Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wind Caves Deluxe

The month of August this year has been filled with more activity than in the last two years combined or so it seems. The past two summers we have been so swamped with building our house and trying to keep our lives rolling that we have hardly done any activities as a family at all. This summer has been better already. I have been camping with my two boys, Dane and Ty, we have done some fishing together, and been riding the mountain bike towing them in the bike cart behind me.

In another week or so I am headed on a fairly rugged hiking trip with my buddy Kirk. It will be a three day two night excursion and I have wanted to get some smaller hikes in to try and prep the legs a little bit. Recently I found myself home alone with just the boys, a single parent for the night, and thought it a good opportunity to get out with them. I remembered that we have a kid carrier backpack, it does leave the shoulders aching for some padding, but works just fine. I decided that it might be fun to go on our own little adventure in the mountains, just me and the boys. There is a trail up Logan canyon that leads to what is called the wind caves. There are a few neat features in the rocky hillside that make for a great day hike and is marked by a smooth, easy trail.

Being that it was just myself trying to do the Mr. Mom thing, we struggled a bit to get ready and out the door. Finally after getting two crazy boys ready, and our small supplies packed, we left at about 6:30PM. This was much later that I had hoped, but my thoughts were that we could hike until Dane got tired and turn around,... no big deal! Much to my surprise Dane is quite the trekker. As Ty sat in the pack behind me, loving life, Dane hiked his way slowly up the trail tagging along, and struggling to not focus on bugs and other critters. The going was slow but to my surprise Dane kept a consistent pace all while constantly informing me that "Dad this is a long ways".

Constantly turning around to check on both my little guys and encouraging Dane, I started to not pay great attention to the trail in front of me. This was greatly apparent when suddenly just beside my right leg was this loud rattling, so loud in fact that it was almost a hiss and scarred me stupid. I immediately knew what it was and jumped a mile into the air, even with Ty on my back and let out curse that I thought the whole canyon heard. Once I came down from shreiksville I turned to see exactly where the bugger was. It was indeed a rattlesnake that appeared to be about two and a half feet long and was coiled up ready to strike. Luckily as I had walked by it only 6-8 inches away it did not strike, but quite briskly coiled, then retreated into the rocks. I am extremely glad that there was no further encounter with that bad boy, other than nearly soiling myself. Dane was just sad that he missed it, and wanted to go searching for it. He believed me though as I told him that it was a bad snake and did not want to play.

Dane, Ty and myself made it to the caves just fine. We took some quick pictures and threw some rocks off the ledge as Dane was of course fascinated with as we watched them shatter far below. I soon realized that light was fading fast and the we needed to cruise down off the mountain. No sooner had I realized our daylight problems did I realize that most all Dane's energy was spent on the way up and I knew that in order to make it down alright we could not take the same 3 year old pace as we did coming up. So I took Ty out of the pack and placed the much heavier Dane inside(approx 37 lbs.). Then held Ty across both my arms (about 22 lbs.) and started the hefty trek off the mountain. Now with the much heavier kid in the pack the shoulder straps were really digging in, but there was absolutely no time for comfort or breaks, we had to get down. Once we made it about two-thirds the way down it was too dark to see my footing on the trail, and hefting the two boys I surely didn't want to fall, so I had to put everything down and get out my new trusty headlamp. Once loaded up again with my two fat farts, at least they felt that way, we made it down safely and without further incident.

We were able to have a fellow hiker snap a shot of all three of us boys on top of the caves.

Any future hikes we embark on I believe we will do so with a bit more planning and possibly not push the little guys so far in order to complete the second half of the hike a bit better. It was one of those experiences that was fun and one to laugh at later, but we should do better on our future excursions.

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