Yesterday in Utah we celebrated a state holiday, Pioneer Day, commemorating the Mormon pioneers and their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. The pioneers, in case you aren’t familiar with the history, had a monumental struggle during their journey. Nothing about it was easy, many of them died, and I think a few of them accidentally ate each other.
We weren’t meaning to, but we ended up celebrating Pioneer Day by having a few struggles of our own. Our plan was to get up early, head up the canyon, have breakfast, and go for a hike. That probably sounds just as simple as Brigham Young saying back then, “Pack your wagons, folks, we’re going for a walk.”
First of all, I woke up Max and found, as I was rustling him and pulling the covers off, that he had a nice warm wet spot all around him.
So, I stripped the bed, stripped the child, washed the mattress, washed the child and grumbled all the way. I wonder how many wagon-wetters there were in 1847.
We headed up the canyon and arrived at The Silver Fork Lodge for breakfast. We’d never eaten there before, but it was on the way to our hike and I’d heard it was good. We were seated quickly out on the patio overlooking the gorgeous pines, and that was sort of the only good part of the experience.
Long story short, we sat at our table and struggled to get a waitress, a glass of water, an opportunity to place an order, and an actual plate of food. We watched a darling young couple with a baby arrive at least 20 minutes after us. They came, ordered, ate, got their check, paid, and left BEFORE WE EVER GOT OUR FOOD. The pioneers struggled to get food too. Often, by the time they reached the next Arby’s Drive-Thru, the restaurant was already closed.
Our plan was to do the Twin Lakes hike, which is located near our favorite Sunday afternoon strolling ground, Silver Lake. We’d heard it was a good and somewhat easy hike, so we hit the trail. Five steps into our ascent, Max announced that he wanted to hold me, which is kind of ironic because when he says that he actually means that he wants me to carry him. I guess he sort of was “holding me” but only because I would have dropped him if he hadn’t been clinging to my neck.
Not much further into the hike, we met up with a man who was heading back down. Ryan asked him how much further we had and if we looked like the type who could make it to the top without killing over. He said we had quite a bit left and that the last third of the hike was fairly steep.
“That’s all I need to know, Brigham,” I said under my breath.
We thanked him and he moved on. Then we had a quick family meeting. It went like this:
Me: OK, I’m going back down with Max.
Ryan: OK. Christian, do you want to finish this hike?
Me: Bye. See you at the bottom.
Can you imagine what a great pioneer I would have been? I seriously would have chosen angry mobs at home over trail life any day. When we all finally met up, I asked them how it was. Ryan said it was pretty rough at the end and then said, “I don’t know if you could have done it.”
“I couldn’t have done it holding Max,” I said.
“I mean without Max. I don’t think you could have done it.”
Let’s be clear here. I could kick the crap out of that hike. It’s just that I choose not to go around frivolously burning calories. OK? OK.
The rest of the day was pretty boring and uneventful. In honor of the Donner Party, Lucy did her best to eat Christian, who has every reason to be a little jumpy around dog teeth. I keep encouraging him to act calm and refrain from impersonating a very big, salty chew toy.
We lazed around during the rainstorm in the afternoon and evening, then made our way over to Andrea’s for rootbeer floats and fireworks where we had a good time.
It really wasn’t the worst day ever, it was just mildly disappointing. We are usually really good at having fun, and having to struggle so hard for it was exhausting and discouraging. And as I laid in bed contemplating the day’s events, I realized that the pioneers must have had very different expectations for their trip to their promised land. I bet they thought there was going to be a lot more time for practical jokes, and at least a few amusement parks or shopping malls along the way.