Days 2017

Days 2017

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mud Goblins: Spring Break Part 1

After spending last summer as a beached whale, and all winter as a germophobe with a newborn and an electric pump, I was SO ready for a vacation with my best friends.  Leslie obligingly tested positive for strep throat the day before we left, so she was good to go.  We decided to tackle Goblin Valley (southern Utah) since Mark and I had never been and we had heard that it is great with kids.  For camping we opted for reservations at Green River State Park (right on the edge of town with showers and hot water, near a very convenient laundromat, as you will soon see).

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.

Cooper was a bit of a mountain goat and we had to get after him for hopping from stone to stone; they are taller than they look here.  In this picture you can see the west edge of the valley where everyone parks.  We were not too far from the parking lot at this point.

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.
Captain Boston
 So, after about an hour of exploring and playing around on the hoodoos, I thought it would be cool to hike across the valley to the cliff wall on the far side.  Taking a very winding route, we were excited to make it all the way across.  Mark guesses it was about half to 3/4 mile across, tending to the longer mileage because we wound so much.  As we got to the cliff face, it started to sprinkle a bit.  No big deal, at least it was warmish, and we needed a little rest anyway.  The kids were mostly concerned about the close crashing thunder and flashes of lightning.  I told them they didn't need to worry about the lightning because we were down at the bottom of a valley.

This cool formation was the crevice in the cliff wall we were aiming at.  We thought it would be fun to hunker down here for a minute and get out of the rain and thunder.  Luke and I fit on the seat next to Leslie.  Mark talked to the kids about this beautiful creation and we started to sing the hymn "How Great Thou Art" together.  It was a lovely, serene moment and I thought, isn't it nice that the Lord is letting us make such beautiful memories together.  How nice.  Now I think He may have been chuckling a bit at this point. You can see the top of the rock starting to get wet.

This is a bit better shot of the formations above where we were sitting.  I did not yet notice the vertical lines directly above and between Leslie and Mark while I took this picture.  About two minutes later, we would find out that those lines were not rain drops. 

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.
You can see how wet we are in this picture--check out the light gray where Luke was buckled vs. the dark gray of my sweater.  No one else had a dry spot on them to compare.  I think Luke's face are red mostly from rubbing against my wet shirt than from the cold.   He had just barely started crying about a minute away from the stairs to the parking lot.  Check out Macy's wet hands--she kept crying and insisting that she didn't know how to put her hands in her pockets.  Boston has already fully recovered from the trauma in this shot.  After we removed wet jackets and muddy shoes and loaded into the car, tucking the kids into our dry blankets and bedding, he said, "That was FUN!" 

This is a great shot because you can tell how very muddy the valley got and also how far we came through the storm.  We think that we were hiding in the crevice either directly above Leslie's head or the one just to the right of Mark's head, and we looped to the right to get back because some of the hills were way to slippery to try to climb over, especially with a baby in a pouch.  A large family posed for a picture next, coming up just after us, and they were way muddier than we were, with mud slimed into almost everyone's hair.  I guess they also tried to take shelter and got plastered.

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.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Awwww, family memories. Will Mark ever take you camping again? Fun photos. We are really excited to go there in about a month.