Sunday, September 21, 2008

Helllooo! I've already seen that tree before, it's green!

Disclaimer: I was in a descriptive story telling mood (it's long)
(As an ease to the fact that their are two Will's in this story, I will highlight Will when I'm talking about little Will.)

- Click here to see the pictures from the trip

This weekend we went on a "we need to go camping sometime this year" trip down to southern Utah. We initially were looking for some place that would be sort of middle ground for those of us in Utah County to meet up with my little sister Keeley and Will who just moved to Kanab. Most of the in-between places were forecasting rain, so we decided it was worth it to just go down near Kanab where the weather looked better.

My mom found what looked like an interesting place to camp, Mukuntuweep Rv Park and Campground, which is just outside the east gate to Zion. Although we were just looking for a tent spot, that included bathrooms (my request), it also had tee-pees you could camp in and just looked sort of cool and brought back memories of our years in Nevada. We weren't able to contact them off of the website, but thought it was worth a shot to just drive there. When we got there we found out that we couldn't contact them because they were bought out 3 yrs ago and are now Village of Many Lands. The areas to rent tee-pees were still pretty cool, but expensive. The tent sites were nothing more than a very small patch of dirt, just big enough to put one tent, no picnic tables or anything else. It wasn't really what I was willing to pay for. So on to option B. There was a nice KOA about 30 min. back that we thought we would try.

On the way back, Keeley and Will suggested we stop for dinner at Buffalo Bistro in Glendale. They are known for their "wild" menu that includes buffalo, rabbit, rattlesnake sausage and Rocky Mountain Oysters. After hearing that I was surprised that Keeley had also heard they have some vegetarian options. It is a small place owned and operated by one couple and it feels like you are having dinner at their house instead of a restaurant. We started waiting outside on the deck where you can watch the guy grilling up the food as you order. Keeley tried to keep the kids entertained by helping them on the foosball table. When the outside got too cold, we moved inside. Next to our table their was a small bookshelf that had a variety of games to keep you occupied while waiting for the food. The menu was small, the vegetarian list consisted of one pasta dish, but Keeley said it was good. Will had wanted to try an exotic burger, but they only have them on the lunch menu. The rest of us all ended up with the salmon. It was definitely not the best salmon I have had, but it was still a fun place to eat. We ended the meal with some homemade cobbler that ended the meal well.

After dinner it was pretty dark and we made our way back towards the KOA hoping that it wouldn't be full, and that we would be willing to stay there. Luckily lots of open spots, and nothing that seemed too scary, at least in the dark. We found a nice large spot on the end of the row that had plenty of room for our 3 tents and kept us away from others who might not appreciate our late nights and loud kids. I had made sure that I had one of the tents in my car, because I knew my parents were going to be a couple of hours behind us. We got the tent up pretty fast even though we realized that all of the camping essentials (flash lights included) were in my parent's truck. Keeley and Will went on a walk with the dollar store flash light Maiken had luckily bought that day and found us some wood to start a fire. We stayed up hoping that the fire would last until mom and dad got there. They finally pulled in right about midnight, this is sadly not that unexpected on a trip involving my family. We helped get their tent up and all went to bed.

On Saturday we all had a lazy morning and realized we hadn't really researched anything to do on the trip, we had just spent all of our time looking for where to go. Will went and asked the camp hosts if they had any suggestions. They suggested an easy trail that was just across the street as a short hike that would be kid friendly. After watching lots of clouds stream by we debated if we were going to get rained on. Finally we decided the close hike was just what we were looking for and would keep us close if a big storm came in. The hike was a nice easy walk along an empty stream bed that looked like proof there are a lot of flash floods in the area. Shortly into the hike the rain started. It was pretty light so we kept going. It started to get harder, so we took shelter in some trees. Luckily the rain was coming at an angle, so the trees provided a pretty good block. The storm passed pretty quickly and we continued on. Along the way we spotted some very rusty axles and bumper from an old truck. Will was of course very excited. A little way further and we found scattered other portions of what we assumed was the same old truck. A little further and we found most of the back of what looked like an old chuck wagon truck. For the rest of the hike Will kept asking where more rusty trucks were. Actually for the rest of the whole trip he kept asking to see more old rusty trucks. I'm afraid he now thinks that all hikes include seeing rusted out trucks. Towards the end of the hike he started telling us that the dead trees lying along the trail looked like broken down trucks and even made up a song on the way down that was mostly the repeating of "broken down truck and broken down trees."

The trail ended after awhile and we switched to following the river bed until that also ended. My dad wanted to keep going to try and get a better view of some rock formations on the top of the mountain. He of course was convinced that if we just went a little further, ok now just a little further, it has to be right above that ridge. Once it got to the point that you were having to scale sections of the mountain we knew the little kids were not going to make it any further. Me, Maiken, my mom and the kids turned around and went back. Will was riding on my shoulders and fell asleep about half way down. It's sort of hard to keep a kid that is asleep on your shoulders, on your shoulders.

About an hour after we returned to camp my dad, Will and Keeley returned. They had made it to the top of the ridge we were on, but after their recounting, it was a good thing we turned around when we did. The two dogs were obviously worn out and were pretty quiet the rest of the night. After a late lunch and some more sitting around, the talk turned to driving down the road and letting mom and dad get a look at the two close towns, Glendale and Orderville. When we were first driving through I looked at Maiken and asked what year we were in, they are obviously a few behind. Orderville's tax base is limited to three rock stores that are all right in a row. Because we spent about an hour deciding if we were going to do something (another usual for the fam) most everything was closed by the time we went on our drive. There was one rock store open and the family went in to check it out. I waited in the car. We drove by the artist Maynard Dixon's home and studio in Mt. Carmel and got some pictures of the mountain ridge that makes several appearances in his paintings. That was about the limit of what there was to see, so we headed back to camp for dinner.

This morning after breakfast we packed up and headed down to Kanab to check out Keeley and Will's place. Kanab is definitely a change of scenery from Seattle for them, but I think it fits them. Overall it was a fun and low-key trip. It's nice to have Keeley and Will back within easy visiting distance and made the good-byes much easier.

Other random highlights/lowlights:

- On the drive down Lucia asked again if we were there yet. A tired Maiken told Lucia to just take in the scenery and look at the trees and rocks. Lucia's response "Helllooo! I've already seen that tree before, it's green!"

- Camping did not effect Will's desire to be pantsless.

- The campsite had beautiful willow trees that were covered in black aphids. They are very fragile bugs and when you go to brush them off, they instantly squish and become a dark red smear on you. We all spent the weekend looking like we were bleeding all over our hands and arms.

- Will's first comment when going into Keeley and Will's house, "where's your toys?"

- Will's non-stop asking to see old rusty trucks, including at Keeley and Will's house.

I'm sure there are others that I just forgot, but I think you get the picture :)


Kristen said...

Sounds so fun. And a good way to say goodbye to summer.

Megan said...

It sounds like your trip was fun. I have to admit that growing up I always wanted a family that sat around trying to decide what to do. It sounds weird but my parents always planned several 10 mile hikes on our camping trips when all I wanted to do was sit around and play games :)

Tracie Bramhall said...

Awwww, the outdoors! It sounds like a great family trip. I love your story and I love that Will made a song about rusty trucks and broken down trees. What a boy!

Susie said...

The town of Orderville has this awesome place that sells rundown antique cars you can fix up. Corey and I stop by there every time we are down there. I bet Will would love all the rust in that yard! Sounds like a fun trip.

Britta said...

Helllooo! I wish we were there!