Saturday, July 15, 2017

Little Wild Horse Canyon

On a free Saturday in May we decided to take the kids down to Goblin Valley for the day to do a "little" hike. We packed lunches and plenty of water and headed out (later than we were hoping, as usual). I was only planning on doing a mile or two (enough to satisfy one of Josh's scout requirements) since some of the kids don't love to hike and we didn't have a lot of time (it's a long drive and we wanted to leave enough time to stop for dinner in Price). Well, Nate had other plans in mind and wanted to do a little longer hike. We ended up doing the whole loop, which turned out to be 8 miles instead of the six we thought it was, and then we added a few more miles on. But, I'll get to that in a minute. Once Josh realized what he was in for, he got grouchy. And when I found out we had to cross through some water that we weren't prepared for, I got grouchy. Lia slipped and fell all the way in trying to cross and Josh also slipped and dunked his freshly stitched finger in the water. Things went from bad to worse and just when I was about to go back to the car with Josh, he decided to snap out of his grumpiness. And it was a good thing because we had a long walk ahead of us. The next few miles were a lot of fun. Little Wild Horse Canyon is beautiful and is full of slot canyons. The kids had fun climbing in the openings and crossing the little pools along the way (that part got better after the first one). When we got to the first map along the trail, we realized we still had a few more miles to go to make the full loop, but we decided that was still better than turning back the way we came. When we got to the second map though, we made a wrong turn. By this time, the kids were tired and hungry and it was getting late. Nate had told the kids earlier in the day that Goblin Valley is one of the darkest places in the country and is a great place to see the stars. As it got later, they remembered that and got nervous. Megan was the first to say she didn't think we were going the right way. We turned around and tried a different route, but still couldn't find our way out. After saying a few prayers (a few as a family and several more in my head) and still feeling unsure of which way to go, we sent Nate back to find the map. When he left, any nervousness that the kids were already feeling got ten times worse. But, we sat down and huddled together and sang primary songs. I will never forget how sweet the kids were with each other, especially Lia and Josh. They put their arms around each other and tried to make each other feel better. I will also never forget how relieved we were to see Nate again. He was as calm as a cucumber the whole time, which I was so grateful for. So were the kids. Even though I didn't really think we were going to have to spend the night there, and I somehow knew we would make it out, inside I wasn't nearly as calm as Nate was. I may have said some swear words in my head. But, after Nate found us again, we were able to make our way out. We held hands and told stories and talked the whole time. The way we had to come together as a family the last few miles helped me realize why we didn't receive an answer to our prayers earlier. Heavenly Father knew our family needed that time and the things we experienced along the way. We were so, so excited when we made it back to where we started. We said some prayers of thanks and practically ran to the car, even though we had just logged eleven total miles. I was so proud of the kids for the way they worked together and didn't complain at all the last few miles. I was also so grateful for Nate for being calm and helping lead us out of the dark, quiet canyon. And I was thankful to Heavenly Father for keeping us safe and providing an opportunity for us to grow closer. It was an experience none of us will ever forget.

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