Miraculously (and for the first time ever), spring break for Ogden Preparatory Academy, Syracuse Arts Academy, and Weber County Schools fell on the same week. Also miraculously, given the need for snow plows, we enjoyed our spring break camping trip to the Escalante area.
The weather forecast predicted lows in the mid 40’s Fahrenheit and highs in the mid 60’s. Driving south from Roy towards Kodachrome State Park the temperature indicator on the truck kept falling…..50’s…..40’s…….then 38……35……..33 degrees. About 7 p.m., as we drove through the driving snow, it became very obvious to me that the temperature was not going to go up; we would not be seeing the predicted 42 degree low.
How low can it go? Well, pan of water left out overnight had a crust of ice on it as did the puddles we drove through on the way to camp. Though the overnight temperatures were below freezing, we did not freeze. Not quite.
The first night Grace, Cierra (one of my Mia Maids), and I set up camp in snow flurries while Lance and Miles hurriedly drove 60 minutes to Escalante so they could watch the NCAA championship basketball game (Miles’ first experience in a bar….). I was cold (COLD!) in my sleeping bag until Lance returned to camp, about 11:00 p.m. Though we did not share sleeping bags, we shared a common sleeping area and even through two bags—his and mine—he warmed me. Heartened (and amazed) by the difference snuggling with Lance made, I invited Grace to snuggle with me when cold inspired her to call out to me in the early morning hours. Close together, like three spoons in a drawer, we made it through the night.
We were better prepared the second night. Temperatures dropped to 29 degrees F but we stayed warm—mostly. Grace started out in our tent as did Cierra and Miles slept with Hamilton in his tent. I slept pegged to Lance, Grace slept pegged to me, and Cierra slept through Lance’s snoring. Lance put his soda pop into the cooler “so that it would not freeze” and all was good.
Better than good actually. It was great. GREAT!
Our first day’s plans to hike Zebra Slot canyon were changed when we learned the water in Zebra was chest high. No thanks. Instead we ended up taking a leisurely stroll along Deer Creek (Burr Trail Road). The creek meandered through cow country and we meandered beside it. Miles found lots of things to throw in the creek, Cierra found lots of things to take pictures of, and Lance found an arrow head. The sun warmed us and the wind left us alone. Nice.
Hamilton (my nephew) joined us the second night and accompanied us on the next day’s grand adventure, an adventure that would have been difficult, if not impossible, without him. We invited him because we adore him, not because we thought we would need him. As it turns out, he was both adored and needed. [My knees just don’t lift my body weight anymore ….]
Peek-a-boo and Spooky slot canyons were phenomenal. PHENOMENAL! Peek-a-boo started with a 10 foot cliff. A few hand and foot holds gave those who are agile a route up and provided levering niches for those of us who need boosts. [Thank you Hamilton!] At the top of the wall, a 3 foot deep, water-filled pothole challenged Hamilton and Grace to stay dry (they did), caused Cierra and Miles to roll up their pants, and gave me an excuse take advantage of my Chacos.
We crawled, scrambled, shimmied, and waded (some of us) up Peek-a-boo slot canyon, followed cairns over to Spooky’s mouth and then crawled, shimmied, and slid down it. Peek-a-boo’s narrows were more varied—lots of twists, turns, arches, cavities, and tunnels—while Spooky narrows were narrower—a mere 10 inches in some places. Both canyons were incredibly y phenomenal. Yep, that is the word for them. Phenomenal.
All-in-all, It was a phenomenal trip…..Miles loved the slot canyons, loved listening to Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance (audio book), and bragged about not complaining about hiking. [Generally if Miles is hiking, he is complaining.] Lance, who likes camping just slightly better than he likes getting cavities filled (he loathes dentist office visits), did not murmur either. In fact, he was warm both of body and personality. Cierra cowboy-ed up; “I learned to face my fears with laughter,” she said. Hamilton was a gracious superhero and Grace an equally gracious super-heroine.
You might be in trouble when you pass a snow plow on the way to your campsite…..and then again you might not. It just might be a phenomenal trip after all.