“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.”
C. JoyBell C.

I wanted to get away for the weekend, even though I knew it was Easter, Spring Break, and Gorgeous.

I don’t recall how I came to the conclusion that we had to spend enough time in the car to call it a ‘road trip’…but I do remember the endless internal debate: camp or motel….motel or camp….camping or motelling?

In the end I decided that unless the motel was pretty darn sketchy, camping would be a much better way to improve the life skills of my children, so we went with that.

We headed off down I70 into Utah. We listened to podcasts. I created a content calendar for one of my other websites. We chatted. We laughed. The kids kept asking questions.

When we got to Capitol Reef we stopped for a bit of pie at the Gifford House. We didn’t eat the pie right away…it’s better after a hike, right? So we pressed on, over to Torrey where we enjoyed delicious burgers and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, respectively.

Full to the brim and slightly sleepy, we drove over the Boulder Mountain where the aspens shook in the breeze, still leafless, and snow remained gracing the north-facing slopes.

The town of Boulder [don’t blink, you’ll miss it!] had some wild fields of flowers that made our eyes water. The drive across the hogsback on highway 12 is always epic, but especially so when you look to the right and see down into the canyon where you’re headed.

The Calf Creek Recreation area was completely packed with cars…but the trail was surprisingly un-packed. We had a lovely time in the desert warmth hiking past the beaver ponds, spotting the pictographs on the other side of the canyon, and trying to spot the granaries.

The hike feels very much like any other you might find in this part of Utah: sandy and dry with occasional wildflowers and interesting geology.

Until you get to the end.

It’s like you walk out of a western movie set and into Rivendell.

The trees tower above you, the walls weep on 3 sides. The temperature drops about 30 degrees, and you are presented with one of the Western United States’ most spectacular water falls.

We parked our packs around and spend another hour or so just enjoy it. Matt took several images, I took some video, and Trinity took her boots off and waded into the water.

As I’m trying to recover my own spirit of adventure, I opted to join her.

The water was like ice, but not unpleasant on my tired feet.

I couldn’t help but be impressed with the ownership all three of my kids had on this hike. They were occasionally separated from us or each other, but I was not concerned. I was thrilled at the look on Trinity’s face when she saw the falls…and started running to get there even faster! It was precisely what I had hoped!

The return hike was uneventful, other than the fact when we got back to the car I was able to bum a beer off a nice couple from SLC.

We wrapped up the day by driving down the Hole-In-The-Rock Road to the Dry Wash trailhead. Once we found it, we scoped out a nearby Jeep trail and found a lovely campsite under a cottonwood, with expansive views toward Lake Powell and a rock outcropping that was perfect for kids to climb on- and for me to hide Easter Eggs on, which, after getting the kids all settled in their tents, I did.

I’ll be honest. This was my first time camping with the kids where we didn’t share a tent, and I was probably more….anxious about it than any of them were. Fortunately, I had my lovely fiance there to talk me down.