Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebrating Pioneer Day the Pioneer Way.

The alternate title for this post was "The road to h--- is paved with good intentions" but I decided to keep it clean in honor of the pioneers!

It started out innocent enough. Last Monday was the day designated to celebrate Pioneer Day. We didn't have any invitations to or plans for a bbq. Eric called from work, because appraisers don't get the day designated to celebrate pioneer day off from work, at about 5pm saying he has a fun idea for pioneer day. He suggested we go up Emigration canyon and have dinner at Ruth's diner then do a slightly uphill 4 mile round-trip hike along Emigration ridge to a look-out point where we could watch the fireworks go off across the valley. Sounded perfect. I was to get the girls ready to go. Finn was at scout camp. At 5:30 Eric got home and we all had our hiking shoes on, bottles of water, flashlight and the camera ready to go. We were prepared for the hike we thought we were going to take, unfortunately we weren't prepared for the hike we got.

After a yummy dinner at ruth's diner we drove up the canyon a little farther and parked right by the "Little Dell" reservoir. Luckily (and this is about where our luck ran out) there was a pit toilet the girls could use to empty their teeny-tiny bladders one last time before the hike. (They had used the bathroom at the diner at least twice each already- no exagerration!)
And off we went on our hiking adventure to the best pioneer celebration day ever. Cries of "Our dad's the greatest dad" could be heard echoing through the canyon. The air was pleasant, the scenery beautiful and the conversation lively.
Eric even led a discussion about how Brigham Young knew this was the place because of scouts he had sent out before to find the place Jim Bridger had described between two lakes.
About 1/2 way up it started dizzling. But we kept going- our biggest worry being that Annie AGAIN had to go to the bathroom and didn't want to squat behind a tree. The rain started getting a little heavier but at this point we could see Parley's canyon too and it looked like the storm was heading up that canyon. If we could just get over the ridge we would be out of the rain, or so we thought. So on we went with the rain coming down even heavier. Everyone was still in pretty good spirits until Eric almost stepped on a rattlesnake. He, Suzie and Katie were about 20 feet ahead of Annie and I so he turned back to warn us about the snake. This information was meant to be helpful to Annie and I, but it had the exact opposite effect. Annie went into a tailspin after seeing the rattlesnake curled up on the side of the trail. I must admit, it was a bit unnerving but it had turned so cold and rainy that I'm sure the snake had no intention of striking or even moving for that matter. But it should have served as an omen to Eric and I because things only went downhill from there- and I don't mean the terrain. The wind picked up, the rain became steady and hard and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. But on we went, like our pioneer forefathers, ignoring the whining of our posterity to reach our well-worth it destination.
About a 1/2 mile from the ridge it was still raining hard and the cries had gone from "Our dad's the greatest dad" to "I hate hiking" and "Why did you think this was a good idea?" and "Why didn't you bring an umbrella?" and "I'm never going hiking again." we decided to stop by a bush and let the girls get in under the branches and leaves, hoping they would get a reprieve from the rain and we could get a reprieve from the moaning and complaining. I snapped these two pictures-

One of the beautiful sunset, although you can't really tell how much it is raining.

And one of the misery of our girls. You can only see Katie's face contorted in a cry that says, "My parents are the meanest, most abusive parents ever." But really they all had the same look on their faces. After exchanging sly smiles, Eric and I decided we better turn around. So off we went back down the mountain in the cold, rain and now dark.
It was interesting to see how everyone coped with the situation. Eric tried to be the cheerleader and keep everyone's spirits up. Annie grumbled most the time, except when we passed by the rattlesnake curled up in the same position and she didn't dare talk and had a death grip on my hand. Katie was put in charge of the flashlight by Eric to keep her distracted. Suzie was on Eric's shoulders talking nonstop most of the way down. And I wrote this blog post in my head.
It was a day designated to celebrate the pioneers to remember! And we even got back to the valley to watch the Liberty Park fireworks in time in the comfort of our car. Eric and I agreed that it would be a good hike to try again to watch the sunset when it wasn't raining. And much to the girls chagrin, Eric has vowed to "hike the princess" right out of our girls!