Late Labor Day Weekend Post

After Will came home, of course everyone wanted to see him. We had a barbecue, on Friday night, with some of my friends, the ones who have helped me most through this hard time. It was a pleasant evening, lots of joking and good conversation.

My mom and I made plans to drive up into the Tonto National Forest on Saturday. We all got up early and met in Superior for breakfast. Will's having a difficult time driving and so I was driving. I knew that the place we had chosen to go had a very narrow road that goes right by a cliff, a very steep cliff with a waterfall. Its lovely, but I had spent days worrying about driving that stretch of road, and giving myself pep talks about it. But I knew I could do it, at least on the way up. (Driving down is scarier than driving up.)

As we left Superior, and drove towards Globe, I was feeling pretty good about the drive. I knew it was paved a good portion of the way. We had exchanged children, and we now had a nephew, Gwennie and Madders in our truck. Rhayn was in my parents truck.

We passed Roosevelt Lake and started up. There is a side road we like to take, that leads past what used to be a YMCA camp that is covered in blackberries, past the treacherous cliffs of doom to the top of that mountain where someone has arranged rocks into chairs and tables. We call them the Flintstones' Chairs, which was totally lost on the kids. (They have most likely never seen the Flintstones.)

Looking for ripe blackberries, the bushes grow on both sides of the road there.

We stopped first at the old YMCA camp, which is now some other camp. It is still covered in blackberries, which were, unfortunately, not quite ripe. We were able to climb around and find a few semi ripe ones.

Half-ripe blackberries.

Everyone loaded back into the trucks, and we drove passed the cliffs. I stared at the drivers side of the truck's front keeping my eye close to the ground and trying not to think about what was on the other side of the truck. After it was over, and I had made it, I exhaled and kept on truckin'.

Covered in Ladybugs!

At the top we all stopped, parked and got out. I had to find a bush, and most everyone else climbed to the top of a watch tower. Not that I would have done it if I hadn't needed to relieve myself. Gwennie ran up the steps, and I had to look away. I knew she would be fine, but it scared me nonetheless. When everyone came down, the kids found a rock that was covered in ladybugs. Rhayn loved it, and covered herself in ladybugs.

The Flintstones' chairs.

It was lunch time by then. We all got out our fixings and put the food on the Flintstones' table. We all shared and had our fill before heading back down.

Grandpa and Gwennie having a sandwich.

We stopped on the way down just above the cliff face. Some of us were going to hike up a steep area to some Native American ruins that JVA had told us about. He told half of us to try a different direction and we ended up adding a long side trip onto an already arduous climb.

A doorway in the ruins, so cool. The kids were amazed at how small the doorway was.

We all made it, three grown men, me and four kids (Rhayn, included.) The ruins were fascinating. However, I felt like I was going to die, and nearly passed out, so I spent the time we were up there staring out across the valley trying to catch my breath. We hadn't brought water (stupid, rookie mistake) or food, because it was a short hike. Water would have been a very good idea.

Me, at the ruins feeling like death. Can you see how flushed I am?

When we had all made it most of the way back to the trucks, it started pouring rain. Big, fat droplets of rain. It felt good on my flushed face, but I was so weak from the climb I was basically sliding down on my butt the entire way back.

Will drove the scary part for me. I was thankful, because after the hike, I wasn't sure if I could do it. Well, I know I could have, had I had to. We stopped at the bottom of that road to check out the bathtubs. This was another short hike, albeit a flat one at least. I sipped at my Camelback on the way. These are where the creek has made big pools in the rock. Usually we would swim, too. But no one had extra clothes (besides Gwennie, who needed them after she peed in hers before falling into the creek.)

Grandpa and his girls.

We sat by the creek for a time, resting. While Grandpa took the kids down to the creek (where Gwennie fell in) and picked some ripe blackberries. Those ones were very tasty.

Peaceful place.

The day was spent, it was five when we left the forest. On the way out of there my dad was in front, he stopped and we all saw a whitetail jump across the road in front of him and head to our left up the hill. After that he stopped again, with his arm out of the window pointed at a large rattlesnake crossing the road. We all stopped to get a good look at that, too. (We got some nice pictures of him, as well.)


We drove into Globe to have a bit of Taco Bell on the way home. We parted ways in Superior. It was a long day, the kids all had fun. It was a bit much for Will, and I was totally exhausted by the time we got home around 9pm.


Amie said...

You were so brave to try that drive! I'm not sure I could have! Those Flinstones chairs look so cool and how neat to see the ruins. Your hair has gotten so long--possibly the longest I've seen it since we ere kids.

Everyday Mom Designs said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! Exhausting.. but fun!

bodaat said...

I've read about that infamous scary drive and I have to admit I was too chicken to try! That and we don't have an SUV. Your day sounds wonderful and I love the pictures. :)

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