Sunday, September 28, 2008

Latest Leo quotes

Leo was bugging us at dinner, "I want to watch Nemo". Paul and I discussed a new video we had gotten from the library that I wanted to see but we decided it was too old for Leo. So Paul turned to Leo, still thinking about whether we'd let him watch a video, "You want to watch Nemo?". To which Leo replied, "YESIREE! If you insist!"

Leo gave me and "ice cream" that was made of a small ball on top a small plastic tube. He warned me, though, "You can only eat the ball not the chips (pointing to the tube), cause if you eat the chips, they will make you into a big fat boob!"

In case you are wondering, no, Paul and I don't call each other boobs, let alone big fat boobs.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

That cooks my head!

Leo and I were eating dinner. Leo said his mouth was an oven and he put soup in it. He said that when he presses his eye, it cooks the food. He pressed his eye. I laughed, "What if I push this button?" as I pushed the middle of his forehead. He said, "NO, that cooks my head!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Volume is turned down

Leo likes to make faces while I'm driving the car. I watch him in the rear-view mirror. Today he was moving his lips while he was making faces. Then he said,"My volume is turned down".

I took Leo to the dentist this morning. I don't know how that kid does it but he already has the beginnings of 2 cavities. Last time I took him, I left him in the play area while I paid the bill and he went out the dentist's office door then out the main door and outside into the parking area. I freaked out. So this time I explained carefully that he had to stay in the dentist office while I paid the bill. On the way out I congratulated him for being a big boy and staying with me. He said,"Next day I go to the dentist, I will go out the window!" I was horrified, of course. Then he added,"I'm just joking!" Got me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's cooking?

Leo was playing with Paul, removed Paul's glasses, put them on his face and turned to me and said, "Hey, Mom, what's going cooking?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slot and Canyon pictures

Panorama at Bryce Canyon - we had a great time finding animals and people's faces in these rocks.

Willis Gulch was the first slot canyon we hiked. It was wonderful. The walls weren't too high at first and there was a nice stream running through the canyon that Leo played in. It was beautiful white sandstone, very different from the typical orange Navajo sandstone.

Debbie in the slot at Wire Pass. This slot was the entrance to Buckskin Gulch.

Debbie wading in the water at Buckskin Gulch. There was a LOT of wading. I'll have to upload the pictures of Leo. He fell into the water and got real muddy and ended up hiking naked. It was really deep in some areas, but we didn't have to swim.

The quicksand that Debbie found. This canyon, next to Peek-a-boo, was full of quicksand. Debbie had no idea until she tried walking through the canyon.

The entrance of Peek-a-boo. You have to wade into a deep pool of stagnant water, walk up these tiny steps cut into the sandstone (with wet shoes) and pull yourself up to the doorway (with backpack or child on your back). Needless to say, we skipped this entrance, went in mid-way, and came around the other side.

Leo cheesing it up in Peek-a-boo and Spooky.

Debbie dropping through a window.

Classic windy Navajo sandstone slot.

Debbie about to drop down this part.

Debbie and Leo at the top of another drop.

Leo squeezing through the slots.

Debbie hanging in a cubbyhole at Devil's Garden in Escalante National Monument.

Debbie and Leo under the arch at Escalante National Monument.

And on the arch.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Like a racehorse!

Leo was potty trained fairly recently before our trip and even though it would have been easier for us to put him in diapers, we decided that continuing the potty use was more important. So we took an empty juice container and used it as an emergency potty. But it is so easy that we often prefer it to a real bathroom. This morning Leo nearly filled it up! He was so happy, he exclaimed - "I'm peeing like a racehorse!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Peek-a-boo and Spooky

Yesterday we went down Cottonwood Canyon Narrows, a nice tall slot canyon that was walkable and dry for a change. We enjoyed the easy walk and exploring the keyhole, a giant cave-like divet cut into the wall. Then we went up-canyon and found an even more exciting narrow route through and over big rocks with more twisty passages and caves. It seemed that each slot canyon hike was getting better and this would have to start to get boring at some point.

So today we headed out to Escalante, the town, and went 26 bumpy miles down the washboard they call Hole in the Rock Road. We went to find Peek-a-Boo and Spooky, 2 slots not in our book. Everyone else was there too - the parking lot was full of cars in contrast to previous hikes where we were practically alone. We found the first slot full of mud and quicksand. We weren't able to get into it although I managed to sink one foot pretty deep, testing out the sands. We found Peek-a-Boo next and a huge pool followed immediately by tiny steps cut into the rock prevented us and apparently everyone else from entering the main entrance. We hiked up and around and got into an extremely twisty slot canyon. The floor was non-existent: the walls ended in a V at the ground. There were circular windows and doorways to walk through and the walls were so tight only Leo could get through at the base and that was with a lot of effort. We had to scale up the walls where the passage was wider to get through. We met a bunch of folks who were greatly impressed with Leo's climbing ability and most said we'd never make it through Spooky with a child, let alone our big backpack.

We explored Peek-a-Boo up and down and then hiked in the hot sun and desert sands over to Spooky. As I've mentioned, one of the great things about these canyons is the escape from the sun and heat. Spooky felt VERY claustrophobic and a lot more like spelunking. We were in tortuously twisty passages. Each step was around a twisty wall. At one point, hikers in the opposite direction yelled out to us because there was no way to pass each other and turning around was also difficult. Actually just hiking through was tricky and we are all small people. The walls were pretty high too so you didn't really want to hang out in any one place in the twisty parts. There was a spot where many BIG boulders had gotten stuck and downclimbing was tricky. We had to find a little hole and then all squeeze through one at a time.

It was a crazy hike. The narrowness and twistiness was extremely fun, a little scary, and very exciting. We did make it through both slots with Leo just fine. Leo did better than a lot of the adults we met. You'd be amazed at the things he can scale up or jump down (like 1.5 times his height). He was probably more engaged on this hike than any other. It was like a giant maze for people.

The weatherman is predicting possible thundershowers in the next couple days, so I think this is the end of our slots. There are some nice waterfalls and then Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, etc before we head home, but I think this has been one of the great highlights of our trip. It's hard to imagine hiking a boring trail in a forest or mountaintop when you could be scampering over rocks in a slot canyon.

Paul has a couple thousand pictures to sort through for posting. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Navigating the slot canyons

I've always wanted to see the slot canyons - the yellow orange sandstone that is narrowly and deeply cut by desert flash floods. We made it to Escalante National Monument yesterday and have been having the time of our lives hiking slot canyons.

Yesterday we went to Willis wash. From the trailhead, a normal dusty path through a scubby desert, there is some white slickrock and a tiny stream running down it cutting a beautiful curvy slot in the white rock. Leo was squealing happy - he loved wading in the mini stream of water in the canyon. I loved the cool escape from the heat. Paul was in photographic heaven. We didn't make it very far as Leo managed to get soaked and ended up hiking naked which made him even happier and Paul and I were videoing and photographing everything in sight even though the light was too harsh and the lenses weren't wide enough.

We're camping in Kodachrome Basin which has free hot showers! And is extremely picturesque with great colorful spires and rock formations. This entire area is incredibly beautiful. We can't believe we,ve been to so many places out west and especially in Utah and yet this is our first slot canyon experience.

Today we drove 3 hours to get to our hike in Buckskin Gulch, one of the wolrd's most famous slot canyons. This was a Navajo sandstone canyon, very red and orange, like the pictures that made this area famous. We wound our way through slots so narrow you could pratically touch both shoulders to the walls. And the canyon looms 100 feet above your head. It gets deeper - up to 500 feet later but we didn't make it that far. There's a bunch of boulder jams where you have to down climb over big rocks that are stuck in the narrow slots. In the gulch there were lots of cold pools of muddy water to wade through which made hiking incredibly slow. Again, Leo loved the wading and got very wet. Paul loved the dried mud patterns. It was a great adventure. There were some old hieroglyphs on the walls - some deer and people and family trees.

Tomorrow we'll try for cottonwood Narrows and there's more slots near Escalante that we hope to hit.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bryce Canyon

Leo loves prairie dogs. I saw that the Utah prairie dog is endangered and mentioned it would be nice to see one here because they are so cute.

Leo replied, "They're so cute I can almost fit in his body."