Saturday, April 16, 2016

Wanderlust



Wandering is something I love to do. Whether it's inside the house, through a store, around the neighborhood, down a canyon, or across the desert, I like to wander. My boys share my love of wandering. (Just don't ask Dylan to wander through any stores. He does all of his shopping online to avoid crowds and lines.)

Wanderlust is what my boys and I have. A strong longing or impulse for wandering. When the three of us get to spend a Saturday together, we usually fill our Camelbaks with water, lace up our hiking shoes, and head for the desert. At the end of March 2015, we found ourselves wandering near the Shivwits Indian reservation outside of Saint George, Utah.

Dylan, Bridger, and I rested in the shade of a juniper tree while hiking above a dry stream. We had a general idea where we were going, but not a specific one. Dylan, the Mr. Preparedness of our group, pulled up the GPS on his phone to get a better idea of where we were. There was no real trail, but there was a dry river bed, and since we were looking for a slot canyon, we figured we were on the right track. Dylan shoved his phone back in his pocket, and we headed downstream.

Bridger, ten years younger than Dylan, scrambled up and down rocks, scouting ahead, and coming back to report his findings. He's like a mountain goat on energy drinks. I figure if I walked five miles that day, he did at least seven. 

It was a gorgeous spring day, early enough in the season that we were kept comfortable from any extremes in temperature, and the slight breeze was welcome. We hiked up and down hills, avoiding the steep rock drop offs, and simply enjoyed exploring this part of the desert.

On this particular day, I was trying to dredge up cobwebbed memories of where the slot canyon was near Gunlock Reservoir. My general memory was clear: the canyon was in the vicinity of the Shivwits reservation; the specifics were clouded. 

As we trudged up a very steep incline, Dylan said he was pretty certain I hadn't gone this way when I hiked with the guide from the Fat Farm, a very unflattering term he uses for where I spent a week trying to get in better shape.

"Hey! It was Fitness Ridge, not the Fat Farm, and we hiked hard on those hikes."

"Well, down here, we call it the Fat Farm, and they wouldn't have taken you up here." He flashed me his trademark grin. 

Nice. Really nice. I'm the Rodney Dangerfield in my family. I get no respect, I tell ya, and I put up with an awful lot of teasing.

Eventually the river bed ran into a slot canyon. Eureka! Well, sort of. This particular part of the hike was totally unfamiliar to me, but we didn't mind. We just like hiking the slots.

As usual, the boys hiked ahead while I hung back taking pictures. The beauty of the desert is such a lovely distraction. Everything catches my eye on the desert; the clear blue of the sky, prickly pear cactus, lizards, toads, and the rugged red rocks. Sometimes I get lost in my own reveries, to my own detriment.



Lost in thought, I was wandering between the two rock walls when the boys started me with screams from a ledge above my head. They have great fun, these two, scaring the wits out of me. No respect at all. Sheesh.

Soooo funny. 


I love the way my sons investigate every little thing in nature. Both of them notice small tracks and animal homes. They are like a desert version of CSI, although there are no crimes being committed, unless making your own mother nearly wet her pants is a criminal offense. I should look into that.

Dylan found what he thought to be an owl pellet. All three of us had dissected owl pellets before; we have a strange fascination with this sort of thing, curious about what we'd find within the pellet. 

As Dylan broke it apart with his fingers, he discovered it was not something left behind by an owl, but was actually the dehydrated droppings of a large domestic animal. 

"Our own little CSI; that's what you are," I teased him. We discussed possible variations of the acronym... Cow Scene Investigator was one; there were others. Feel free to pick your own words that begin with S; we did. 

That afternoon as we headed to the truck, we all agreed that we prefer our wandering around the desert to hiking single file down a trail any day. As Tolkien reminds us, "Not all those who wander are lost." 


Most of us are just having fun.

The Wanderers








Dylan called this a desert rose. So beautiful.






17 comments:

  1. This was beautiful and as I read your definition of "wanderer" I realized, that is what I am. Not as brave as you, but stores and parks are my niche. Great pictures.

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    1. Thanks, Stella. I am not sure how brave I am, but I do love to wander.

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  2. I love to wander too, although I now snap photos sometimes in case I need help finding my way back. Your writing and pics take us wandering with you - I've never visited Utah, and this makes me want to!

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    1. If you ever decide to hike the canyons of Utah, be sure to let me know. It's a hiker's paradise. Thanks for reading, Deb!

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  3. Wandering is fun, and sometimes more enjoyable when you have a partner. I sometimes forget to let people know when I'm wandering alone. My family fives me grief for that. Thank you for reminding me it's time to wander again.

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    1. I try to always let Chuck and one of my kids know where I am...an old habit from my carefree college days when my roommates and I left messages of whereabouts on a white board.

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  4. What a smiling post! Thank you for taking me along with your guys as you wandered. It occurs to me that I no longer wander, well...anywhere. And that's a shame.

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    1. Laura, thank you! I hope you get a chance to wander soon.

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  5. What a smiling post! Thank you for taking me along with you and your guys as you wandered. It now occurs to me that these days I do not wander, well... anywhere! And that's got to change.

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  6. I identify with desert CSI-ing, though I might've used a stick or rock to break up the "pellet." LOL! I miss wandering in pretty places...

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    1. Ros, one day I hope you will join us in Utah where we can spend some time wandering the beautiful scenery. You would love it.

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  7. Mmm, just gorgeous. I love the word play and the images you used to include us in your journey. The small details of all the things you found together are marvelous, especially, the toad and the rose. Much enjoyed this lovely post.

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    1. Thanks, Tonia. This was a fun piece for me to write, and I like revisiting it.

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  8. The desert is SO fascinating! Some of those images are unreal! The boys, on the other hand...LOL. Cow S*** Investigator, maybe? Fun times and explorations. Just don't scare me like that. (I'd kill 'em.)

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    1. Yeah, we were thinking along those same lines for CSI. They are naughty boys, but so lovable. I hope you get to meet all my kids one day.

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  9. Oh, I was gonna ask, what is that funky crumbly dirt circle you shot?

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    1. An insect home. (Don't ask me to identify the insect; I just woke up. Coffee is still brewing. )

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