Monday, October 22, 2012

The redrocks and blue skies of St. George

It's Fall Break. And what better way to celebrate than to travel south to St. George and pretend it is summer again? Ha! Those who truly know me realize I'm being sarcastic. Fall is my favorite season with its chillier temps and gorgeous colors. I am not a summer person. But Bryan's parents have a beautiful vacation home in St. George which, with it's palm trees and vibrant red rock colors, feels very tropical vacation-like despite the fact that it is only 5 hours down I-15 and still in Utah. And in October I can handle the warmer St. George temps seeing as high 70's-low 80's is much more do-able than the low the 100's they get in the summer months.

I had packed lots of books and movies with the thought that we would spend our long weekend doing a whole lot of not much. No phone calls, no friends at the door, no work or school or gymnastics, no "I should be doing this and that" sort of guilt. Just pure relaxing family time. And family time was had...but of the more active variety than I had originally anticipated.

We spent one afternoon playing in the sand dunes and hiking in Snow Canyon. The weather was glorious and the sand amazingly soft. We dug holes and buried ourselves up to our chests. And when we'd had our fill of the sand, we hiked Jenny's Canyon...a short hike that ends in a little slot canyon.

We were hot when we arrived back at the house so we immediately changed into swim wear and headed to the pool. It was there that I received a somewhat frantic text message from a friend wanting reassurance that we were alright. The news was reporting that a teenage girl had been playing with her three siblings in the sand dunes in Snow Canyon that afternoon and had been buried in an accidental cave-in. When the family found her, she was not breathing. She was life-flighted to a hospital in St. George and then to Primary Children's Hospital in SLC (where she died the next day). My friend had seen my update on facebook earlier indicating our plans to visit that very spot. And I have a teenage daughter who has 3 she was understandably worried. Bryan too about that same time, received a phone call from his sister who also wanted to make sure we were alright. I immediately looked up the news-breaking story on my phone from pool side. My heart dropped to my toes when I saw the pictures. And judging from the story, this must have happened immediately after we left. I could imagine the scene all too well...we had just been there! And suddenly all those fun pictures of us buried in the sand....well, truthfully they made my stomach churn just a bit. And though it seems almost slightly inappropriate or disrespectful to flaunt them, I'm posting some of them here because when all is said and done, it was a part of our family vacation. Maybe when I re-visit these pictures in days to come it will make me all the more thankful that we were not the family involved in the accident that day. And also remember that teenage girl and say a little prayer for her family who I'm sure will never be the same.

The pool at the clubhouse is one of the nicest I've been to. Surrounded by palm trees and big rocks...just such a fun atmosphere to relax and swim in. We took advantage of the facilities and the warm weather daily while we were in St. George. Saturday we met up with our friend Heather and her four children. Heather, if you remember, is my best friend and college roommate. And though we see each other often because she now lives nearby, for most of the past 19 years she and her family have lived in or around St. George. Which meant that normally our visits south were wrapped around spending time with them. So when we discovered that we were both spending Fall Break in St. George, we decided to get together and swim for old times sake....even though we knew we'd be seeing each other in SLC in a few days.

The redrocks of St. George towering over the town are probably, for me at least, the most visible symbol of being in southern Utah. So unique, vibrant and wow! We've clambered around and over those rocks in the past...hiking and climbing and rappelling. The view is always phenomenal...especially as it's just getting dark and the lights are starting to wink on down below. But one of our favorite memories, something we've only done once before back in 2005, was when we hiked the St. George Narrows...aka The Crack. This hike is not for the faint of heart...especially one with a claustrophobic heart like mine. And forgive me if this sounds very politically incorrect...but it's also a hike only for the slender. Hiking sideways is the only way through and there were still places where I literally squeezed through with the rock brushing both my front and back.
My heart pound, pound, pounding. 
Deep breaths....breathe, breathe, breathe....(panicked gasp)....breathe, breathe, breathe...


Sunday we had plans to visit the nearby LDS church for Sacrament Mtg. I had looked up our location on the church's website and decided to attend the 1:00 meeting as we had been up rather late Saturday night. All dressed up and beautified, we pulled into the parking lot only to find it empty. Was the website out of date? Being that this is Utah, we drove down the street a few blocks till we found another church, but this one also had a parking lot devoid of cars. (In hindsight I think maybe it was stake conference....) Not to be thwarted entirely, we decided to visit the temple grounds instead. The temple is so white and the sun was shining so brightly we could barely look at the building directly. We spent about an hour and a half there on the grounds and in the visitor's center. And though I did feel bad that we had to miss taking the sacrament, I'm actually very glad it meant that we ended up at the temple.

I wish we could've stayed a few more days. All the same, it's fall in Salt Lake. And fall is my favorite time of the year...


Mary said...

So what is "fall break"? UEA weekend? I'm not sure I've heard of a fall break before.

Sounds like you had an amazing time. It sure would be wonderful to relax and swim in the warm temps knowing that back at home it's in the 50's!

Heidi Green said...

Such sad news about that girl... we've dug many a hole in the sand and those stories are hard to hear. :(

BUT, your weekend looked fabulous. What a fun getaway! Where is that hike? It looks amazing!

Sarah@The Best Stuff said...

Yep, Mary...UEA. Except now they call it Fall Break. I'm not even sure if they still officially hold UEA. Other school districts had Fall Break the week before we did.

And Heidi...the hike is just in the red rocks right above town. Really easy to find. Just google St. George Narrows or The Crack.