We started out the kids’s spring break with an annual trip we were invited to with a description billed as “Brutes, Idiots and their offspring (or not) get together and camp, hike, run, roam, shoot, and bs over spring break”. The location was BLM land just inside the San Rafael Reef, south of Temple Mountain, a fairly short walk to some bathrooms near a trailhead. This would be the first time any of us have done any desert camping and exploring, and it didn’t disappoint. High temperatures were in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 20’s at night, some of the kids had sleeping bags not nearly rated for this but with some layering no one froze to death.
We arrived Saturday afternoon after driving through snow and rain in the mountains, set up camp and the kids got to know each other. Eventually there would be 6 adults including us, Chris, Andy, Jeff and Mike, and I believe 11 or 12 kids. I lost count. The next day we went to Goblin Valley and hiked around the back of the main area of goblins and found Goblin’s Lair or Chamber of the Basilisk – a cavern only recently discovered. There was a bit of a downclimb to get in to it, so some of the kids and the dog didn’t go (Cormac was sure mad about that). At the bottom of the downclimb there was a small tunnel some people explored where there was bats, something Opal seemed to get really excited about. That evening I went on a hike through most of Wildhorse Canyon (not to be confused with Little Wildhorse) with Capella, Chris and his son, everyone else was too worn out.
The next day was a much more adventurous hike, through Little Wildhorse Canyon, across some open desert and then back through Bell Canyon which is supposedly an 8.something mile loop but seemed a lot closer to 12. It took about 5 and half hours, and there was at least a dozen climbs up or down that we had to raise or lower the youngest kids on as well as a reluctant dog, while trying not to worry too much about the bigger kids who were often already further down the slot canyons navigating the next obstacle. A bit nerve wracking but we pulled it off. There was times I was carrying 2 kids, so I was getting quite a workout as well. We barely had enough water and were rationing it. I was pretty relieved when we made it past the last danger, a reroute of the trail along a cliff-side since there was a sinkhole that apparently wasn’t there last year. Watching the kids scramble along so close to a big drop like that doesn’t get easier.
The next day I went on a short run exploring a nearby unnamed canyon and we packed up and headed home just a bit before noon, a short but action packed trip.