It was an “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” kind of day. We decided it was time for a long overdue family adventure. Geocaching is something we’ve wanted to try for a while and it seemed just the time to finally give it a whirl.  We loaded up the car, fed the girls, and Andy went online to make sure we knew where we should be heading to start our hike.  While Andy was busy prepping for the hike and I was busy cleaning up lunch, Lilly  managed to get ahold of an unfinished hot dog still sitting enticingly close to the edge of the table.  It ended up on the floor along with plenty of ketchup and mustard, which she must have sat on at some point because her nice clean adventure outfit now had a sticky red and yellow mess all over her bum. Already mildly aggrivated from the harried pace of getting ready to have “fun,” I grumpily cleaned up the mess, changed Lilly, and we all piled into the car.

No worries, now that we were on our way the family fun could begin!  Up into the canyon we drove and pulled over in a small camping pullout to park the car.  There were no trailheads anywhere to be seen, but that’s okay.  Andy had snowshoed up this way once two years ago and thought he remembered the start to a trail a little ways up the road. If you think this sounds like a sketchy way to begin a hike, you would be correct.  Walking over rocks up a pot-holed dirt road, sucking in dust and exhaust from countless four wheelers and dirt bikes, and dodging jeeps sporting wheels taller than our daughter, I continued to maintain the positive attitude that once we reached that trailhead, all would be well.

It wasn’t.  Our GPS couldn’t pick up the signal it needed to give us our necessary coordinates. But that was irrelevant because we had yet to find the start of any hiking trails. We summoned our parental wisdom and decided to abandon geocaching plans. The day would be more enjoyable if we simply found a nice little hike and made the best of simply being out in nature together.  Back down the dirt road we trudged, scoring more quizzical looks from more dust distributing vehicles, piled back in the car and headed to a lower part of the canyon where we had definitely seen a hiking trail.

NOW we were on our way! Except that this hike started out in a rocky dry riverbed…with frequent generous deposits of horse droppings.  Between trying to gingerly make her way over the rocks and being very worried about navigating herself around the horse piles, Trinity made record slow time.   We did come to a proper dirt trail just a little ways ahead at which point I thought: “NOW we are on our way!”

Except that frequent water breaks were necessary because Trinity just loves her new camelback water bottle.  Once fully hydrated I thought “NOW we are on our way!”

Except that we came to a river crossing and none of us but Andy were wearing boots high enough to keep our feet dry.   That’s okay, we’d double back and take another direction of trail to stay on a dry path…..

Except that this led to an even DEEPER river crossing!

That was the last straw.  What this family needed more than a successful hike was some soft serve ice cream and a swim in the local pool!  And we did just that.  We turned ourselves around and chalked this adventure attempt up to “one for the record books as least successful!”  With “the worst of times” over, we were undeterred in our efforts to have fun.  The remainder of the day could only be described as “The best of times.” There were many smiles and giggles and fantastic memories made over the next several hours and LOTS of family fun. So, while it may not have been the day we had envisioned….It was, in fact, a perfect family day.