too long we’d lost control and they were all climbing. Even my dad climbed to the top, and we were afraid the whole time he was going to have a heart attack. Fortunately he made it all the way up and all the way down with no visible damage.
And everyone loved coming down.
First my brother Jeff came down like a crazy person. Then my dad came down more sedately. And then my brother in law Brent was another crazy person. It was so much fun!
I decided that one of the things I loved about the sand mountain was that it was just serendipitous fun. Not anything that we’d planned, but because we were willing to go with the flow it was something that turned out to be really fun…
Thursday, June 23, 2011
After our beautiful sunrise hike we drove back to the condos and ate breakfast with everyone.
Have I mentioned yet who was there? We had:
- Me, with Jason, Rachel, Jenna, & Jared (Russ was home working and Josh was getting ready for High Adventure)
- My sister Andra, her husband and their eight kids
- My brother Ben, his wife and their two kids
- My brother Jeff with his two kids
- My sister Laila with her husband and five kids, which includes the three month old twins!
- My dad & Ramona
It was quite the party!
After breakfast we went back into Arches. Everyone wanted to go to Double Arch, which we call “the place where you can throw bouncy balls.” I already knew that my kids love Double Arch so that was fine with me.
We spent quite a bit of time at Double Arch two years ago, and my kids were looking forward to climbing all over this beautiful formation again. Last time Jason (who loves to climb) was way up high in a little nook. Two people sitting near me commented on how high “that boy” was.
“I’ve heard that he is descended from mountain goats,” I told them.
The kids lost no time starting to climb to as many high places as they could reach.
I even did a little climbing.
At one point there were only Watsons in Double Arch—I think we scared everyone else off!
Even the twins had a good time at Double Arch. First they got fed,
And then I held them while Andra and Laila went to climb. My shade kept disappearing so I had to improvise as well as I could.
The kids climbed and climbed and climbed, until finally it was time to go and get lunch. We never did go to any other arches, and when we thought we had extra time the next day all of the kids wanted to go back to Double Arch!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Two years ago when I was getting ready for our Utah trip I decided that we were going to drive on I-70 through Colorado rather than go on 80 through Wyoming again. Then when I was looking at the map I noticed that 70 also went right past Moab. That was way too close to drive by without at least stopping overnight in Moab, and so we did. We drove the beautiful road along the river, visited some arches right before sunset, and then watched the stars once it got dark. The next day after a lot of deliberation we decided to hike to Delicate Arch. It was hot and I felt like I pulled the triplets the entire hike. But it was so worth it once we were there.
This year I definitely wanted to hike in to Delicate Arch again, but I decided that it would be a great adventure if we hiked in in time for the sunrise. I extended the invitation to everyone, but all of the adults decided that I was crazy. (My dad & Ramona were going to come, but she hurt her back and could hardly walk.) A few cousins did decided to come with us, so we all set our alarms for 3:15 the next morning. Crazy, I know!
The moon was almost full for our hike, and everyone had flashlights or headlamps.
The hike was much easier this time. We only had our jackets on for a little while—it was about 70 degrees when we started. And I didn’t have to pull anyone this time—all of the hiking around our neighborhood paid off.
We did have one tense moment when I realized that we had lost the path. Really, there is no path on the slickrock—there are just piles of stones every now and then to mark the way. And in the pre-dawn darkness we managed to miss one of the piles. When it became obvious that if we continued any farther we would be on the edge of a sheer cliff, I stopped everyone and we walked back the way we’d come. After a few hundred yards we saw the pile of stones off to the side, indicating that the path had taken a turn that we had missed. I can’t tell you how frantically I’d been praying during the time we were trying to find the path again, and how grateful I was when we found it again!
We were worried at that point that we would miss the sunrise, but we arrived at Delicate Arch just in time. It was surreal to get there and be the ONLY people there. Surreal and beautiful. Here is a picture of our first glimpse—you never see Delicate Arch the whole hike—not until you’re actually there. This shot was through an arch in a wall just before we rounded the final corner.
The kids didn’t waste any time walking down to the arch.
I sat and watched the sunrise with the older kids
while the younger kids climbed around like the mountain goats they are.
The sunrise was to our left and Delicate Arch was in front of us, so we had to wait a while to see the sun hit Delicate Arch. It was well worth the wait.
When other people arrived someone offered to take our picture under the arch
I took interesting pictures from all different angles.
And finally I told my little group of mountain goats that we had to head back for breakfast. It was so funny—it was still not even 7AM, and yet we had been up for hours!
I did let them do just a bit of climbing on the hike out.
I was unsure in the beginning what kind of experience it would be to do the sunrise hike. I knew that it would be an adventure for me, but would the kids enjoy it, or would they just be exhausted by it? I was actually surprised by the intensity of their reactions later in the day and in the days after—they all LOVED our adventure. They thought that being there alone was amazing, and had so much fun climbing on everything. And of course we all took big naps later that day.
PS—I hadn’t really remembered how crowded it had been at Delicate Arch when we went there before, but you can see in the picture at the top that we couldn’t even get a picture in front of the arch without someone else in our picture. On Friday we went to the Delicate Arch overlook so that everyone else could see it, and I was astounded at how many people we could see at the arch, even though we were a full mile away from it. I have to tell you, being there alone is magnificant…
PPS—It’s probably a good thing I didn’t realize when we were climbing all over at Delicate Arch that there was a major cliff on the other side!
You may have already figured out from my picture last week that the kids and I were in Moab. We were able to entice about half of my family to meet us there, and at the last minute my dad and Ramona were able to come too. We spent 2 nights (not nearly enough time, we all decided) and had a wonderful time. And my sister already has pictures up on her blog so I’m being shamed into working on mine!
We arrived in Moab Wednesday evening, via one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving on. You see, you can drive on the fast direct road, or you can drive on the scenic route road that goes along the Colorado River. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I would pick the scenic road. The river was beautiful and the canyon walls were amazing.
We were so excited to arrive in Moab at our condos and see all of the cousins. The only fly in the ointment was that the condos were around a long corner from each other so it wasn’t convenient to go back and forth. After some consultation among the parents we decided that the only thing to be done was take this
It was a brilliant move accomplished by the removal of 4 boards and 12 screws, and when we were ready to leave Jason & Robby re-attached everything and no one will ever be the wiser. (Let’s just hope the owners aren’t reading my blog!)
My dad & Ramona took everyone out to Pizza Hut for dinner; I’m not sure that Pizza Hut knew what hit them! (There were 30 of us.)
Then we went back to the condos and I went to bed early in preparation for our big Moab adventure—a sunrise hike to Delicate Arch!
~to be continued~