One of the things we had on our 'to do list' this summer
was to hike to elephant rock in Mueller Park Canyon.
We moved to Utah when I was 10 and I had never hiked all the way there.
So, one day at the end of July, Aaron was bored and also really sad because some of his favorite cousins had left that morning to go home to Oregon. He was feeling pretty lonely without them, so we packed a couple of sandwiches and not nearly enough water and we drove to Mueller Park Canyon.
This is the photo I took at the beginning of our hike.
Don't we look excited and full of adventure?
Aaron and I are always on the lookout for things that are shaped like a heart...
especially rocks. This one was buried in the dirt, so I just took a photo of it on the trail.
I had no idea how long the hike was to elephant rock and I didn't know how long Aaron would last and I was feeling winded and wondering if we were really going to hike all the way to the rock. About 20 minutes into the hike, Aaron started to complain a little and wondered how much longer... and inside I was celebrating that we would be able to turn around and go home sooner than I thought. :)
I decided that maybe we were feeling tired because we we had after 4:00 and had not eaten dinner... so I pulled out one of the sandwiches and we split it while we hiked. I started feeling a little more energy, so I told Aaron we were going to keep going for a little longer until we found a place to sit down and eat our other sandwich.
I took this on our way back down,
but this is where we sat to eat our sandwich and take a little break.
Aaron loved that flat spot of that front piece of wood because he used it for his drink.
By the time we were done eating, I was feeling like we should try to complete the hike.
Aaron didn't want to and was begging to turn around and go home...
but without knowing how far the hike was, I didn't want to turn around if we were getting close. So I told Aaron that we would ask someone how far it is to elephant rock. It took a while to find someone to actually knew how far it was...
she said it is
3 1/2 miles up
3 1/2 miles down.
By the time we found someone who knew the distance, we were almost halfway to the rock.
I knew we could make it, so I told Aaron that we were going to finish the hike.
He was not happy about this, but I tried to keep his mind off of it.
I talked to Aaron about life and how life is tough sometimes, but that we have to continue on in life to get through the tough times. I talked to him about how we don't give up when life gets tough.
Then I compared that to the hike. I told him that just like life is tough sometimes, this hike is tough, but that we shouldn't give up... but that we should continue on and finish the hike.
He seemed to accept this... ish.
It helped that I told him I would buy him a snow cone on the way home if we made it to the top.
After that, I started singing the primary song:
'Pioneer Children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked...'
After I sang that to Aaron, I told him the story of the pioneers who crossed the plains and told him about the pioneer children who had to walk all day every day for months.
Telling Aaron this story helped him to continue on without complaining as much.
I did have to carry Aaron on my back a few times, but not many.
I also sang this song to him:
'Come Come Ye Saints'
and talked to him a little more about the saints who walked across the plains and about why they left to come here. I told him that people didn't like our church and didn't like the people of our church, so the saints were guided by the Lord to the Salt Lake Valley so that they could live peacefully.
At one point, we came around a bend in the trail and we saw this:
Even though we took this photo on the way down,
this is the view we had when we came around that bend in the trail.
As you can see, just above Aaron's head is a big white rock...
that is elephant rock.
Once we saw that rock, we were both excited and knew we could make it there.
Saw this precious flower on the hike up.
Here is my attempt to get a photo of me with Aaron while we hiked.
I love that he actually peeked around enough to see his whole head.
What a cute boy.
In this extreme close up, my dark pigment is in full glory. :)
Little did we know at the time that we were really close to reaching our destination.
Here is the beautiful sight when we came around a bend.
A couple of very inviting benches to sit on while overlooking...
THIS brilliant view.
Once we got there, of course we had to take an abundance of photos...
Aaron and Me
with Elephant Rock.
Aaron with Elephant Rock.
Me with Elephant Rock.
Me taking in the beautiful view.
Aaron taking in the beautiful view.
I am so proud of him.
He made it to the top!
Aaron looking out over our accomplishment.
Aaron and Me in front of the beautiful view.
You can't see it very well, but Elephant Rock is behind those trees just beside Aaron's ear.
Once we got up to the top, I wished we could have stayed and watched the sun set.
But we didn't have a flashlight and it would have been dark while we hiked back down.
So, after enjoying the view for a little while, we headed back down.
I told Aaron that we would have to run down for a lot of it or else we would get stuck hiking in the dark and that would be dangerous.
Well, the first time we started running, Aaron tripped on a rock and fell and scraped his knee and arm.
I felt terrible...
so, after that we were a lot more careful about where we ran and where we walked.
Aaron on our hike down.
This was the spot where we had first seen the rock on the way up.
We had to stop on the way down to celebrate and remember when we saw it the first time and the hope it gave us that we would be able to make it to the top.
This is the view the other direction... looking out over the valley.
I wish you could see the lake better in this photo,
but I loved the view of the lake here and how the sunlight was streaming in towards us.
We proved to be triumphant!
I was and am so proud of Aaron.
I think it took us about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to get up to the top,
and I think around 1 1/2 hours to get back down.
I wish I had kept track better...
We ran so much of the way down...
we held hands for a lot of that because I didn't want Aaron to fall again.
We ran out of water on the way down...
we really had to ration it well to even have some for the way down.
We reached the car just as it was getting dark.
I was grateful that we said a prayer at the beginning for our safety.
Our prayer was answered.
I just had to show how dirty my feet were by the time we got home.
And my feet hurt SO bad once we got home.
YAY FOR US!
7 miles... done!
This is us at the end of our hike.
Don't we look excited?? to be done??? :)
We were about to go get snow cones... Mmm...
I loved... LoVeD... LOVED spending this time with Aaron.
We had some fun talks and some teaching moments.
This was for sure my favorite 5 hours of the whole summer.
These precious 5 hours spent with my precious little boy
as we pressed forward and endured to the end... of our hike.
I am so proud of both of us for not giving up.
This will forever be a learning experience for us both
and a very special memory.
I'm proud of you Aaron...
thanks for going on this adventure with me.
I love you.
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