Saturday, January 7, 2012

A January Hike

 It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and I had spent too much time sitting all week, so I took the afternoon off to go hiking with the kids. Desert Boy was glad to go out, but had a couple tears because he wanted to have friends go hiking with us, and they were all busy with other activities.
 I'm not sure what Desert Girl was thinking. She was keeping warm in her coat. Not that it was all that cold--it was upwards of 50 degrees.

I wasn't entirely sure where to go, but ultimately decided to go towards a canyon not too far from our house. I couldn't get too wild, as I was driving the low-clearance two-wheel drive soccer mom van.
 On the way I spotted a large bird and noticed it had a white head. Brakes!! We stopped to admire the beautiful bald eagle. We usually have a couple that spend the winter near us, and it's always so cool to see them.

Then we continued on our way, and instead of going up into the canyon, decided to climb a "mountain" that juts up from the bench on the way up to the canyon. The "mountain" doesn't have a name, but when I deigned to call it a hill, Desert Boy was quick to disagree.
"That's a big mountain," he said.
Okay, I wasn't going to disagree.
"Do you think we can climb it?"
Good. Because I knew he could. But it would be better if we wanted to.
Before we started the hiking challenge, we had the fording the creek challenge. In the low-clearance two-wheel drive soccer mom van.

Momentum was our friend, and we made it across. Good thing, too. It would have been really embarassing to have to go for help and tell someone we had gotten the van stuck in the middle of the creek.

 Before I had gotten out of the van and Desert Girl strapped on me and the camera ready, Desert Boy and Henry had charged up the mountain. This mountain is known for lots of rattlesnakes in the summer, so it was nice to be climbing it in winter and not have to worry about them at all.

 When I finally caught up to Desert Boy, he was trying to scale the sharp limestone on a "huge" cliff. He made a good start of it, but eventually slid right down the face of it. He skinned part of his hand, getting a "blood owie." Then it was time for more tears because I didn't have a bandaid with me. I know, what an unprepared mom I was!

I convinced him we could continue, and despite great protestations, we ascended.

 We could measure our progress by how much smaller the sheep camp below looked.

 Yep, it's tough to climb a mountain with a blood owie. Really tough.
 I was amazed that there wasn't any snow. And looking up the canyon, we could hardly see snow at the higher elevations.

 We hadn't gotten too far when the kids decided it was snack time or else. So we plopped down and they happily sipped and munched away. Afterwards they were slightly more willing to continue.
 They got much more excited when we found some fossils.
 Here I am holding one for scale.
 Then the whole mindset for the hike changed. Now we were on a mission to find cool fossils.
 And cool caves. This one was big enough for the kids to climb into it.
 It turned out it had a sunroof so I could look down at them. We found several other little holes to investigate, and Desert Girl got really good at spotting them. Unfortunately my camera battery died and the spare was back in the low-clearance two-wheel drive soccer mom van, so the photo taking part of the trip was over.

We made it to the peak and enjoyed the view. Then Desert Boy was really concerned about how we were going to get back down. I told him there was a special way. And lucky for me, there was. We went down a little gully, and on the way, we saw some bones. Desert Boy entered his dinosaur paleontologist mode and immediately declared we had discovered some dinosaur bones. He asked if he could take them home. I told him that if he carried them, he could. Then we found more bones. And more. It turned out that the gully was full of sheep bones, including some recent deaths with lots of wool all around them. Desert Boy had to pick and choose what he wanted and filled up his backpack. He decided he was going to make an Emmasaurus with that day's finds, and then we might have to go back to gather more to make a Henryosaurus and a Daddyosaurus and a Mommyosaurus.
 Here are some bones he had at the end, while he's looking at a large sheep dog with a blood-covered face that came up to check us out. Fortunately she was very friendly. I tried not to dwell too much on why her fur was blood red. It wasn't too appealing.
 I tried out my new camera lens.
Hurray, we survived the mountain! Then we went home and promptly all took a nap.


jhami said...

I should have just cancelled my original plans (since they didn't pan out anyway) and went with you guys. Looks like fun! We'll have to try again sometime soon.....

Desertson said...

Nice prehistoric dino;-)

Anonymous said...

You are a natural story teller. I enjoyed your outing, and I did not have to leave my chair in Indiana.

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