Some of our more daring exploits this trip:
Swimming lessons. I won’t say we are fishes yet, but at least one of our kids can probably swim to save his life now. The other two show promise of achieving that level of proficiency some day. Simon can do a wicked sweet dive with almost no splash. Oliver has pretty well mastered “monkey-airplane-soldier” as a means of moving around the pool. And little miss Elsa overcame much fear and exhaustion to stick her face in the water on more than one occasion. Tiger arms, ballerina legs, and blowing out birthday candles are likely to become a permanent part of our family swimming jargon.
Elephant Rock. We braved a cloudy, rainy day. We explored the wilderness off-trail. (Then had to retrace our steps to get back on it.) We counted hundreds of pill bugs. We were separated and miraculously reunited. (Simon went solo for 10 minutes or so when he went on ahead, but somehow came up behind us when we stopped to wait for news from ahead.) We got dirty, bloody, scraped and sprained. But we made it to the Rock and we proved that the worst laid plans make the best memories.
Hurricane. The southern Utah town, not the weather phenomenon. We stopped there to stay with my sister-in-law at her parents’ house on our way to Arizona. There was a pool, a slide, a jumping cliff, swings, dogs and cousins. Oliver wondered if that was where we were going to live forever. Sorry kid, not any time soon.
The Grand Canyon. After first surviving a somewhat sketchy motel experience (the first room they assigned us to hadn’t been cleaned from the previous tenants . . . ) we made it to the canyon and spent a couple of hours hiking down to Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail. Micah and I managed not to have heart attacks every time the kids wandered near the edge of the trail. (The kids were strictly forbidden from running and were constantly reminded to stay close to the wall.) We enjoyed watching some mule trains heading back up the canyon. And let us not forget our encounter with the ground squirrel who looked like he really was going to steal the kids’ protein bars. Elsa claimed she would have let it eat her face if it wanted to. We also saw crows (or ravens?), an elk (right next to the visitors center), and a lizard.
And finally: Micah went with his brother on a hike up the Clear Creek Canyon while Jodie and I wrangled our 8 kids for a few days. More on that later.