Winter Sun in the Devil’s Kitchen: Apparently Hell HAS frozen over!

“Man, you are one butt-load of sunshine, let me tell you.”
James Dashner, The Maze Runner

So we don’t practice an organized religion.

That’s not to say we don’t teach the children to be strong, moral, caring, loving, kind, generous, virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy….because we do! We just do it every day instead of just once a week!

Ha ha ha ha!

Nevertheless, the weekends when I get the kids we like to attend what we have affectionately dubbed “Dirt Church”. This is where we go out and explore trails [that’s where the dirt comes from], and we appreciate nature and each other and have some of the most meaningful discussions and bonding time.

We LOVE “Dirt Church”. Maybe I should change the name of this website to Dirt Church. Or perhaps when we publish our Discovering the Monument book we’ll call it “Dirt Church: a Highly Opinionated Guide to Trails and Spaces Inside the Colorado National Monument”.

I just copyrighted that so screw you if you want to steel it. 😉 [My apologies. As I write I’m pretty certain I have a fever of 101+]

Okay…where was I?

Right. Dirt church.

So last Sunday we took the kids for a hike to Devil’s Kitchen. It’s one of the rare excursions we never have to ‘talk them into.’ [aka force them to]. The day was bright and we were all feeling pretty good…except Trinity who had a bit of a cold.

We took the kids to see the petroglyphs then hiked up the wash.

Connor was tasked with looking for animals and signs of animal life for a Cub Scout requirement. He had a wonderful time! We found mouse, bunny, and even mountain lion tracks of various sizes and age. We watched bright azure pinion jays playing in the trees. We saw a wide variety of scat.

Trinity was so full-on complaining that we actually had to stop and have a chat with her…where we gently reminded her that she doesn’t have to be bitchy just because she doesn’t feel well and that she could do very well by turning her attitude around right now young lady and bring back our fun-loving adventure girl because we love her and miss her!And just like that the storm was over.

I’m not sure how long we hung out in ‘the kitchen’…but we all had fun climbing on rocks and lounging in the sunshine. It was a beautiful thing.

On the way back, I decided to lead them all up a rock formation where I suspected there was an arch. Sure enough, there was. I hope my Indian is “Archfinder”. Ha ha ha!

[Fever, remember?]I’m still crossing this lower part of the trail off of our all-trails-in-the-monument theme, but I have no doubt we will be back to share with you the slot canyons and hidden grottos of the upper reaches of this area.

Until then, Cheers!

[Lifting large tub of orange juice]

Connor hiding in the arch.


devil's kitch trail arch colorado national monument with no thoroughfare in background
The cliffs of No Thoroughfare through the arch.

Little arch.


Me and Tim.

The graffiti reads: EFA 1913. I think it stands for “Elisa’s Freaking Awesome”

X Marks the spot!

Kids chillin.

Connor posing like the male model he truly is.

Kids hiking up the wash

All three kids in the arch.

Connor and Tim posing.

Big smile obligatory selfie…just got my ‘braces’ off!

Connor and Matt exploring the history in graffiti

Matt and Tim sharing the cubby hole.