Monday, March 30, 2009

weekend in southwest Utah

We've been desperate for some outdoor trekking, so when Brandon and Carrie asked us if we wanted to go to St. George with them, it was an easy answer. It was just a little too cold to camp (right?), so we left early Saturday morning so we'd only need a motel one night. It snowed all night Friday, and was pure winter way down past Cedar City.

We drove straight into Zion, and hiked the Emerald Pools trail. We went to all three pools, and came back on the upper trail, so it ended up being a nice three-mile loop. It was beautiful. The snow from the night before had left a sheen of white all along the north- and northwest-facing sandstone walls, so we were bombarded with color and coldness, because the whole canyon we hiked was already in the sun's shadow.

(PS: You can see all these pictures and more on Flickr.)

at the emerald pool trailhead bridge
crossed the bridge
north fork of the virgin river
the North Fork of the Virgin River, rushing alongside the canyon
part of deertrap mountain, with snow
see the thin little layer of snow that was everywhere?
starting the trail
on the trail
atop a rock
on a rock along the way
atop a rock
another rock-lover
the girls at lower emerald pool falls
at the Lower Pool's falls
under the falls
under them falls
up by the wet wall
lower emerald pool falls
Orion calls waterfalls "waffles."
heading to middle emerald pool
steps leading up to the Middle Pool
red arch and deertrap mountains
Red Arch and Deertrap Mountains
we're there
We made it to the Upper Pool! There isn't usually a waterfall here, so we were lucky to be able to see one. It only shows up after a good rain or snow followed by sun.
climbing a tree on the way back
Jarom crossed this tree getting back across the trail. He got a bit stuck and I had to help him with Oey strapped to me. It was a fun maneuver.
making our way back
pausing at Middle Pool on the way back down
on the cliff's edge
Amy and Bella had much more speed than us boys. They booked it ahead of us and waited here, at the perfect waiting point--on a cliff's edge! Here's a closer view.
moonrise over the great arch of zion
the Great Arch of Zion, on our way up the switchbacks to the tunnel
checkerboard mesa with snow
Checkerboard Mesa, beautiful with snow

We had a tight schedule to try and be to Mt. Carmel Junction before dusk, so we drove there on Highway 9, through the tunnel and across beautiful countryside. We immediately found our destination, based solely on a friend's description. We hiked up the crumbling little cliffs and found star after star after star--fossilized crinoids, ancient ocean plants! Jarom found them first. His keen little eyes.

hunting for crinoid fossils
Jarom the scout, up on the cliff
hunting for crinoid fossils
everyone searching methodically for fossils after we located them
collected crinoid fossils
crinoid fossils!
hunting for crinoid fossils
This poor little youngster was down and out. But he was a good smiling sport the whole time, naturally.
crinoid fossil, mt. carmel junction
a crinoid embedded in stone, waiting to weather out

We gathered as best we could before the setting sun and biting wind helped us leave. We drove during sunset west to St. George, found us a little hotel room, then went and grabbed some late-night Coldstone before hitting the hay. Oey had a burning fever all night long; the poor kid was sick the whole trip. I ran across the street at 5 am (wait, 6 am--daylight saving time arrived that night) to the Texaco and got him some ibuprofen, and that helped a little.

We got up early, met Brandon and Carrie and went over to Snow Canyon State Park. This place is absolutely gorgeous, and the weather could not have been better. I wanted to camp here in January (probably *was* too cold then), but it was worth the wait. We hiked into Jenny's canyon, then the massive Petrified Dunes trail, then we visited some pioneer names written on the sandstone walls in axle grease in the late 1800s. Lastly, Brandon and Oey and I hiked the White Rocks trail to a steep viewpoint overlooking the park.

jenny's canyon panorama
rock outcropping beside Jenny's Canyon
hiking to jenny's canyon
hiking in
standing in jenny's canyon
Brandon, Millie, and Bella inside the slot canyon
crevice boy

standing in jenny's canyon

Jarom started out the Petrified Dunes hike for us
Amy and Carrie enjoying the world

a triumphant climb

first one to the top!
she made it next
Second one to the top! Look at that view . . .
panorama from atop the petrified dunes trail
a nice little panorama
victorious explorers
petrified dunes at snow canyon
the dunes and the view
the huddle
Wearing the famous hat, after getting himself stuck down this steep wall. We had to carefully find our way out. Later he said, "Dad, I don't want to wear this hat anymore. It covers my eyes and I can't see." He wanted to wear it though; he requested it from me when we first got out of the car.
the group ahead of us
charging up the next dune
the gang

fathers and kids, dangling

next one up
Bella at the pioneer names. It was a decent little scramble to get up to them.
sitting on the rock
on the White Rocks trail
by the edge
Brandon, the overseer
almost there
we hiked up to the top, behind us
At the top, this sole butterfly fluttered around us. Oey loved it; I don't think anything could've made him happier at the time. As we came back down, he cried out, "Buffly! Buffly!" very, very sadly.
the crown
that tip in the upper right is where we journeyed

After our hiking journeys, we went to Brandon and Carrie's sweet Worldmark By Wyndham room, where we grilled up some dinner, played in the playground, and lounged around until we had to part ways. An excellent weekend.

dinnertime with the sun fading


heather said...

what a GREAT BLOG! so many fun adventures in the span of two days. glad oey looked like he was feeling better the second day. i can't believe how heart wrenching it is to think of him calling out for the "buffly" as you hiked back down. so sweet. he knows how to notice the important details! i love how the kids are such great little hikers. my favorite is the picture of amy with her wide stance atop that wonderful vista. now i'll go check out the whole flickr album. by the way, how did you post the pictures big like that? or is my computer just doing something weird. i'm ready for a blog of your idaho falls trip now!

mooncowboy said...

I did the photos big like that cause I linked directly from Flickr. It's just their "medium" size.

Also, don't look forward to the Idaho Falls blog. The weater was *madness* and I don't think we took a single picture.

Kimberly said...

You guys need to be professional travel photographers because you and the camera have a love affair. These pics are awesome and how much fun to travel somewhere new. Amy, you look gorgeous you know. You guys are such a good looking family.

heather said...

okay mattie, i'll count that out, but maybe you should photograph and blog all the SNOW y'all are supposedly getting. i heard it is snowing five days straight over there. which is weird because for me it is beer and mexican popsicles weather, sitting out in the hammock to read all day in the sun. but winter pictures amuse me!

by the way i just realized looking back through this what a long blog it was. i was so engrossed the first time that it didn't even register. i am so glad you tell the whole story, beginning to end. that's the way to do it and just think, it is like a journal. do blogs last forever?

mooncowboy said...

I love that you're "amused" by our winter plight. Now get on out here and be part of it! (April?)

Also, that last sentence is the great metaphysical question of our time: "Do blogs last forever?"

Elijah and Jenny Nielson said...

You guys are awesome! I love your little adventures- SO FUN! I just wish we could have gone with you on one of these spontaneous journeys while we lived there... Thanks for sharing, love the pics.

Life on Pelican Street said...

Those were some beautiful waffles!!

heather said...

hi mattie, just wanted to tell you that i left your blog up on the computer and darin came over and looked at all these pictures. he was so jealous of this hike! one of these days we will come out there and plan some rad explorations like down?

mooncowboy said...

I'm so down you couldn't believe it. You guys make it out here and we'll plan something excellent. I have many, many plan proposals just waiting to be used. I'm glad Darin liked it all!

Glory Watts said...

Wow, Breathtaking pictures you guys! Paul and I hiked there on our honey moon, crazy. You and the Petersen family are a perfect duo.

Wait a guys went to Idaho Falls??? How DO you find the time? You guys never cease to amaze me with your travels.

Can't wait to hear all about Africa, that's right folks, I said "Africa" The Beatty's next big adventure. Love you tons!

Momma said...

Those precious babes are little troopers! I can't believe you squeezed this into one weekend! Somehow I missed this one. Precious little Oey just gets my heart with his "Buffly!" I can't wait to see those babies. What beautiful pictures. Are those hard hikes? I love the star fossils, can't believe they end up like that, I never knew they existed! Such wonderful adventures all the time. Hope the kids are ready to be bored big time with Nana coming!! love you all!

Jaime said...

WOW!!!! Those were some amazing pictures. We only made it down there once while in Utah and it was so amazing. I miss it! The kids seem to be such great little troopers and love it as much as their parents. :)