Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Undaunted, or mostly undaunted

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.
 Thursday morning:  Bella and I get on one of the houseboats with the boat group, and John, his parents, and the big girls head out in the intrepid jeep group.

 The pictures honestly make everything look a lot tamer than it really is.  And you'd be correct if you thought that jeeps should keep all four of their wheels on the ground at all times.
 Elisa Rogers, my math teacher and Young Women's leader of yore, drove the entire trail by herself.  She is amazing.  50 points for Gryffindor!
 The jeep group hiked five miles at the end to meet the houseboat group at the lake.  We had food ready.  In fact, the group always had food ready.  It seems fitting, you know, to commemorate a pioneer group that nearly starved to death by gorging ourselves at every opportunity.

I had five of my six brothers there (sorry, Dave), and it was so much fun.  They are really the funniest people I know.
 Bella refused to get out of her pajamas except to trade them for a swimming suit.  I don't know why I ever pack clothes for her.
 Annie and my dad.
 This little guy is my nephew, Quinn.  He looked at all the rocks on the beach and then looked at all the people he was with and realized that none of the rest of us were going to do a thing about all those stones that needed to be tossed into the lake.  It was up to him alone.  He took his responsibility very seriously and I think he put in a good four or five hours every day, throwing rocks.  Non stop.
 Friday morning, we boated over to the Hole-in-the-Rock, an incredibly steep slit in the canyon wall that the pioneers had to blast their way down (when you look at it, you cannot believe that wagons ever made it down).

 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.)
 Here's the original.  Wasn't she a tiny little bug?  And doesn't 21-year-old Rob look 12?

  Next on the agenda:  Tubing behind a boat.  Annie was a great sport to take my little girls with her.  Mimi loved it with her typical enthusiasm (even though she looks less than enthusiastic), and Bella thought it was fun, but she just couldn't . . . keep . . . her. . . eyes. . .  open.  When we got her back in the boat, she fell asleep in 2 seconds flat.

Until she got to wear Annie's fabulous sunglasses.

Olivia found two adventurous buddies.  They were a fabulous trio.
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?


Millie @ The Busy Butlers said...

YES, YES. YES!!!! I want to join you next time!!!!!!! Jake's side of the family actually meets up with the Redd side 6 generations or so back, so we've been trying to get a family reunion planned for all us crazy Butlers doing the whole "Hole" trek!!! I LOVED seeing all the familiar faces in this post - nearly brought me to tears!

Mags said...

me too. i am deadly serious. living my whole life without ever going is like being a purse girl or a floozy. and i just can't let that happen. judi's are on the list for next time!

kate said...

I think people who enjoy this type of trip are definitely the type of people I enjoy the most. Looks so fun!

Rachel Anderson Smith said...

Looks like you guys had a ton of fun! I soo wish I could have gone; maybe next time.

Sara said...

Libby just said, "Ahhh -- I wanna be with them." I couldn't agree more. We are missing you guys something fierce.

Someday we're going to be there for Hole in the Rock!

Lyle said...

Um, Mags, I don't think anyone with Cassie Boyle genes has ever gone to the Hole. So, if you actually do go someday, I promise to confess my profound astonishment.

Emilee said...

Does that make all those Boyle girls purse girls? Heaven forbid.

dusty and meag said...

SO FUN...we are requesting an invite to the next one and placing our R.S.V.P. at the same time.