It all started on a morning like this.
Yup, the sun was red/orange and I should have know that was an omen that strange happenings would gather around our life that day.
We had decided to take our crew to explore Bells Canyon which had some fun to offer. The parking area is just East of 9800 south and Wasatch Blvd. It is easy to find and there are bathrooms and drinking water available at the trail head so that is a plus.
We started off on our hike just before 9 AM (we left the house at 8) hoping to miss most of the heat of the day and it turned out to be a good thing we did that or the end would have been even more trying that it was.
Our plan was to hike to the lower reservoir (about .7 miles from the parking lot) and then to the lower waterfall (supposedly 1.7 miles from the trailhead...but beware, it may or may not be invisible).
Anyway, we started to walk and the view of the valley was pretty incredible as we rounded the ridge heading toward the lake.
It only took about 20 minutes to reach the lower reservoir and the walk was not difficult at all. The lake was shady and cool and there were ducks and fish near the shores. It was a great place to stop and rest for a bit.
In fact, we encountered several friends from the animal kingdom while on our hike.
Lots of duck friends...
A little bunny buddy...
And a sweet, little deer.
Anyway, we continued on from the lake. The walk stayed in the shade (mostly) and the trail was relatively easy to maneuver. It was actually pretty gorgeous and very pleasant.
We trekked on knowing that a lovely waterfall (the lower falls) was waiting somewhere between the 1.6 and 1.8 mile mark. Watching our pedometer we carefully kept our eye out for a small path on the north side of the trail possibly near a little spring.
And we explored several little trails...but we never did find the big, powerful falls.
We often heard rushing, pounding water, but every time we investigated we just found the river.
There were plenty of lovely spots, but we didn't discover what we came to see.
We decided maybe it (meaning the elusive waterfall) was a bit further up the mountain than we thought.
So we kept plugging away.
Pretty quick, the trail became much more steep and much more rocky than it had been before.
And it stayed that way for most of the rest of our trip. It was slow going with small legs, but we didn't give up.
Still, the views were AMAZING!
Onward and upward!
Eventually we came across a cute couple who had been here before. They told us we were well past the first waterfall (yeah, we sadly realized that) but they said it was only a little bit further to the second falls.
And they were right, just a smidge up the hill we found the second falls (it wasn't so tricky I guess). It was less spectacular than the first falls is supposed to be (we wouldn't know) but it was shady and beautiful. The perfect spot for our picnic lunch.
We had lunch and rested a bit and then headed back down. We were just over 3 miles up the mountain by now and this was a pretty steep and pretty rocky climb. This decent was asking a lot of our small ones. This is NOT a hike we would recommend for families (head to the reservoir for sure and maybe even the first falls, but DO NOT go further, it is too tough for tiny people).
The trek down was rough on everybody. The rocks make downward progress difficult, even though at least gravity was on our side.
On the plus side, we found several patches of wild raspberries and that was a great little treat for some of our crew. Most of our sweethearts had not eaten wild berries before (and we did have a chat about the danger of eating berries you don't know). But I did know these. They were raspberries, sweet and juicy. They were tasty!
The hardest part of all was not what we expected -- the rather short walk from the lake back to the parking lot. By the time we got near the lake we were battling the 100ish degree heat of the afternoon and we were low on water (we expected to hike just over 3 total miles, not 6 and our kidlets were water hogs early on so it's a good thing we brought extra just in case).
Josh went ahead with a couple older kids to cool the car down and refill water bottles for the rest of us when we reached the car. That was angelic! He really is amazing.
Ellie and I were the last to make it down (with my sweet little Parker there trying to keep Ellie's spirits up). It was HOT as there was essentially no shade on the last mile of the trail and our youngest girl really struggled with the heat. We encouraged her to toke on water regularly but she was tired and sore and hot and miserable. Poor kid.
We finally reached the bottom and were so glad to be done.
This was a pretty tough hike, but we made it and that was wonderful! I'm very proud of my crew because this was NOT easy. But I like it when they do hard things. They stuck with this and didn't quit and I think they were amazing! I am so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible people.
Today, we are all sore and a little stiff, but we had a good time and we managed to do it together -- that is something pretty great!
(P.S. I think next week, we'll take it easy on our hike.)