Sunday, March 03, 2013

Red Rock Adventure!

Ready to Rock!

It must be adventure time for the LaJoy's as field trips and harps loom on the horizon.  We had another unexpected adventure yesterday, when we were invited to go on a hike with a friend. What we thought was going to be a relatively short hike turned into a five mile trek into some of the most beautiful land I have seen up close in a long while.  We drove to Dominguez Canyon, about 45 minutes or so from our home,where we then set off.  Being ski season until the first week of April, Dominick is still working all weekend each week, so he was unable to join us.  It was Olesya's turn for her work shift as well, and though we offered to let her have it off, she elected to work anyway as she wants to save money while she has the opportunity to do so.  Those of us who ended up going decided it was a good thing she didn't come along, because she probably would not have enjoyed it as much as she is about as outdoorsy as her Mama...who had no choice in the matter on this one :-)  My bum hip was really, really feeling it by the end of the day, and getting up this morning and walking on it was akin to minor torture.  But I did it, and I am glad I did!  It wasn't really a tough hike, as it was mainly flat the entire time, just some rough terrain.

I am sure you all are not interested in this many photos, but Dominick is asleep right now, and I want him to be able to see what we did at 4:30 tomorrow morning, when he logs on, so I am posting a lot of photos for him.  We started from the parking lot where the landscape looked like this:

Energy and excitement was high as we started our day, and the weather couldn't have been better.  Yes, I know we live in Colorado and yes, I realize you see no snow in this photo...hence the cause of our drought.  The mountains off to the right are where we were headed.

The Gang 

We saw piles of old railroad ties...

We hiked for a mile or so alongside the Gunnison River...

We crossed a cool bridge...

We climbed a ton of rocks.  Ok, who am I kidding, THEY climbed a ton of rocks!  Matthew and Kenny, in particular, were the Billy Goats of the group.

Then we raced to see the first waterfall.

It was awesome!  And grandma, don't freak out about the rock Matt is on, it was a bigger ledge than it appears to be.

Everyone loved getting to the bottom...

And climbing their way back out!

Matthew decided to help lift Josh out.

We had lunch and took a much needed break.

And Mom forced everyone to let me take their picture.  They were good sports.

They found this huge old tree to climb that had perfect broad branches to hang out on.

Or lay on!

Despite having the remnants of a nasty cold, Angela was a real
trooper and still ended up enjoying herself.

We saw some AMAZING rock formations.

And we loved surprising mom after having climbed up on them!

This was an area above another waterfall, where water pools up and has smoothed the rock formations to a super slick surface.

Matthew grabbed the camera for this one, and Kenny grabbed me!

Angela enjoyed listening to the waterfall behind her...which dropped at least what looked to be 80' or so.

Angela and I giggled as we watched our Tom Sawyers from behind.  Matthew's dangling jacket was so funny!

While we don't often get out in this sort of terrain, it really is beautiful and we are so fortunate to live less than an hour from the high desert, red rock, forested areas, and so much more.  We have joked about it a little, feeling guilty because we are not a super outdoorsy family.  We enjoy getting out in it a little, but we are not like some of our friends who climb fourteeners, go off for days in the back country with nothing but a backpack, or go tent camping all the time.  But you don't have to be a mountain climber to have a deep appreciation for the awesome landscapes we are surrounded by.  Just taking a drive up into the mountains for a picnic lunch is a 40 minute trip in just about any direction, and we experience wildlife, vistas that go on for miles, and the hushed silence that many never get to hear living in more populated areas.  Heck, we hear that out our door each evening...with the exception of the occasional cow calling at the auction yard a mile down the road. Sometimes I take it for granted, this beautiful playland that surrounds us...but not often :-)  I still feel as blessed each morning when I look out my kitchen window at sunrise as I did the morning I first woke up in this house after moving from California.  I doubt that appreciation will ever go away.

The treat at the end of our hike in, before turning around, was to see real Anasazi Indian petroglyphs, which as you can see are quite clear.

While there was a little etched graffiti in various spots,the petroglyphs were in remarkably great shape for as much traffic as passes by.  One thing I will say about Coloradoans, there is a deep respect for the land and the natural resources we have here.  You seldom see litter or graffiti in our park areas or road sides, and people seem to want to preserve that which is unique to our area, some of which is found nowhere else.

The boys were also fascinated with the boulder itself, as you could see the erosion at the bottom.

I think this was my favorite photo of the day though:

Joshie was climbing up, but having a hard time getting back down.  Kenny jumped up to go over and help guide him to safe footing.  This was the symbolic Photo of the Day, as throughout the day the kids all helped each other, and me as well.  Those are the photos I don't always catch, as the camera is often put away when, for example, Matthew knew I was having a hard time with my hip but rushed back to encourage me to see a little hidden pool he had spotted.  He told me I couldn't miss it because he thought it was so beautiful and quietly hidden, so he urged me to come with him as he firmly took hold of my arm, and continued to help me safely hop over rocks and gently guide me to solid ground. When we peeked around a huge boulder to see this shaded pool with snow still tucked around the edges, he softly said, "See, I told you that you couldn't miss it.  Isn't it beautiful? ...and I said a silent prayer for the sometimes not so obvious tender heart of my 13 year old son. 

Another moment was toward the end of our long, hot day, when Angela noticed that Joshua was flagging, and for a moment looked near tears as he explained his feet were really hurting.  He turned his head to the side as he quickly wiped a tear, hoping no one would see it.  It didn't escape Angela, who quietly came alongside him, and took his backpack from him to lighten his load for the remainder of the last mile.  His grateful smile spoke his thanks, and I couldn't stop from thinking how blessed we are to live with such thoughtfulness out of our children every day.  They aren't perfect, and they do have their moments once in a great while, but overall we are incredibly lucky to be parenting this group of warm, tender, bright, kind young people who care so much about each other and their parents, and who wouldn't think twice about lending a hand or helping carry the heavy load.   There are times when Dominick and I look at one another, and we both know we have all we ever dreamed of right there in the open faces of our five beloved ones.

The week begins in...well...less than an hour.  The books will be hit hard, volunteering tomorrow at the food bank will keep us busy, and meetings for church and school are scattered through the weekly calendar.  The anticipation of the arrival of Mom's new toy seems to be affecting everyone, as Joshie jumped up Friday when the UPS truck pulled into the driveway and he cried out, "I think it's here, Mom, I think it's here!", only to be disappointed when the driver approached the door with a small package rather than a very large box.  

About 6 more weeks of school to go, then we celebrate!


Anonymous said...

Awesome! All of it.
Teresa F

Anonymous said...

Those tender hearts and compassionate children did not spring out of thin air but came from the heart of loving parents who intentionally nestle in the heart of God.


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic place to be able to go for a day hike! And a great time of year to go, I'll bet all the snakes were still snoozing :)