Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Surroundings- a nearby desert wash

Nearly every Sunday after church we go exploring in the beautiful surroundings of our nearby wilderness. I can't think of a better thing to do with our family on the Sabbath day than be surrounded by the natural outdoor gifts God has given us.
We live in a large valley surrounded by the most majestic red rock mountains and sandstone architectures that seem to have been sculpted by God himself. However, we learn as we explore how they were formed and continue to change- from water, wind, and natural erosion-sculpted from the creations of the earth.
Southern Utah has some of the most gorgeous and interesting geology. We are so lucky to be able to drive five minutes and be surrounded by breathtaking scenery and profound learning experiences. I don't take it for granted!

Okay, sometimes I do.
Which is why I feel it is important for me to write down these experiences, even so small as they are, to realize how much I truly love it here.
 There are some real burn-out moments in my week where I long to be surfing on my North Shore or backpacking through some foreign lands but am forced back to my reality-- being that I am a busy mama to four little boys who need me to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present, constantly.
The great thing is that they need me here in this gorgeous red rock country, here among these sandstone cliffs, and here where life is tiring and busy yet amazing and serene all at the same time.

Today Micah took us off a little path up in the red hills to explore a wash that is rarely bothered with hikers. Odin and Micah had been there once before so they knew some really cool things to show us, but otherwise It was the perfect place to set our children free and let them explore and make discoveries of their own.
Micah knows a lot about geology so he is able explain the various whys and whats and hows  of the rock formations around us. Whenever the kids have questions about rocks I direct them to their father. I took geology in college and it was one of my favorite classes but retaining technical information is not one of my strong points. However, when the kids find something pretty they run and show it to me so that makes up for it, right?
Odin found an owl pellet, which we all thought was pretty cool. At first he thought it was a dead mouse but Micah explained to him  that it was the regurgitated parts of a dead mouse! Owls can't digest all the fur bones, teeth, and claws so they absorb the good stuff then spit out the rest.
That regurgitated dead mouse pellet is now soaking in a Tupperware of water on the front porch of our house where Odin is going to try to dissolve and dismantle it and glue all the pieces of the mouse back together. Fun times.....
Owl Pellet
At the end of our 20 minute jaunt up the wash Odin and Micah showed us some super cool discoveries they'd made last time they were up here. My pictures don't do it any justice at all but here it is anyways: There was this area where you climb up a dry waterfall to find walls of thousands of small rock formations that look like tiny mosaics. Odin remarked,"Don't they look like puzzle pieces from a pretty picture?"
 The tiny shards of rock are so fragile and delicate that the slightest touch makes them crumble away. We had to be very careful not to touch the sides of the "walls" and to also keep the dogs away. That type of discovery is something you don't want to see destroyed by human hands. Odin was so proud of it and loved showing it to us. I hope these puzzle-piece-walls stay intact for years to come.

 I always love to see the trees in the wash who's roots have endured years of erosion but are still hanging on for dear life even though they are exposed, vulnerable, and about to fall off a cliff any minute. This tree below looks pretty well-established except that the sandstone beneath it is slowly crumbling away.
All in all we had a fantastic time hiking up this wash! Jonah had fun scrambling over rocks, Malachi had a blast picking up rocks and throwing them, Odin took pride in showing us cool stuff, Zadok enjoyed the scenery, and Micah and I loved being outside with our kids like we do. 
My 12 year old looking 15 with that new haircut.
It was a great day for our Sunday surroundings!

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