Monthly Archives: April 2017

dennis jones hiking fruita dugway trail colorado national monument

Fruita Dugway

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
Erol Ozan

With both vehicles available, I decided Fruita Dugway would be a good choice for a hike with the kids today.

We parked a car at the Kodel’s Canyon trailhead, then drove the other up to the Visitor’s Center. We hiked from there and it was marvelous…except for Timothy’s incessant whining that we were 1) Hiking at all and 2) it was too hot and 3) the hike kind of started on a steep uphill.

We had a nice chat about how your thoughts control your emotions and you get to control your thoughts, and by the time we got to the Fruita Dugway turnoff from the Black Ridge Trail he was okay. And the trail started moving us down.

We chatted and had fun…and then their dad was hiking up the trial toward us with his new girlfriend!

The kids were happy, and he was happy, and we were happy, and Matt suggested we all hike together to see where he and his girlfriend were about to rappel down into the slot canyon we had been hiking along the top of.

So we did! All 7 of us hiking together and scrambling down. It was hilarious and awesome.

Eventually the two of them rappelled down and we waved goodbye and kept on our route.

At one point the trail became confusing, but Matt and I being the awesome trail-going peeps we are, managed to figure it out. We followed the trail down and something awesome happened…

The boys started fighting. Kind of. Connor wanted to to to McDonalds. Tim wanted Wendy’s. So I arbitrated their discussion until they came to a point where they were both very happy. We would get Wendy’s today, and on Tuesday, after Trinity’s track meet, we would get McDonald’s and Tim would give Connor his happy meal toy.

Phew! It was an awesome interesting thing to watch.

We made the long descent and it was so beautiful and a little scary and I LOVE to explore new trails like this…


It was a happy day.

We followed it up with Wendy’s and a trip to the pool.


colorado national monument rim trail

Canyon Rim

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
Helen Keller

I had a short period of time between morning Mass at Immaculate Mary, and teaching at my elementary school job.

Which I love.

I love the kids. I love music. I love the school. I love my teacher friends. I love it.

But I had to get out.

I decided an easy, short run along the rim trail in Colorado National Monument was just the ticket. The only problem was: Matt had our pass.

So I talked the ranger at the booth into letting me in anyway.

I loved this run. So beautiful. So fun. I even took some time to lay on a boulder and enjoy the view.

Worth it.

Peek-a-boo and Spooky

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

We woke at our awesome campsite and the kids got to work egg hunting.

We ate breakfast.

We packed up.

We went to the trailhead.

We hiked down, and into the first slot canyon available: Dry Wash Gulch..or something.

Tim was ‘fussy’ the whole time because I’d shown him some photos of Peek-a-boo gulch and he just wanted to get to the main event.

When we got there, my memory of hiking this place 10 years ago was blurry. You see, back then I hiked it with my former husband and I was more than a little overweight. And all I could think about was not complaining, doing my best to push myself so that he would maybe be proud of me. Or so I could keep up with him. Whatever. I was more focused on pleasing the person I was with than having a good time…


We get to the entrance and there’s this huge puddle at the bottom. And it’s a tough scrambly climb up into the slot canyon, using moki steps. That were wet.

Of course, Tim was the first one up. Trinity wasn’t far behind. She had to take off her pack. The two of them coached Connor up, and before I knew it, I had to make a choice:

Stay with Matt, or go with the kids.

Because there was no way Matt was going to climb up that with his camera.

So I made the choice: go with the kids.

It was scary as $#!^ but handed my pack up to Trinity and shimmied my way up…only to find that we couldn’t get down and were faced with a 4 foot shelf to climb up with a puddle of 12″ of mud/water/whoknowswhat at the bottom. Which is why Tim hadn’t moved on. The boy doesn’t like to get wet.

So I made the choice: take off our shoes, tie them to our packs.

I went first, waded through the water, climbed up onto the shelf [awesome that I was strong enough!] and lifted the kids up one by one.

There would be several more puddles to wade through, more lifting the kids through, lots of scrambling and man that thing was freaking awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! The kids LOVED it! And I loved watching them love it!!

Trinity, Connor, and I had our shoes off. I managed to get Tim through without having to wade through water. We LOVED the feel of the soft sand in our toes. We LOVED waltzing across the hot rocks.

We made it out of the canyon. I was so proud of my kids but also so worried about Matt. Not worried about him being safe or anything, but that he would…oh, I don’t know…be happy, I guess?

At the top of the canyon we had a snack and visited with some very nice dudes who were on a trip from Oregon. Those guys were awesome. Tim especially enjoyed chatting with them.

But I was worried/excited to find Matt again. The plan when we separated was that he would start climbing up Spooky and meet us somewhere.

So we hiked in the heat of the day over this huge mound of sand. I kept the kids on track, but let Trinity lead the way. When we reached the descent into Spooky the kids all ran down the sand. When they saw me at the top of the hill they were like, “MOM!! RUN!!!”

I ran down the hill to the cheers of my kiddos.

I really, really, really adore these three awesome little kids!!!!!!

They are seriously amazing and fabulous and a thousand other superlatives in one.

We started down Spooky…with the scary descent through a stack of boulders. I was able to coach the kids down it, and practically lifted Connor down. Worth it.

Then the gulch got super twisty and narrow….and every group we came across we asked about Matt.

Finally, one group said, “He’s right behind us.”

When we found him, I was high on a shelf and I looked down into his eyes and it was…amazing….bliss….heaven! I was so happy to see him!!!!

He’s my love.

The kids were happy to see him, too, and we had a lovely hike out as a family.

It was hot, and a steep climb back to the car, but we made it. Enjoyed sandwiches. Drank Gatorade. Then headed home.

It was an amazing, awesome, fun, memorable, blissful, happy, contented, family weekend.

I love my life.

[Here are some of Matt’s shots…]