Sunday, July 17, 2016

Spruces Camping Trip with Whitneys

I have been to Big Cottonwood Canyon many times, but I had never spent the night there until this year. In mid July our family spent two nights camping at Spruces campground with our friends, the Whitneys.

The campsite was beautiful. We had a stream along two sides and colorful mountain flowers in full bloom. The kids enjoyed playing in the stream as well as crossing it to explore further behind our site.

After dinner our first evening we decided to drive to Hidden Falls on the S curve half way up the canyon. It is a very short walk to a beautiful waterfall.  We saw a group of men rappelling on one of the walls as we walked to the falls.

The kids had fun crossing the stream and climbing up the rock walls near the bottom of the falls. Stella, who believes she is as old as her older siblings had to keep up with them and climb up too.

That first night was rough. It was our first time camping with Andrew and we didn't know how he would do. He woke up several times during the night. The temperatures were also a lot colder than we had expected so we were all cold in our sleeping bags that night.

The following morning after a hot breakfast we hiked to Lake Mary, Martha and Catherine. It had been more than ten years since I've been up there, yet as we approached lake Mary I remembered parts of that hike very clearly. I wished I had remembered to wear bug spray! The mosquitoes just ate some of us alive.

Todd and I traded carrying Andrew. He is much stronger than I but I have been hiking with Andrew a lot this summer so I think all of that exercise helped me build up some endurance.

My friend Claudia injured her ankle earlier that week hiking to Ghost Falls with me so we took the hike easily to make sure she would not stress her ankle. The pace also worked well with the little ones. Sierra, their 3 year old and Stella hiked a lot of the way.

When we finally arrived to lake Catherine we came across a group of  tourist doing yoga. The invited us to join them, but we were all ready to just rest and head back. It was fun to watch them though ;)

Although Carson is the only boy in the group he really gets along with the twins- Zaylee and Zoe. The girls are a year older than him and don't shy away from adventure. The three of them hiked ahead of the group most of the time and played all kinds of made up games.

We gave hiking sticks to the kids for Christmas last year. They have been really useful especially when descending. I like having the extra support when hiking with Andrew.

The pack can easily affect my balance one direction or the other, and although I have not fallen hiking with him, it is a concern. The kids also like to use it. They keep passing it between each other.

By far, the most beautiful part of the hike were all of the wild flowers in bloom. We saw red, white, blue and yellow flowers dotting the greenery all around us.

By the last three quarters of a mile Stella was dragging behind us. Finally she refused to take another step. We were all done and ready to get back so I picked her up and carried her the whole way back to the car while Todd carried Andrew in the pack.

I honestly don't know who was carrying the heavier weight, but I feel I got the better end of the deal.

I just booked it down the mountain until we arrived to the car and crashed with exhaustion.

That evening we cooked s'mores and tried to make a peach cobbler. The coals were a few years old so it took forever for them to heat up. What should have taken an hour, took several. In the end the cobbler had the consistency of pudding but still tasted delicious.

Claudia's sister Cynthia joined us with her family for dinner. She brought with her much needed blankets and we spent the evening playing games.

One of my favorite things to do when camping is stargazing. We have so much light pollution in the city that we only see a small number of stars compared to what's visible in the mountains. There stars at Spruces were a lot brighter and looked so beautiful against the shadow casted by mountains and pine trees. They were worth staying up for, even though we were all exhausted from a rough first night and an exhausting hike.

Camping is always so much work but the memories are priceless!