Thursday, July 25, 2013

high uintas hi!

once we got over our colds (b and i had colds that lasted a couple weeks), we decided it was high time we went into the high uintas. with our trusty xterra and gps we made it to the illusive castle lake. brian along with w and s tried to find this lake twice last summer, but without a gps it was just unfindable. actually, they were really close to it several times, but you can't see what's around you very well in the high uintas so they had no idea they were so close.

the first weekend we went up there, we just went for a day to go fishing. the fishing was exceptionally poor for all of us except w who caught the biggest fish of his life. and acutally he caught four fish (to my 0, sierra's 0, and b's 1 fish).

 w with his biggest fish ever!

 the view from the top of the rock cliff wall on the side of the lake. the wall is beautiful to look at from the ground, but the view is, perhaps, even better from the top. 

 this was the view to the water at the base of the rock wall. i had this sense that it would be so fun to dive off the top of the ledge and swan dive into the lake below, which is funny because i normally get scared just thinking of doing something like that. but looking at the rocks below was enough to make me know that my fantasy would never become a reality. 

 w and i fished off the rocks here. i thought for sure we'd catch a good fish (it looked like the perfect spot). but no dice. those fish just wouldn't bite--except, occationally, for william. i didn't have a definite bit all day.

 this was s's first fishing. she used a pole on her own and did an excellent job casting.

we decided it would be fun to go back up to castle lake the following weekend, but this time we would spend the night and camp by the lake, and then walk to another lake the following day. we got up to castle lake last friday night around 6:30. b and i set up the tent while the kids fished. we got our bear bag rigged up and then built a fire. we cooked hotdogs and then make a tin foil peach cobbler. it all tasted very good. 

 it was a beautiful night. the moon was almost full, and the sky was clear. we stayed up pretty late and could see well by the light of the moon and fire. it was great.

 b tending the peach cobbler.

 w carrying a large piece of wood. he built a log cabin from wood he found by the lake.

 the next day we woke up and headed out to the other lake. we took w there three years ago and knew that the fishing should be easy. we also knew that the other lake wasn't too far away from castle. what we didn't know was that it would be quite a bit of steep rock climbing. 

 it was a challenging lake to get to. but w and s both did really well making it there. we definitely have tough kids.

 once we got to the other lake, we weren't disappointed by the fishing. s caught a fish (her first fish EVER) on her first cast there. she reeled it in on her own too!

 look at that beauty!

 s caught a total of 7 fish there. it was so exciting!

 here's another one of s's fish. this was at a sweet spot in the lake. we all caught a few fish by those logs.

 while s and i were working on the fire, b was cleaning the fish we were about to cook, and w was doing some catch and relase fishing, we heard w call out. he was crying, and i saw b run over to him. i was tending the fire and figured that b would help w out since i couldn't think of what could have happened that would be all that bad. but then b called to me and said to run over as fast as i could. i told s to watch the fire and ran over. w--in trying to get a lure untaggled from a log--had gotten a lure stuck in the back of his head. 
w is a tough kid. he held on tightly to my arm (and sometimes my leg) while b cut the hat off his head and yanked the lure out of his head. thankfully, only one of the barbs got stuck. and, thankfully, b was there to yank it out (i get light headed pretty easily with gross body issues). he tried to pull it out gently a couple of times, but it was clear that wasn't going to get it out. so he pulled as hard as he could (which really must have hurt) and got it out. 
the amazing thing was that the wound site just looked like a pin prick in his head. it wasn't a big, bloody mess at all. we put some hand sanitizer on it and then some neosporin later, but it wasn't a bad wound at all. amazing.
w getting lure stuck in his head became his favorite story to tell of our weekend trip. all the next day at church he told everyone about how he got a lure stuck in his head.

 b cutting the limes we would squeeze on our fish. boy was that good. always remember to bring limes when you're going to catch and eat trout!

 w with the garter snake he caught in the firepit we used.

 after we made it back from the other lake, we threw on our swimming suits and went swimming in castle lake. b made it out into the lake first. with his goggles on, he was able to see some nice trout.

 w and s didn't make it into the water very far. the water was coolish (it took me a little while to get in), but it was remarkably warm for a lake at 10,000 feet that receives water from snow melt. 
i love-love-loved swimming in the lake. it was amazing to look around and take in the beautiful view from the middle of the lake. it does look different from the middle. it was one of those perfect moments in your life where you just think life is good. 
b started getting cold (shivering a lot) after about 20-25 minutes so we headed in. while we swam to the shore, my ears started getting really cold. that was my only complaint. but if i would have stayed in as long as b, i might have felt colder too.

 a picture of w's log cabin. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

escalante 2013

we went down to escalante a couple weeks ago and had a great time--as everyone would expect. we drove down early on a Friday morning and got down to the calf creek campground by 9am. we got things set up at the campground and then set off.

we used our new gps to hike to some pictographs. b was so adept at using the gps that he took us straight to the pictographs. the pictographs were cool, but, honestly, not as neat as the ones we found in the san Rafael swell in april. but neat nonetheless. later on Friday, we hiked down to boulder creek and did some fishing. the water level was lower than the last time we went down there, and, unfortunately, the fishing was very poor. but it's still a cool, shady spot nestled down in the rocks, and we had a good time. we walked back through the creek, which was really nice. w found a few snakes in the water. we also saw plenty of tadpoles in the bathtubs along the short hike back up to the road.

on Saturday, we went out on to hole in the rock road and did the spooky and peek-a-boo slot canyons. this year, we also did coyote gulch (coyote something) canyon, which was an accident and not nearly as cool as the other too. we all four made it through those narrows. they have actually made it easier to climb the rock wall up into the first canyon. it was easier this time than when we did it a couple years ago. this was s's first time to go through those narrows, and she really liked it. it is pretty magical. after we made it out of hole in the rock road, we went into escalante town to go to a thrift store and eat an ice cream cone. we had hoped to make it out to upper calf creek falls and go swimming up there, but we ran out of time to go on that long of a hike--so we went to the escalante river instead. we walked through the river and found a great little swimming hole that we all swam in. we had some goggles and looked under the water. w found a snake that he played with. s and I spotted a western wood peewee. it was great fun.

on sunday, we woke up and went into town to attend church. we always love going to church in escalante. we saw several people we knew or recognized from previous years. it was father's day, which made the talks pretty interesting. and, the good folks of escalante even gave brian a plate of father's day goodies that b was good enough to share with his wife and kids. after we changed in to our play clothes at the local park, we headed into the car and made our way to capitol reef--or, rather, just outside of capitol reef. we got out of the car and just walked into the great desert landscape looking for rocks! we had a great time looking for petrified wood, crystals, and other cool-looking rocks. I found a snake skin that a snake had recently shedded that w got to keep. then I found a squirrel tail that s wanted to keep. as you might expect, those were treasures for the kids.

 I love these knotty, wild-looking trees. can you find the kiddos amongst all of those branches?

 on our way to the pictographs.

 we were in a pretty isolated place. well, all of escalante is pretty isolated, but we didn't run into anyone on our way out to the pictographs.

 walking along the rock mountain.

 our first view of the pictographs.

 most of the pictographs were handprints.

 one of the bathtubs with a whole bunch of tadpoles.

 another bathtub.

 the boulder creek we fished in. beautiful.

 w with one of his garter snakes.

 s hanging out by the creek. notice her wet jeans. it is so much fun to walk through creeks and rivers--especially in the desert.

 me and w with our poles and wet jeans.

 s practicing her casting in calf creek. notice me and w off to the sides.

eating s'mores!
 walking through coyote gulch.
 a look down the rock wall we climbed up to get into the narrows.

 hanging out in spooky.

 look at these narrows. so much fun.

 a view from our campsite. we were right by the creek.

 our tent. we saw lots of lizards in the campground and by our tent.

 s looking for rocks outside capitol reef.

 s really enjoyed finding crystals.

 gorgeous, eh?

 s and myself admiring the cactus blossoms. these were the first good-looking blossoms we'd seen on the trip.

 we actually found some water coming up out of a spring in our wanderings. it's always amazing to find water in the desert.

 isn't that amazing? and, honestly, this picture doesn't even do the landscape justice. as b put it as we were leaving, there's this real tension when you're in a cool place like this. you see the amazing landscape and are in awe of it's beauty so you want to jump into it and enjoy it. but, once you're in the middle of it and having a good time, you can't see it from the outside and enjoy the gorgeous, sweeping views. so you want to be outside looking in while you're in the middle of it playing around. if only you could enjoy both perspectives at the same time.
another great trip to escalante. i'm hopeful that we'll be able to make it back down there in the fall. I've always wanted to go there in the autumn. keep your fingers crossed!