Adventure is out there!

As the summer rolls on, it’s becoming harder and harder to hide in my cute little office and work. There are exciting things to do, things to see, and I might be a teensy weensy bit stir crazy. When the crazies set in, it’s time for a change of scenery.

This weekend that drive to adventure took our family up Big Cottonwood Canyon to explore the Mill B area. What’s great about this spot is that the water from the river cools down the canyon floor making it a welcome break from the summer heat. There are stunning waterfalls, comfortable short hikes, and plenty of rocks for the kiddos to scramble around on.

On a recommendation from a family member, we found Hidden Falls which is marked only by a tiny sign. It’s not even a hike, but rather a climb up the side of a hidden stream that leads to a lovely isolated grotto. The kids had a great time climbing and traversing the stream on half submerged rocks like a real world “floor is lava” game, and I was thrilled to get them away from their screens for a while.

To finish up the afternoon, we hiked Mill B South which is also a short well-maintained and nearly flat trail that leads to a larger staircase waterfall at the end. It’s a perfect place to bring a picnic and get away from things.

A lot of this area is what I imagine the dramatic canyons and mountains in Stonebearer’s Betrayal to feel like. There are steep slopes and hidden gems just waiting to be found. Maybe if I go far enough, I’ll find an immense castle occupied by magical immortals.

Hey, a girl can dream.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?


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The Canyon Between Two Mountains

Utah is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. From barren deserts to looming granite mountains that scratch the sky, from the majesty that is Arches National Park to the bizarre formations of Goblin valley. During the stay at home order, my family has been doing more exploring of the wild to stave off cabin fever.

Photo by Tom Gainor on Unsplash

The goal of many hikes in Utah is to reach a summit or stunning outlook. The hike itself is usually uphill and starts in one of the many valleys or canyon floors. From the canyon floor your view is limited to the walls of the canyon itself, which can be quite dramatic, but isn’t what you’re there for. You’re there for the view at the top of the hill.

These trails can range from sun baked expanses to tree choked narrow pathways. They can rise up and over huge distances or climb jagged rock. Often they snake back and forth up the side of a hill too steep to climb otherwise.

While on the trail, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate the trail itself. This is especially true when the trail is less than lovely or too hot. Countless feet of the people who came before you keep the dirt beneath your feet bare. Sometimes the sun beats down on your back and your legs burn with the effort to keep stepping forward on an unending uphill climb. Sometimes there are people you are traveling with that aren’t thrilled to be there. 

But, when you get to the top it’s everything you wanted and more. Even more so, it’s better because you worked hard to get there. 

Dearest readers, this situation we’re in is very much like climbing a steep uphill trail. We are in a narrow canyon between two mountains and it’s hard to see where we are going and how long it will take to get there. We aren’t sure if the lookout will be worth it. The trail is difficult with plenty of switchbacks and rocks to stumble over.

Let me encourage you to find beauty in the trail itself. Since we don’t know how long we might be on this journey or how many miles we have to go, it’s a good time to find ways to find joy along the path.

And if you can, get out somewhere beautiful while you do it. Let this be a time of self discovery.

Photo by Jamie Hagan on Unsplash

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The Techno War

For those thinking that this was going to be an awesome piece of fiction possibly with an urban sci-fi twist, sorry.  We’ve had an ongoing battle here at the house, real play with real toys vs. techno play with computers and other devices.  For a while we were doing well. There was a good balance between the two and it seemed that everyone was fairly happy.

That was before the discovery of Minecraft – the Legos of the software world.

I haven’t played it enough to grasp the appeal, but apparently it has enough flexibility for the player to make it whatever kind of game he wants.  It has the power to keep my eight-year old anchored in front of the computer for hours and when he’s not playing it’s the only thing he’ll talk about.

It’s not that I mind too much that he loves the game.  I grew up playing everything from Super Mario to Tetris, often for hours at a time.  Sometimes I still do.  What does drive me crazy is the fighting between siblings that the games have caused.  When he’s playing on the computer then his sister doesn’t have anyone to play with and she does everything in her power to get his attention which drives him (and everyone else) nuts.  Then the screaming and fighting begins.

So this weekend we short circuited the whole problem.  Instead of moping around the house, hubby found a hike that was family friendly and packed us all up and left all the kids devices behind.

We had a great time, no one fought, the surroundings were beautiful, it was a win-win for everyone.

Back at home there will always be the techno war, it’s inevitable.  There will always have to be limits and monitoring on computer and other device usage. I will have to be the bad guy telling them when it’s time to stop.  As they grow older this will only grow harder.

It gives me hope that our whole family can do something as simple as walk around a lake and find a happiness that isn’t found anywhere else.  Here’s to planning our next hike!

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