Sam and I drove down with Ros on Friday afternoon, and we met up with some other family who had driven down the day before. Because of that, we missed the day they went to Arches, which was kind of a bummer, but Sam and I have both been there before (but it was like 15+ years ago for me, so I will still have to go back!).
We stayed with a very nice couple who used to babysit Sam and his sibs when they all lived in New Jersey, even though they were out of town until the morning we left! They were still very kind to let us stay, especially since there were like 2 races in Moab that weekend and hotels were basically full-up.
Anyway, so Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast and drove into town to meet up with my parents and sibs, and we decided rather simultaneously that the previously planned hike to Grand Gallery (a pictograph panel, a very cool one, look it up) was altogether too strenuous, too steep, and too difficult to get to, so we decided instead to go to Canyonlands National Park and hope we had the same amount of fun. Note: I'm still planning on hiking to Grand Gallery one day, but this was not that day. I need to be in better shape for that.
I was kind of expecting Canyonlands to be lame, if I'm being honest, but it actually turned out to be quite fun and very beautiful.
The first thing we did after the visitor's center and lunch was to drive out to Upheaval Dome (which is really a crater, by the way), which we hiked to the top of and pondered its origins. I'm still not convinced by the meteor theory, but the salt dome theory has its flaws too, in case you were wondering (again...look it up). Anyway, it was a great view.
After the Dome, we went over to Aztec Butte. At this point, it was well into Rosalind's normal naptime, so she was quite the crank. She nearly fell asleep in the car, so we left her with my mom, whose knees needed a rest, and hiked first to the top of the shorter butte with Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi to you plebes) granaries on it. That was interesting. There was even "Anasazi Goo" aka bits of food from way back in the day left in the pantry to get hard as a rock.
After the shorter butte, we grabbed dad (who was sitting in the shade on the cyanobiotic soil crust) and hiked the taller butte, which I think is the real Aztec Butte. The hike was hot and pretty strenuous (ie you actually had to be part goat because it was primarily vertical) but was super fun to do. Finally we reached the butte-top and holy cow, it was an amazing view!
Sam kept disappearing ahead to find the next cairns, and eventually from the butte top we heard "found it!" There were other AP structures up there on the opposite cliffside, so we climbed back down part of the other side to get there. Unfortunately, the trail was closed from rockfall, so we had to turn around (except Eric and Sam went ahead a little ways and we got appropriately mad at them). There was actually another structure up there that we could get to, but I think we all decided it was fake (or at least modern, hiker-built).
We then hiked down (oh the knees!) and met up with my mom and Rosalind, who were meeting us at the trailhead (Ros had apparently not slept at all, the stinker).
After that, we were all pretty beat, and drove over to the Green River Overlook (no hiking involved, fortunately). The view was almost literally breathtaking. I remember when I got up to the edge and looked out I found myself saying "Wow!" under my breath. It was truly a gorgeous view.
After the view, we went over to Mesa Arch. It was another hike, so I was basically like, "Nope," and only hiked as far as I needed to to get the arch in my view, then sat down and waited for everyone else (well, Sam waited too). Oh, we also got attacked by a dust devil, which, in case you're wondering, stings like the dickens and really pushes you around!
After all this, we went back to Moab and got dinner at Milt's, which took way too long but was still delicious. After dinner, we drove over to the really awesome Rotary Park that had a bunch of giant instruments for everyone to play. That was pretty fun. I took a bunch of video snippets of everyone playing, hoping to splice them into a montage, but I couldn't get it to work even though I downloaded like 3 different apps ARGH.
Sunday morning we got up and chatted with the Dickersons for a bit before we had to leave, then went down to help everyone else get out of the hotel room. We then piled into our cars and drove north to Green River (which is a sad remnant of whatever glory it used to be many years ago). There, we filled up on gas and bought sandwiches for lunch, then headed out to Goblin Valley State Park.
We ate lunch once we got there and spent a couple hours wandering 'round amongst the goblins. It was pretty fun. We found "an actual little cave" and a goblin that looked like a turtle, and lots of other interesting things. There were some jokes made about Ros being the Goblin Queen, and we even found her a throne.
After Goblin Valley, Ros was again in anti-naptime-meltdown but still refused to sleep in the car, so after calming her down a bit, I made her comfortable carrying her on my front and we all went hiking up Little Wildhorse Canyon.
It was pretty difficult to hike carrying Ros on the front, but I managed it. She actually slept off and on, which was very nice. The canyon was seriously awesome and got incredibly narrow at parts, like the trail was just a line on the ground almost, just big enough for your feet, and the canyon walls only a couple feet apart!
We hiked in a couple of miles almost, right to where the slot sort of turns back into regular canyon, had a snack, then turned around and hiked out. The boys of course decided to prove their worth again and hiked up some rubbly-cliff thing, and Sam almost died when he slipped and landed on Ian (or maybe Ian almost died). It was kind of funny though. We took some "slot selfies" sans Dad, because he hiked ahead so that if there was a flash flood he would "be the last to die." In his defense, it had been raining...
After that we piled back in the car and, after a brief stop at the South Temple Wash Panel (of pictographs), drove back home (we stopped in Price for dinner-- a hopping town, let me tell you). All in all, it was a pretty fun trip, and it was great to get outside for fresh air and hiking!