Tag Archives: Trinity

Children on a Fallen Tree - Red Canyon Colorado National Monument by Matt Janson Photography

Finding Waterfalls in Unlikely Places

“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.”
Isaac Newton

“The world unwraps itself to you, again and again as soon as you are ready to see it anew.”
Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Thus far, February has been a metaphorical ‘bitch’. Pardon the expression. But as you can see, we haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity to get out and about.

Why? Because we work. A lot.

Sometimes I think keeping up with this blog, and especially our plan for Discovering the Monument, is just beyond what I should ever commit to, time-wise. But here’s the thing: this is work that doesn’t feel like work. I actually have a lot of ‘work’ that doesn’t feel like ‘work’…so how bad can life really be?

Anyhoo- today’s adventure… We love having the kids for weekend adventures!

They were soooooo not interested in getting out and hiking. Especially thanks to the snow melt, a bit of cold and cloud cover, and rain.

Nevertheless, their mother [myself] is undeterred by weather and simply selected a ‘trail’ option that would negate weather concerns: hiking up a wash to find a waterfall. By hiking on the rock we avoid mud and potential footprints, and can usually find some fun watersport options [ie. Trying to hit ice floats with rocks from 50 ft. up; skipping rocks; peeing into the puddles…stuff like that.]

We started with Red Canyon, dropping down from the road and hiking up the wash. If you stay in the lower wash you’ll find a rather challenging water fall to climb up should you choose to continue. Instead, we hiked on the rock rim of the lower wash, and connected to the upper reaches. Matt and I had hiked this way once before. At night. So we knew a little of what to expect.

The area did not disappoint. The rock bed was sculpted in several places. A large log presented its self as an opportunity for the kiddos to challenge their balance. And just about the mile mark, we came to a double-alcove, where two waterfalls were just trickling to life. We let the kids climb around and enjoyed a snack before heading back. [At which point we played ‘who can break the ice by throwin’ a big rock down into the lower wash where there are ice floats…good times had by all….except for me who kept trying to get them to come away from the edge.

Alas, my children are fearless.] When we got back to the car the kids made it quite clear they had enough adventuring for the day.  Alas for THEM, I had not.

So we continued up Ute Canyon, scanning for some things I am curious about [more on that later], and speculating the possibility of a north-rim transvers or descent into Upper Ute Canyon.

At one point we pulled just off the road, and Matt, went down toward the canyon rim to explore. He returned shortly to retrieve his camera, indicating that he had found a more spectacular waterfall than we had seen all day.

I, of course, immediately left the car [after inviting the kids along] to join in his exploit.  My fearless children chose not to follow. Once I spotted the falls as described, I returned to the car and insisted the children follow. Trinity was already out and on her way.

Eventually we were all exploring in the upper wash of Upper Ute Canyon. Trinity kept saying, “I’m in my element. I’m in my element. I love this.” And she did. I followed her as she continued up-stream, and after a time started to feel concerned at the separation of our group. I told her she could go on alone, just stay to the wash, and we would pick her up where the wash crossed the road…I was confident there was a tunnel there.

Unfortunately, I was less confident in the distance to it. And I became even less so as time passed…

I ran back to find the boys and Matt who had headed up the wash toward us. I told them we were going to get the car then pick Trinity up.

As we drive up Rim Rock Drive, following the wash, we began to realize it was much, much further to the tunnel than I had anticipated, and the drainage took a long loop away from the road. We could see that at one point the walls on either side of it rose so that to continue following it you would HAVE to get very cold and wet.

What had I done!?! My mommy senses started sounding all kinds of alarm bells.

Yes, I was confident my daughter would survive. Less confident she would have the foresight to not freeze her butt off or get lost. Every stressful and worrisome scenario played out in my mind. I pulled over and let Matt get out to look up and down the wash and shout for her. He did. Twice.

And there was no sign of her.

I my worry deepened. I had no idea how fast she was hiking or what challenges she was facing, or if she had veered away from the road enough to truly feel lost. And afraid. And when kids are afraid, I’m afraid they get stupid. I hopped out of the car determined to run the entire length of the wash until I could find my sweet daughter.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to. I started shouting for her. And when I want to be loud, please believe me that I can be VERY loud. She finally responded, and I ran toward her voice. I shouted for her to get up to the road…RIGHT NOW!

She did, and though she was very cold, muddy, and her hands hurt from ‘some dumb tree’ who ‘attacked’ her, she was otherwise sound. And smiling.

She’d had a great adventure!

I, on the other hand, had quite enough for the day. A woman can only take so much adrenaline.

mount garfield view

Good Choice, Bad Decision

“No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence–that which makes its truth, its meaning–its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream–alone.” 
― Joseph ConradHeart of Darkness

Raise me up in the pre-dawn light- I tremble at the day before me- so much asked of, so much taken. But I go- eastward, to the call of duty- and friendship to reacquaint. Thrills of expectation for what is to come.

IMG_2174 IMG_2177 IMG_2178The daylight paints vistas, striking to the heart of this woman- tasks at hand, though fingers cold, warmth of playful banter warm me. Then rush, demand- a skilled juggler am I. They come and I smile. I know what awaits them for I have seen it, felt it- at least in part. IMG_2182

With travail goes time- crashing past like countless waves- they ride and turn, flying flying like so many birds, discovering how fast their wings can take them. Course and course, the lifeblood, a mimic of the circulation, in the vineyard. Time pulsing on.

Voices and camaraderie. This heart filled with pride. I’m getting to know them now- my conversion nearly complete. Fear has been abandoned, and friendships bonded. Gratitude inexpressible. IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2196 IMG_2197

More (and far better) pictures here: Matt Janson Photography

Drinks, dinner, awards, we laugh and cheer- then decision is made, to traverse to the summit, feeling nearby, we seek to partake.

My daughter, my companion- we climb- wild hearts defending us from the cold. Climbing above the populous- a late start, with sunset wreaking havoc on the storm clouds surrounding, enclosing us in. The pressure of darkness is the weight I carry, far greater than the pack of supplies strapped to my shoulders. IMG_2198 IMG_2199 IMG_2201 IMG_2202 IMG_2205 IMG_2210 IMG_2230

My girl, my pride- she does not falter, though strenuous the travail. Though I warn the lengthening of the hours, she demands the satisfaction of the summit.

Clouds turn to darkness, and darkness joins with snow. We scramble, hands and feet grasping for purchase to lift us up, up- the work now mingled with worry- as only a mother who is risking her child can feel.

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But perhaps my eldest has a spark in her, a reflection perhaps, of me. She does not falter. She does not fear. She is driven for the summit, and will only turn back once it is reached. The power of her spirit astounds me- her creator, nurturer, mother, and friend.

We reach the goal and retreat through the storm, the trail obscured now in the blanket of white. She laughs at me, my dark tresses endowed now with pure white.

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Though our eyes still seek the trail before us, darkness threatens in earnest now- and worry abounds my heart. But my brave girl never falters- “Have hope” she cries. Hope has never been my companion. Work is my friend- I trust my skill for endurance. I trust my memory to know the way.

Soon, light is required for safe descending. Snow remains behind us, and the lower trail has been moistened- slicking the rocks and tacky the mud. The light only projecting from my phone, we carefully clamber in tandem. Until the device battery is exhausted. We scramble by the light of the stars, and the last glow of the day.

Of what do we speak? I, the storyteller, recount for her the story of her own birth, that of her brothers, and of the times I have screamed out in pain (a mere trio). Her clever and concerned responses just deepen my affection for this girl. Can one burst from pride?

Hours of careful purchase on rock and dirt, we finally achieve the trailhead. Overjoyed, we drive for our now-typical post-trail treat: hot cocoas and lots of hugs.




“I have walked a stair of swords,
I have worn a coat of scars.
I have vowed with hollow words,
I have lied my way to the stars
-Songs of Sapphique” 

Trinity and I ventured out in the dark and cold tonight. Winter has finally knocked on the door of the Grand Valley.

We hiked in the dark around Kid’s Meal, and she had an idea to climb up on a hoodoo and count the falling stars. So we did. Then we got hot cocoa on the way home.