There is a book (out for maybe two years?) by Gerald Lund, titled "The Undaunted." He covers, in his partly-historical way, the story of a group of Mormon pioneers who traveled from Cedar City (southwestern Utah) to Bluff (southeastern Utah) via a trail called The Hole-in-the-Rock in wagons to settle a new community. The journey was supposed to take six weeks and ended up taking more than six months. (There's that huge canyon we've now filled with water and call Lake Powell right there in the middle of their trail, you know.) To be honest, I didn't care for the fictional characters Lund added to help with the smoothness of the narrative, but the true stuff brought me to tears more than once.
I'm attached to this particular trail for two reasons: #1) My ancestors were among those pioneers. #2) My dad has been organizing jeep/boat expeditions along this trail for years, and it's one of my favorite family vacations. A little bit of hiking, a little bit of jeeping, a little bit of boating, a little bit of swimming, a whole lot of fun people (one of the requirements my dad sets forth is that the participants have to be willing to keep a pleasant disposition the whole time) with some fabulous spiritual history thrown in. It's wonderful.
We just completed another successful expedition. Timeline as follows:
Wednesday night: John and the big girls arrive at the houseboat moored at Halls Crossing. They sleep there in order to get two hours more sleep the next morning. That was genius. The little girls and I were in Monticello. Maddie stayed with my sister-in-law Kelly (I'll henceforth refer to her as Saint Kelly), and Bella and I met up with the group in the morning. Breakfast on a houseboat is obviously exciting.
I had five of my six brothers there (sorry, Dave), and it was so much fun. They are really the funniest people I know.
Mimi loves a good hike. She made it all the way to the top.
My brother Rob recreated a photo we took of him and Olivia 8 years ago. (This is one case when the reality is not as scary as the photograph.)
Saturday morning, all of us Wellses hiked our way back up the trail. Naomi and Bella were basically hauled all the way up by one Anderson brother or another. We got into "Old Whitey" (as John affectionately refers to his Jeep), and within 10 minutes, we were stuck in a hole. Awesome. (In the interest of full disclosure, this is only the second time in John's vast four-wheeling experience that he has gotten stuck. That's important information in the preservation of John's manly ego.)
Brother Pete was struggling with hair in his eyes. Does any self-respecting mother of four girls ever find herself in a situation without a comb and some elastics? I took care of the problem.
And my brother Josh, in a Hole-in-the-Rock first, driving my grandpa's thirty-year old Jeep, found himself high-centered on a five-gallon water cooler. (That red one on the right.) Both the jeep and the cooler escaped unscathed.
We made it back to Monticello a little more tired, a little jostled and windburned, and a lot happier. Do any of you want to join us next time?