Our little family spent Labor Day weekend with Watkins and parents Noel camping in a box canyon and exploring Capitol Reef National park where we lived many small stories, saw several small miracles, and had some small surprises.
A small rodent story……Lance and I were lying in our tent, cozily ensconced in our sleeping bags, when Lance said, “Uh Teresa……a mouse just ran over my arm.” Within seconds of his comment, I felt the critter scramble over the top my legs. We turned on a flashlight and watched it scurry along the inside perimeter of the tent. It was a tiny, little thing. Fortunately, it was also a smart, little thing. It ran right to the small gap where the zipper did not quite meet the tent wall and slipped out. We turned off the flashlight and fell asleep, thankful it was a tiny, little mouse and not a gargantuan, disgusting rat.
A small (and large) fish story…….Lance took James (9), Miles (8) and Spencer (8) fishing at a local reservoir where they had a big time catching small fish. Lance could not keep up with the three boys and their three rods; just as he finished helping one boy bait and cast, another boy would need his help unhooking the fish he had just pulled in. They caught over 50 perch in about an hour. They also caught five trout, one of which Miles ate for breakfast the next morning (which was a large surprise and small miracle). Later Lance took the three boys plus Jacob (4) fishing again. This time the perch were not biting (surprise) but each boy caught a trout. Spencer patiently pulled in his fish without a reel. Jacob had his first catch and Miles his largest catch—he pulled in a 15.5 inch trout (as verified by a tape measure and more than two or three witnesses).
A small disaster story…….Sunday evening we planned to walk to Hickman Bridge, a natural stone arch at the end of a mile trail. The plan was to stroll (one does not hike on Sunday) to the bridge in the late evening, hang out at the bridge at dusk, and use the flashlights to walk back. We started late and darkness arrived on time so we ended up using the flashlights within the first half mile. We also ended up losing the trail. Whoops. We turned around and, fortunately, we did not lose the trail on the way out, nor did we lose anyone in the dark. I am personally VERY grateful that this was a small story.
A small story about a long hike…..We hiked the 3.1 mile Cassidy Arch trail. Parents Noel made it up the steep switch backs (500 ft ascent) , and enjoyed a spectacular view of the arch. There was no one else even close to 70+ years old on the trail. Miles made it to the arch and back and said, “I like hiking”—this from the boy who has always been the biggest whiner on the trail. If his hiking heart has truly been changed, it will be a large miracle.
A small success story…..One of the reasons Lance hates camping is that he does not sleep well. The hard ground ties his back in knots and the resulting intense pain makes camping hard for him to enjoy. I borrowed an air mattress for the trip and Lance had three nights of good sleep. Consequently his camping experience was much more pleasant. “Air mattress” now tops my shopping list.
My biggest surprise came with I asked my children to describe what they would remember most fondly about the weekend. Tanah said, “Playing Big Boody” with Gram and company, playing house with Clarisse (2 yrs), playing Zombies with Jacob, and riding back and forth from the park in the car with Lanae.” THERE WAS NO REFERENCE TO HIKING ON HER LIST! Grace’s list was similar; she loved creating clay/mud sculptures with Aliza and playing games around the campfire with Gram and Grandad. The boys’ lists had some reference to the outdoors—Miles loved fishing, hiking (?!?!!!), and playing with his cousins and Chick referenced hiking and cousins—but the real joy of the trip was clearly not the breath-taking hikes, stunning vistas and incredible rock formations. It really was all about family.
Sure love you all, blood family and friend family alike!