after day five of our trip, the third of lounging at chez hindman in the denver area, we headed farther west to utah. the main attration of our road trip this year is rock climbing in maple canyon, about an hour and a half south of salt lake city. we arrived in the little town of ephraim, ut on thurs night, may 31, where we spent the night at a motel, the last civilized place we’d sleep for fourteen days. four. teen. days.

early afternoon on friday, june 1, we drove past a big turkey farm and up freedom road into maole canyon where cliffs made of a strange conglomerate concoction awaited us. we had seen pictures of maple canyon before, rock faces made up of cobblestones of all shapes and sizes held together by what looked like cement. but nothing really prepared us for the real thing. maple canyon is very strange, and even a little frightening. would the cliffs give way before our eyes? would 5-10 pound cobbles fall out of the glorified mud that held them together and onto our heads as we belayed? would they fall on our kids’ heads? the guidebook for the climbing area told us we would feel this way, that it would seem impossible that we could climb on this stuff, that we would be afraid. it said that we would be fine, that the climbing was perfetly safe, but that we should wear helmets just in case. and keep the kiddos from the base of the routes.

well, after four days of climbing, i’m happy to report that there have been no cobble stone related injury. the rock is surprisingly beautiful, and lends itself to some of the most fun and intense climbing we have ever done. i hope some of the pictures we take will do the place justice.

the camping has also exceeded our expectations. it’s rustic, with no electricity or running water. indeed, not even a stream to be had. the only thing they actually do have, that nature has not provided, are pit toilets and fire pits. mmmmmm, pit toilets. they can be scary, and quite stinky. when we told the boys about it i could see a flash of terror in their eyes and that they were thinking of whether they could hold it for two weeks. but these past few days have proven that even something so antiquated, something, the essence of which is disgusting in nature anyway, can turn out to be tolerable if not relatively nice. (yes, i do mean that the pit toilets are actually nice!) and some days, we use them more than once.

so we are having a grand old time here in utah. the boys have been climbing a lot. sebastien climbed 100 feet up on his first route of the trip! today we take a rest day in salt lake city to do some shopping and laundry and eat thai food. after that we’ll head back to maple and climb some more and then some more. i hope to post again, and we will definitely get some pictures uplaoded, so until then…..