July 18, 2011

Camping and Caving and Badgers (maybe), Oh my!

WE picked up Miss Hannah Jane from girl scout camp on Saturday morning and decided to make a camping trip out of our long drive.  So glad we did. She had a blast, by the way, and had bazillions of stories to tell about every little detail.  Love it!

The woods around Sundance
We headed on further into the canyons and passed through Sundance.  I always wondered where Sundance was.  For home of one of the most famous film festivals, it sure looked small an unaccommodating.  It's gorgeous, but I can't envision how they do all they do there.  Once the kids are old enough to stay with a sitter over night (like when they are eighteen, or something) Joe and I will have to head up there and check it out.  Locals supposedly get priority for that grand event.  Anyway, now I know where the illustrious Sundance is located.  It's absolutely beautiful!  The climate is perfect.  The Quaking ASpen are divine over the thick bed of fern.  Lovely!

We camped in the Uinta Mountain National Forest.  Check our view from the tent.  My usual place in the tent is right up against the edge.  In the middle of the night I felt a little tap, tap, tap against my elbow, which was resting against the tent wall.  I opened my eyes and froze.  I listened and felt as whatever was outside poked me.  I thought about the "Bear territory" signs all over the park.  I thought back to the indigenous animals signs.  I listened carefully and hear a funny little sound.  I said, "Joe!  Scoot over!  There's something poking at me and I don't want to be against the wall anymore!!!"  He said, "Just move to the middle, then."  "what if it's something dangerous?  Should we look?"  At this moment I am wondering if this could be the sound of a baby bear, calling its mother over to eat us in our sleep."  We pop up and look out and see nothing.  I assume I scared it away.  I moved to the middle and sat awake for what seemed like forever.  I heard the funny little noise one or two more times over the course of the night.  The next day we all took our best guesses at what it was.  We decided on a badger.  Who knows, though?

We had lunch beside a waterfall.

We found a reservoir to splash around in.   The water was straight snow melt and freezing cold.  I don't know what motivates the kids to get in that stuff!  Crazy!

We found an area calle dCascade Springs that had the clearest water I've ever seen in nature.  It was Lake Tahoe clear, but shallow and filled with brown trout under the tiny waterfalls.  Gorgeous!

It was at Cascade Springs that I realized that I need to do something about the boys' hair.  A man was calling his boys back from the water's edge where our kids were and they weren't responding to his call.  He looked at us and said something like, "They must have seen all those pretty girls of yours!"  We laughed it off and Joe looked at me and said, "Well, you can't blame the guy!"  It's true.  You can't.  I want Hunter to get to keep his long surfer locks if he wants them (and he does) but hate for him to always hear people calling him a girl.  I can't figure out how to keep the hair but man him up a little.  I suppose it's not all that important, but that was a nice striking reality check the man gave me.  At least he thought they were pretty enough girls to be luring his boys to the waterfront.  Right?  :)

We hiked up to Tipanogos Cave system.  As you  may be able to tell by my completely worn out expression, this was a ridiculous hike.  Ridiculous.  I spotted ribbons in the gift shop that said I survived the hike to Tipanogos Caves so I asked the reservation woman if it was kid appropriate.  She assured me that the ribbon was merely a child's trinket and the hike was suitable for all fitness levels and ages.  She lied.  This was not the hike for littles.  Every inch of the path had a sheer drop off on one side and every inch was a steep incline.  I've never hiked anything like it.  I thought after hiking Delicate Arch with Haven on my back, we could conquer anything.  And yes, we conquered this, but the hike itself was in no way enjoyable.  And at that altitude, it feels like your lungs are incapable of pulling oxygen from the air.  My point, in short, is don't let the ticket lady fool you.  This is serious hiking not to be undertaken by those with itty bitty kiddos in tow.

We made it to the top (late for our scheduled tour) and found that because we were willing to sign up for the 7 am hike, we were getting a private tour!  Whoo-Hoo!  There were lots of times the guide said, "I don't normally show this because my large groups can't all see it, but look here!"  So that was pretty cool.

This underground lake (actually a pond of sorts, but they said lake was the technical term) was the most peaceful part of the cave trek.  So, so pretty.  I don't think the picture does it any justice.

the guide didn't realize he had the camera in panoramic mode, so it stuck all these pics together. 

 Our guide was obsessed with taking pictures for us.  We never asked him to.  He would simply say, "This is the best place for a picture," take the camera and then proceed to say things like, "Okay, we're gong to take 3 more.  Ready.  Now from this angle.  And this angle.  My, my.  Your scrap book is going to look amazing!"  It was pretty funny.  But I liked it because I am never in any family photos.  Granted the one day we have a photog in our midst, I've just made the most brutal climb of my life and look like it to boot!  But hey.  you take what you can get, right? 

After the hike, we all collapsed in the van for the long ride home.  I don't know how Joe drove.  He carried sleeping Haven all the way back down the trail; a trail which almost demanded to you work overtime in order not to run due to the steepness.  Poor guy.  What a dad, right?  He grabbed a coffee at Burger King and managed to perk up for the long ride back.

I'm so glad things worked out for our zero planning adventure!  Hunter kept calling it our accidental weekend vacation.  "We turned this weekend into a bacation didn't we?!?! And we didn't even mean to!"  I love that kid!  And I loved our weekend!  Can't wait to go back and not make that hike :()

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