Friday, April 30, 2010

The whole Escalante hiking gang

Here's a picture of the whole gang after getting back to safety. We had so much fun that we decided that we need to do something like this (sans dying toenails) at least once a year.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lost toenail: painful; walking 12 miles in one day with 30 lbs. on your back: more painful; the beauty of nature: priceless

We had been planning on this trip for quite a while. Mr. Perfect and several friends from work plotted out our route. At first, I was told 11 miles for the first day. Whew! I was hoping that I would be up to the challenge, because with hiking and camping, you carry everything on your back. EVERYTHING. And you also have to carry it out again.

Great vista

Along with Most Happy Girl and Mr. Perfect, we also had The Mikester and his son, Little Big Guy, and Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy with his daughter, Walks Like a Trooper. The Mikester's brother, Hikes-A-Lot, and three of his kids joined the group, making us 10.

Well, they changed the route, hoping to shorten it a bit because of all the kids (ages 8 to 13). They thought it would be about 9 miles instead of 11. With the routes in and out selected, we started collecting the things we'd need. It was great fun picking out a mini stove and getting a portable water filter system (they are really cool and work amazingly). Mr. Perfect and the guys found the food we would take. Freeze-dried is not as bad you might think, but then everything tastes better after hiking all day.

Wolverine Canyon

The Mikester and Little Big Guy
Apparently the only thing we didn't think about was the fact that you really should trim your toenails before putting on your hiking boots. We left the trail head at 10:30 Saturday morning in high spirits and high gear. We made it through Wolverine Canyon by 2:30 and into our campsite at 5:30. Most Happy Girl took off her boots and it was obvious that the big toenail on her right foot had made the ultimate sacrifice. I spent that night and the next day in my water sandals. We walked up and down the Escalante River (amazing scenery), and the blood blister under the nail broke when I stubbed my toe on a branch. That was good and bad. Good because it relieved the pressure; bad because it meant that there was now a small tear in the skin under the nail (open wound).

Horse Canyon

After getting back to camp, everyone decided it would be fun to swim in the river, so I went up to change clothes, and really stubbed my toe hard climbing up the bank. Now the nail was at a 45 degree angle to the toe, and I knew it was coming off before we made it back to civilization. In fact, it was coming off right then. Mr. Perfect cleaned it up well (first aid kits are lifesavers -- or in this case toe-savers), and bandaged it up. After a priesthood blessing (Mr. Perfect had anointed oil in his backpack) and a restful night's sleep, the rest of the group headed out Monday morning at 9 for the difficult hike out Little Death Hollow. Mr. Perfect and Most Happy Girl set out at little after 10 for the easier but longer walk along Horse Canyon. Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy would get out as quickly as possible and then drive down Horse Canyon to pick up the wounded, hoping to reach them about 5:00 that evening.

Escalante River

Before we left, a day hiker came through camp heading to the river and told us that it was possible to drive down Horse Canyon to within 2 miles of our campsite, so we knew that we would be okay heading up the main canyon past the rendezvous point we had set up before the main group left. The toe (again heavily bandaged) went into the boot with no problem and we headed out at a decent pace. We stopped frequently. We knew that we would have plenty of time to enjoy the time together and the beauty of the scenery.

Horse Canyon going back

We passed the sheep shed (rendezvous point #1) at about 11:30. We passed the entrance to Wolverine Canyon (rendezvous point #2) at 1:30. We stopped about 2 miles farther on to rest and read for a good hour when the day hiker came driving up the canyon in his Passport. He gave us a ride the rest of the way out of the canyon and dropped us at the access road to the trail heads. This left us 5 miles to walk to the cars. We started up the road, went about a mile, and decided to leave the packs under a nice tree and walk with just the water and cameras. After another mile, a car passed us, but we weren't thinking fast enough to wave them down and ask if they could give us a ride back to the car. After another 1/2 mile, another car came speeding toward us. Mr. Perfect waved them down and asked if they could take us back to the Wolverine trail head. They said sure, rearranged stuff in their car so we could get in, and turned around.

Mr. Perfect looking, well, perfect

At 5:15, they dropped us off at our Xterra. I was never so happy to see a vehicle in my life. Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy's truck was still there. We left a note to let them know we were okay, and drove back to the packs. They were still safely resting under the tree. One more time, we headed back up to the trail head. Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy's truck was still sitting there without Hikes-A-Lot's SUV back from Little Death Hollow, so we just headed to there to see if they had made it out of the canyon yet. They hadn't.

Horse Canyon (again)

Mr. Perfect decided that he would walk into the canyon for 45 minutes and then turn around if he hadn't reached them. Most Happy Girl, feet resting comfortably on the dashboard, watched as her loving, brave husband walked off into the sunset. Within 15 minutes, she saw Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy and Walks Like a Trooper coming down the trail. Joy and rapture filled her entire body. That meant that everyone had made it out of the difficult part of the canyon. Next came Hikes-A-Lot and his troop a mere 10 minutes later. Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy was preparing to head back once he changed his foot gear (they had had to walk through a lot of high water) and filled his water bladder. Another 10 minutes, and Mr. Perfect, The Mikester, and Little Big Guy came into view. Women Are Jealous of That Hair Boy walked out to meet them, and we were all back and safe. Much rejoicing ensued.

Capitol Reef Waterfold

That night, Mr. Perfect and Most Happy Girl stayed at their favorite B&B in Escalante before taking a leisurely drive up Capitol Reef and the surrounding area. Most Happy Girl is now happily spending the rest of her vacation (she doesn't have to be back to work until Monday) resting her toe and sleeping in.

The toe

Quite the trauma, but aren't the pictures worth it?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxes are done!

Wah freaking hoo! (Is it okay to say freaking in a blog?) Nine hours of sitting at the computer going through records and wondering if H&R Block really is a better software choice than TurboTax, but they are done and on their way. We even mailed them before April 15th. Go us.

Next thing coming up: back to Escalante and a beautiful 4-day hike to Coyote Gulch. Mr. Perfect says it's the most beautiful place on the planet after the sealing room where we were married. (Isn't he so romantic?)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's Conference weekend and Easter...bonus!

I'm sitting here enjoying Elder Boyd K. Packard's talk and watching Mr. Perfect and two of his uncles installing our new water heater and thinking how strange it is that this doesn't seem strange to me. I'm grateful to be able to listen to these wonderful, inspired men and women this weekend, to share time with friends and family, and to celebrate the day Christ rose from the dead to complete the mission Heaven Father sent Him here to fulfill.

Today is also Baby Ninja Sister's 40th birthday. Way to live a long time, chicka!

Sad thoughts

We don't know yet if we'll actually see the kids this Easter weekend. They're supposed to be here, but it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes I think it's their mom's way of hurting Mr. Perfect. If you want to punish someone who doesn't care about your opinion anymore, the best way to get them is through people they do love and care about. It is sad to know that she is such a bitter, frustrated, and lonely person, but she only has herself to blame. Something she seems incapable of doing.


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