The kids have been out of school for the last 3 days. I love it when they are out of school. That means PLAYTIME for me as well as for them. On Wednesday we started our day off playing basketball with the MWBA. (Mormon Womens Basketball Association) The action was fierce and surprisingly competitive but alas no black eyes were recorded. Actually we really have a great group of ladies that play and I have really had fun with them.
After the impressive b-ball show the kids and I jumped on the bikes and headed down the palouse trail for a little bike ride. We passed by the U of I fountains and the kids got a little frisky. They had so much fun playing in the fountains and running around splashing each other with sticks and their hands. So many times the fun of kids occurs at the simplest of occasions and with the least amount of planning or money. Isn't that cool!
On Friday we again played some ball but then after that Kaylee, Addy, Andrew and I hopped in the truck and headed up the "mountain". We were off to find the cave that is supposed to be up there. I plugged in the coordinates on the gps and started off. I had never been up this side of the mtn before though and so we took a few wrong roads before we finally found the right one. No worries though because we had all day to ourselves. When we finally made it to the mountain we started following the gps directions. At one point the road split--the high road and the low road as it were. I chose the low road thinking that it was heading toward where the gps was pointing us to go. We followed it for awhile getting closer and closer --finally about 0.3 of a mile to go--we hit a dead end. There was a little trail however so we climbed out and grabbed the backpack and started up only to find another dead end. This time however the dead end was a really cool old broken down cabin. The roof was totally gone and several trees had fallen on it. It was just this teeny tiny one room cabin stuck in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was a fortuitous dead end to say the least. The kids had so much fun exploring it and pretending that they lived in it and had to go out hunting for food and chop logs and such. I never get tired of listening to them make up stories to act out. We decided to turn back and try the "high" road this time. We found a good place to park the truck and hopped out determined to find the cave. We started down a trail that looked promising according to the gps and we happily hiked along for about 1/2 mile. According to the gps we were again only about .3 miles away but that is the problem with gps directions while in the mountains--three tenths could mean three tenths across a canyon or straight up a cliff. It doesn't take into account the fact that trails wind back and forth up or down the mountain. Originally it looked like we were going in the right direction but as we kept going we started to get further and further away so I finally decided that we were indeed not on the right trail so we once again backtracked back to the truck and looked around for a different trail which we found. The kids had, up until this point, been real troopers. Right about now however a few of the slightest little complaints and murmers started to come out. We hiked along coming across an old rusted out car that had obviously been driven off the road and down the mountain. That made for some fun conversation later on when Andrew had tried to explain what we had seen to Jeff.
However... to make a long story short... That wasn't the way either--so we backtracked AGAIN and took a little trail that broke off to the north. We hadn't gone far when we actually saw a sign that indicated that we were indeed on the "Cave Trail". Yahoo!!! At least we knew that we were on the right trail now. At that point the gps indicated about... (surprise, surprise) 0.3 mile. Oh brother!!! We kept going knowing that it couldn't be that much further now. All the while the complaints were steadily increasing and the moral was definitely dropping. Addy was worried about getting back for a birthday party that she was supposed to be to. We came to the end of the "cave trail" and had just one more section to go and the bottom dropped out ---Andrew started asking to be carried. Up until now he had totally walked on his own. I did not want to get stuck carrying him the entire way home so I finally gave up and said--ok we'll go home. I didn't want to have to hike all the way around the way we had come though. It seemed like there should be a more direct way back to the truck so I looked for another trail--I found one straight up a ravine which we tried for about 50 yards--then we found another one that lead right back to where the truck was. It just happened to be the first trail that we had tried after parking the truck. We just hadn't gone quite far enough. Bummer!
Some may say that we failed in our quest to find the cave--but I know that we succeeded in spite of not reaching the final destination--because as someone famous once stated, "It is in the journey--not the destination." We had a really great day together. We laughed, we played, we talked, and we enjoyed the beauty of being outside. Besides, next time I'll know right where to go!