Sunday, June 28, 2015

Outdoor Adventures

Jeff came home early from work one Friday and suggested we go somewhere in the mountains to have a little campfire for the evening. The boys hopped right on board and we were out the door with a bag of marshmallows and a pack of hot dogs in no time.

A quick Google search of local campgrounds encouraged us to travel to Layton for our outing. To Layton we obediently and unquestioningly went.

Upon arriving to the fire pitted area, we spotted a sign saying we weren't allowed to start a fire there and slumped in discouragement as we took to Google again. Google then sent us to a park in Ogden. To Ogden we obediently but slightly more hesitantly went. 

Upon arriving to the Ogden park, we found trillions of cars and a slew of pop-up tents. Jeff tried to whiz past the tent that said "TICKETS" right by the entrance of the park, but all the park-goers immediately glared at him with shocked faces while a man approached the car with his hand up, ordering us to stop. We rolled down our window to learn there was some convention going on at the park and it would be closed all weekend.

At this point I was ready to give up the idea, but Jeff remained committed to his promise to build a fire for the boys, so we continued on. We figured we would surely run into some campfire opportunities if we made our way up Ogden Canyon. To Ogden Canyon we did go with quickly fading optimism.

We did not find a single open campsite available in 45 minutes of driving so we finally decided to swallow our pride and journey back to our house.

On the way home, we agreed that we had promised the boys a fire, so a fire they would get! We decided to create a makeshift fire pit in our back yard and had just as much fun as we would have at any of the three campsites that turned us down earlier in the evening. 
The next morning, we had tickets at Rocky Mountain Raceways. My sister had been there a few weeks before and raved about it, so we thought it would be a fun thing to try.
I was anticipating big crowds and loud race cars but only found half of what I expected. We basically had the place to ourselves!

It was super fun to see the cars speed past. We particularly loved the snowmobile races. Everybody loved it as much as I hoped they would...
for a total of 10 minutes and then Eli was D-O-N-E. For a boy who claims his dream is to be a race car driver when he grows up, he sure had a short attention span for the sport. I don't know if it was the heat, the loud noises, or reality hitting him that he had picked an unrealistic profession, but something was urging Eli to get the heck outta there. We forced him to stay a half hour past his meltdown point so that Jeff and I felt like we had gotten at least half of our money's worth out of the experience, and then we bid the raceways adieu.
Since it was only 10:00 in the morning and we had planned to be gone most of the day, we rerouted to Temple Square to prolong our adventure.
I remember walking around Temple Square last Christmas with two crazy boys running around and Lincoln on the way. I had a panic attack wondering how I would ever manage with THREE kids in such a crowded place. I felt like I had come a long way from my holiday panic attack once I was there, keeping it cool, with all three kids. We had a good time and didn't lose a single kid a single time! Victory!
A few days later we ventured down to Big Cottonwood Canyon to try out a new hike.
It was here that Lincoln full-on puked all over me. We were about 10 minutes into our hike and stopped to check out the map. While we were stopped, Lincoln's belly started to rumble and then he was suddenly spewing his entire last feeding plus a few extras straight on me. I was holding him in the baby carrier, facing me, so we were both completely covered in it. It was the weirdest thing.
Lincoln appeared to be fine, so we forged ahead, hoping it was just a little motion sickness that had gotten to him. Or maybe it was the heat? The heat sure got to these two. Every other step we had to take a break to pass the water bottle around.

Everything was lush and green. This is about where Jeff told me, "I saw a bunch of signs that said, 'Watch Out For Moose' while I was walking around the information building." Suuuuuuuuper. Can't I just enjoy nature without encountering any creatures? Especially big ones. That will charge me or my wandering children. Every step I took after Jeff informed me of a potential run-in was backed with fear and caution as I spastically scanned the trees and attempted to discern through the shadows for beasts of the mountains.
Just after my animal radar was heightened, a small group of elderly couples from Florida came rushing towards us yelling something. My first thought was, there must be a bear chasing them. As they got closer, I realized one of the ladies was yelling at me, "If you love your children, you will stop right now and turn around."

I deducted from her lack of immediately mentioning the presence of a bear that my initial suspicions of a looming animal attack were unfounded. More shouting began as she grew closer, "It is SO steep. I had to stop every 20 feet. And it's rocky. It's hard to climb. And the ELEVATION! I don't think your kids could even breathe up there! I hope you brought lots of water. It's a beautiful view but after you get past this corner it's straight uphill."

This was an animal attack I didn't foresee. The attack left me frozen, wondering if I should continue uphill, blatantly ignoring the advice of a complete stranger, and further proving to her that I'm an unloving mother for giving my kids exercise and fresh air, or should I heed her shouts and head back down the mountain to prematurely finish our her company.

We slowly sidestepped the hostile creature and safely continued our journey up the mountain.
Okay, truth be told, it was pretty steep and hot and rocky and a bit more strenuous than we had predicted it would be. But fear not, my elderly hiker, we brought water AND snacks AND allowed for plenty of pit stops along the way.
And when a certain little mister was still tired, he got a lift free of charge to refuel.
Just as we approached the top, we had our second animal encounter. Someone on the trail told us to veer slightly off course to see a mama moose and her baby. I get jumpy at the thought of mixing my children with wild beasts whose behavior I can't predict. I don't trust that my boys will stay a safe distance from potentially dangerous animals and I don't trust that a mama moose with her moosling will be understanding of our stares and company. I also get anxious to envision mama moose charging at us and me having to run away with Eli, Carson and a baby slung around my waist. We cautiously peered over the hill just long enough to spot the moose, and then panic set in as all my paranoia flashed through my head which caused me to quickly escort us far away from their territory.
I'm happy to report my children had no problem breathing at this elevation. Unless Lincoln's puking was elevation sickness. Then that dear lady hiker may have been right -- on all counts of caution. But her delivery was terrible.
The lake at the top was a beaut!
 The boys had a blast throwing rocks into the lake for a solid hour.
With evening drawing near, we marched back down the mountain with Lincoln completely OUT.
The way down was a breeze. Until Lincoln puked all over me again right after this picture. A small part of me wonders if Lincoln is one of those pukey kids because he didn't otherwise act sick. Neither of the older boys have been big pukers, and I fear Lincoln is going to be my one who loses his lunch if you tickle him too hard, jostle him around a little too much or look at him the wrong way. Fingers crossed this was an unexplained, isolated event.
It was fun to hike in a new area we hadn't seen before. I'm happy to say we all survived, and I feel the need to confirm that I DO love my children even though I sent them off to scale the mountain after being advised against it.


Kim said...

The latest adventures of the Excell family. So great. So funny. So entertaining. Keep the stories coming!!!

Rebecca said...

I'm loving your story of Lincoln throwing up on you since that's what I've been dealing with for a solid week now. Boo to barfy babies!