Loaded with a huge cooler filled with drinks and a small box of food, we left for Goblin Valley Wednesday afternoon. “Why do I do this?,” I wondered as we drove out of town. “I hope Chick feeds the animals. I hope Miles makes it to youth conference. I hope the sick show hog gets well…..” Over and over I questioned my judgement in going. “Why do I do this? Why? Why? Why?
The next morning my questions were answered. Emphatically.
I know why I left town. Oh my lands!!! I love being outdoors. Beautiful. BEAUTIFUL!!! These are my happy places. Being outdoors, in God’s magnificent creations, truly fills my cup. Deep. Quenching. Filling. Overflowing. Joy. Joy. Joy.
We explored The Crack (a slot canyon off Behind the Reef Road), climbed on the goblins in Goblin Valley, rockhounded (is that a real verb?) in Hanksville, shopped and chatted (and chatted and chatted with Cathy) at Rockin Riddle Rock Shop, swam in the Green River at Swasey’s Beach, and hiked Little Wild Horse Canyon.
Being with in nature was great. Great! Being with the Gibsons was also great. Great! Though we approach camping a little differently, we thoroughly enjoying camping together. Lance and I put our sleeping pads and bags on the ground and slept comfortably under the stars; we would have been very uncomfortable in the Gibson’s RV. Clearly, they preferred the RV to ground/star sleeping. Kurt showered at least once every day; Lance and I were very comfortable in our un-showered state. Showering while camping seems wrong to us; being filthy was wrong for Kurt. Nonetheless, being together was right for all of us.
Together we watched an antelope doe and fawn wander through camp, endured the heat (110 degrees F during the day, dropping to 91 degrees F at night) and ate nachos at a Mexican food truck in Green River. Lance and the boys kept the rock hammers busy; nothing like a hammer to entertain boys of all ages. Griffin and AJ spent literal hours chasing lizards. Jill and I read. (Anxious People by Fredric Backman is an emotionally charged, brilliantly written book with a beautiful ending.) Kurt spent several happy hours fixing his RV. It was Lance’s first hiking adventure on his new knee. “Saved by the walking stick” was the theme of his trip. The knee did okay, with the help of his walking stick. All of us drank. LOTS.
On the way to Hanksville, we stopped to help a woman on the side of the road. She needed duct tape and Lance had some in our van. When she thanked us, I said, “I promised myself that next time I helped someone I would tell them why. I want you to know that we helped you because that is what Jesus has taught us to do.” She said, “Oh I love Jesus” and gave me a big hug. “As the world speaks less of Christ, let us speak more of Him.” (Elder Bednar, Oct 2020, I think)
When we planned the trip, Jill made it very clear that she would not be hiking with us. “I will spend my time reading in the RV,” she said. On the first day of the trip, she asked if there were a hike I thought she could do. YES! I knew Little Wild Horse was the perfect hike for her. And it was. And she did it; 6.75 miles round trip.
Little Wild Horse never gets old. Or, more accurately, it is very old and, in its antiquity, it is timeless. Narrow passages. Corkscrew twists. Honeycombed walls. Giant cliff faces. It is more than awe-some. It is awe-total. Yep. I know why I leave home. It does not get better than this.
And I know why I return home. Home is where the heart is. Nature is where my heart is filled but home is where my heart belongs. We came home to find Terry (the hog that was sick) healthy, the garden dry, the sheep bleating and Ginger grunt/snorting. Miles made it to youth conference, Chick fed the animals, and all was well.
It was a great, great trip. It was truly great to strengthen connections and make memories with the Gibsons. I love that we share memories of some of my favorite places on Earth. It was truly, truly, truly great to share the experience with Lance. I am so grateful that I am married to a man who will sleep on a cement slab under the stars with me, who gets excited about canyons and rocks and lizards and snakes, and who—best of all—understands and appreciates and even treasures my nature-filled, home-centered heart.