Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Exploring Moab, Utah

DISCLAIMER: there are about a million pictures in this post, so be warned! Seriously, it goes for a while. lol

In our last series of 'catch up posts' I will share with you our epic adventures in Moab, Utah. Moab is about a three hour drive from Salt Lake, but we figured that it would be much easier driving down there now, rather than trying to actually plan a vacation there sometime in the future. I am so glad we decided it was worth the time and money to spend the week out there. It was amazing and something the kids still haven't stopped talking about.

We spent several nights camping in the most beautiful and remote place. It is called Sand Flats, and it's managed by the BLM. It was only 5 bucks a night or something, so it was super cheap, but perfect. There were huge sand stone (rock not shifting sand) dunes all over to climb and explore. The kids were in awe of it all. It is not camping for the weak of souls though. There is no water on site, so you have to bring in all your own stuff, and the wind gets pretty intense at times, so everything you leave out will have a layer of sand on it. If you can survive that, I would honestly say it was one of the best places I've ever camped.

Our first few days we spent hiking and climbing in Arches National Park. Pictures of these amazing natural structures will never do them justice.

Things like, the 100's of ft deep canyon that was right behind us in this picture that you can not even tell is there just by looking at the photo.

Or the sheer scale of everything around you.

We had so much fun free climbing as many of the places as we could safely do. And then, in some cases maybe not so safely.

This is me in a cave. Pretty obvious, I know. What was apparently not obvious to me, is that when you are 5 months or so pregnant, free climbing into sandstone caves may be easy, but perhaps not the best idea, when it comes to getting back down. The boys started to climb it, and chickened out. Benjamin started to climb it, and then decided against it. I thought, "Weenies, that's easy!" and up I skittered, feeling quite accomplished that I could still hug such a smooth face, with my rounded belly. I posed for my victory pictures, standing proudly 15 ft or so above the ground. Not bad at all, not too high, pfft. And then it was time to get down.

Now this nice smooth sandstone cave, had a rounded lip, and to get down you have to lay flat on your stomach and shimmy your legs over until your feet can find the first hold. All while using your stomach and arms to hug the face while you lower yourself down. Perhaps you can see the problem; I could the minute I realized this was how it worked. I have no stomach, I have a giant orb of fat and baby hanging out there. And chicken arms that are not strong enough to hold my extra weight. So as I slid over the edge it was very tense three our four minutes for at least me, as I was convince I was going to fall 15 ft from the cave, because my stomach was too fat to allow me to really hug the super smooth face with little more than small indents and finger (not hand, finger) holes. Benjamin stood below, spotting and calling out holds to me as I went down, and I couldn't help but laugh in my head b/c the only thing that would have happened if I had fallen was that I would have squashed him under my girth in addition to breaking myself. Eventually, I did get down fine though, but that was kind of the end of my more adventurous climbing on this trip. Climbing maybe easy while pregnant, but without a repelling system, getting down is a whole heck of a lot harder.

The boys were completely unphased by my getting 'stuck' in the cave, and I am pretty sure at least my two oldest are part mountain goat.

Goob had to get in on the climbing action too. Got to start them young!

I love this action shot of Sheepie!

Kings of the mountain!

My handsome Mr. C totally got in on the action too. I think he was very excited to be out climbing again for the first time since his broken ankle. I really think, had we brought climbing gear with us, we'd have spent most of the time repelling and climbing.

I love this picture. All my favourite people in the world, doing one of my favourite things!

Landscape arch was the arch everyone was wanting to see. The boys were VERY sad that they were not able to get closer to it, but it's very close to falling entirely, so it's been fences off for years.

We camped, and then went back the next day, since after hitting up Landscape arch I'd say we' probably hiked about 8-10 miles with the kids that first day. Bright and early though we were back and exploring more arches.

There are not many pictures of Goob because he had the back pack to hang out in, but don't let this little guy fool you. He is probably the most hard core of our kids. At his age he will walk for easily 2 miles by himself without any desire to give up, all in those silly salt water sandals he wears.

That tiny little dot in the middle of the picture (not the white shirt guy) is Sheepie and me.

he made his own arch.

I love love love this picture.

These next two pictures of FP and Sheepie make my wobble. I was hanging out with a sleeping Goob when Mr. C took the other three to see the last few arches. Apparently there is a sheer drop off of many many feet, just inches behind where these two nuts climbed to to pose. I'm very glad I wasn't there.

The three mountain goats Carleski!

We finished off Arches on the second day and then camped in the Sand Flats again the second night. Sadly, when you don't have room for an air mattress in your tent (6 people in a 4 man, what?!) and you're pregnant, eventually the hard ground gets the best of you. After the first night I decided to be a weenie and lay out the seats in the back of the van and sleep in there. It was not great, but I think it was the only way I was able to survive and be ready to hit the trails again the next morning. Plus with me gone, it made for more room for the men folk to stretch out in the tent. After this baby is born, we are upgrading to a bigger tent!

And thus it as that our first two days were spent exploring Moab and the famed arches.

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