We talked to my knowledgeable professor/friend and found out where to go. He shared the location of an awesome campsite in the San Rafael Swell with us. It was fairly private and there was a creek nearby for the pup. Tucker was 1 1/2 then, I reckon.
We headed down on a Friday, and found the campsite with no problems. It was awesome, other than the toilet paper confetti that some previous camper had left. We set up our "Hobbitat" tent for the first time, and were quite pleased with the head room (we're both on the tall side).
We had a pleasant evening, with campfire burritos and a fireside reading of The Hobbit (Bubba's first experience with it). The next morning, we had a really fun hike up Muddy Creek. Bubba and Tucker had a blast.
|Fun hiking up the creek!|
We packed up and followed a series of trails down to the south of the park. In our defense, what we saw on the map and what we experienced in real life did not prepare us for what we ran into later. The trails were matching up pretty well with the "hard", "harder", "hardest" designations on our map, and we didn't have a problem with "hardest'.
Eventually, we made it to the desired canyon, where we got out and hiked for a bit. That was fun, but I started getting antsy as Bubba climbed up some high places and pregnant Wifey clambered down drop-offs (little did I know what was to come). About 4:00 in the afternoon, we decided to head on.
The trail got tougher almost immediately. Lovely Wife drove, 8+ months pregnant and all. She's better at this stuff than me...I've got no illusions. We kept meeting people along the way - they'd stop and say, "Are you okay?" and we'd say "yeah!' and drive along. They were all on foot or ATV, of course. We'd seen no other cars since noon.
The road got tougher. There were a few points where I needed to get out and "build up the road" with rocks from the roadside. We were winding our way up some steep, rutty roads and I was glad Wifey was driving. Camping gear would occasionally topple over on Tucker, but we were all in a pretty good mood, looking forward to the easy drive that we knew was only a couple of miles ahead.
About 5:30 in the afternoon, we topped out. We arrived on the top of an 800' mesa, looking down on the road that we'd planned to take out. In between us and it, was a winding, oh-so-not-appropriate for a Honda Pilot trail. That bit of road was not on our map.
We got out and "assessed the situation." It was dizzying. I walked down and measured the width of the road between the first boulder and the hillside...we were about a foot too wide. There was no way our vehicle could go that way.
Off in the distance, we could see rain clouds headed our way -- not good. The trail we came in on was going to get all mushy -- the question was when.
Even if the road didn't get soaked, it seemed preposterous to go back the way we came. Lovely Wife had broken her own rule - don't drive over terrain you can't get back over. We had both been focused on getting to the easy road, not imagining that we'd have to come back this way.
We were also low on gas. How did that happen? Even if we had no other problems, I'd not be sure that we'd make it back to Green River on this much gas.
We had a short pity moment. Then we ate some granola bars, and turned around. We couldn't move forward, so we had to move back. As preposterous as it seemed, it was our best chance.
We did it. We did a lot of memorable stuff that day. I moved a few hundred pounds of rock, building road for our Pilot. I saw some amazing driving from my wife, and indeed, saw the entire underside of our car as she LEAPED the car over an obstacle.
Eventually, we made it back to Green River, running on fumes. The rest of the ride back to Salt Lake was ridiculously easy.
I don't have a moral for this story, but I will say that the feeling we had, when we saw that chasm between us and the easy road, and knew that things were going to get rough...that was a whole lot like getting the autism diagnosis.