We were off like a herd of turtles on Tuesday morning with a good weather forecast, only 30% chance of rain and a high of 70. Mark had been insisting all morning that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY everything was going to fit in our Dodge Yak (see previous post), and as usual, I ignored him because I think he just misses his Tahoe with the pod on top, and of course, everything fit. Silly man, we didn't even bring a stroller or a high chair or anything like that. He still claims that this was the tightest squeeze yet, with Leslie in the front seat perched and buckled atop a doubled-up foam mattress. Luke was fabulous in the car and I patted myself on the back for having Mark get me a nice thermos to pack his hot bottle water in.
Goblin Valley was awesome.
|Happy children, blue skies.|
|Leslie, Cooper and Macy. It was a bit tricky to get everyone to stay together.|
|Everyone but our youngest two had their BYU regalia on at some point of the trip. There were tons of other Utah county folk down with their families for spring break.|
|I wish Mark was in this picture, too. Boston and Cooper are off on the left, then Macy, Luke and I, and Leslie. This was really a perfect time to take Luke hiking because he loves being outside and he's not too heavy for me to pack around for hours.|
|See that stuff up in the top right corner? That's called foreshadowing.|
About halfway through, "How Great Thou Art", one of the kids let out a squeal. I turned and saw this thick rivulet of mud running inside of our little shelter and pouring down our backs. We tried to adjust seating, only to notice three or four MORE streams of mud converging on our little "shelter". Mark and I looked at each other and started to laugh. Macy and Cooper started to cry, and Boston started to "moan". (He later declared that he was not crying, just moaning.) Mark told the kids that we'd better hurry back to our van through the storm and they plunged out into the deluge as soon as I had turned Luke around facing me in his pouch. I was glad that he had a hood on so that I could mostly protect his little face, but his poor chunky legs had about 3 inches of exposure, so I tried to alternate keeping his hands warm and his legs warm. The rain was mixed with icy snips of sleet.
I had heard about rain in the desert and flash floods, but I had never seen one in person. Luckily we were not in a place (like a slot canyon where we had planned to go next) where the water would have gotten deep enough to be dangerous, but it was still amazing to watch the transformation. I probably would have appreciated it slightly more had I not been up to my ankles in it and trying to keep from slipping the mud, and jumping over the wide shallow creeks while negotiating the crazy terrain with three crying children, a bewildered teenager and a mystified, cold and wet but angelic baby. Good thing I remembered to bring my intrepid husband. The whole scene reminded me of an old western my family likes called "Westward the Women", where the Chinese cook and his boss keep slipping full body into the mud looking for the grave of Jim Quakenbush during a storm. That part is hilarious but I always thought that the mud wouldn't have been that bad. Well, now I know I was wrong. That valley was one giant mud pit, it was JUST like the movie, and we had to cross it or die. Well, not die, but I think the kids thought they were gonna die, especially with the thunderbolts chasing them the whole way.
About halfway through the kids stopped crying (I had been pointing out that Luke wasn't crying, and he was the baby!) and started listening to Mark who was telling them that it was going to be okay, that our family can do hard things. We do TOUGH STUFF around here! Macy later pointed out that we just always have to keep trying. Who knew that this would be the binding, memorable family lesson moment that we would take away from our trip?
And now we have the proof of survival. The man who snapped these "We are the Champion" shots for us declared that these would be going on our Christmas card this year. We'll see.
The rain soon stopped and Green River was dry and warm, so we bid those tricky Goblins adieu for this year and loaded all of our wet clothing into a jumbo washer at the local laundromat. I did pack extra clothes--just not extra jackets and we knew we would want them that evening when it cooled off. The shoes were a problem. I didn't want to run that much mud through the wash and I was worried they wouldn't get dry anyway. Amazingly, I had somehow packed a dozen WalMart bags intending to use them for diaper disposal, and we were soon clad in some pretty funny looking socks. We had a lovely barbecue dinner in the park and the kids played on the playground. All the kids fell right to sleep that night. We Days are resilient.