Hiking: A Toddler Olympic Event

These are the faces of two naive moms who thought it would be fun to take toddlers on a road trip.

We took this picture on a whim, somewhere between American Fork Utah and Sahuarita Arizona, at a "scenic view" pullout.  The idea was to stretch our legs and take a picture, but we almost got run over by a semi in the process.  It was so indicative of our experience driving 12 hours with two toddlers.  We got lost trying to find our hotel in the middle of the night, we stopped at the sketchiest McDonalds known to man, and we were changed dirty diapers in the trunk of the car.

But no, that wasn't enough of a challenge for us.  We also decided to drive an hour out of our way to take the boys on a three mile hike in Arches National Park.

It started out great.  The boys toddled down the trail, excited to see everything, pointing out every rock and tree along the way.

Blissfully skipping down the trail, Andrea and I were like, "Aren't we the coolest moms?"

And then we came upon one of Mother Nature's sandboxes.

Camden, as you know, isn't the hugest fan of sand.  So it wasn't too difficult for him to move on.  But poor Cade.  All he wanted to do was have fun in the sandbox for hours on end, and he didn't understand why we had to move forward.

After Cade had a bit of an emotional breakdown, Andrea finally wrestled him beyond the sandpit and further up the mountain... only to find another fun and exciting sandbox.  They dotted the entire mountain.

At this rate it was going to take us approximately two weeks to complete our hike.  Cue the realization of our naivety, and not-really-that-coolness...

I genuinely felt bad for Cade, because there's really no way you can explain to a barely-two-year-old what the point of hiking up a mountain is.  He was like, "Why can't I play in this awesome sandbox?"  And we're all like, "Because we have to climb this mountain to see a big rock."  'Cuz that sounds fun, right?  "Trust us, it's a really cool rock.  Really cool!"

Wow, we totally failed.
But on the bright side, Andrea got an excellent workout that day, dragging Cade up a mountain.

Our one grace was that Camden seemed to be having a great time.  There was minimal whining {although he occasionally wanted to jump off of a rock 700 times} and for the most part he wanted to hike without any assistance from me.  He has always loved crawling, walking, running over interesting surfaces, and this was the Disneyland of interesting surfaces.

The kids became mini celebrities, as hikers who passed us cheered them on or gave them high-fives.  Everyone was clearly impressed/mortified that these two babies were hiking straight up to Delicate Arch.  Even though it took us twice as long as everyone else on the trail, Camden loved it.

And Cade… well, someday he will see these pictures and be like, "Mom, you are a boss."

And I think they will both agree that this is a really cool rock.

The lookout was a bit narrow and precarious, so we didn't stay super long.  We had a quick picnic, chatted with some German tourists, and briefly daydreamed about going right up to the 65-foot arch and under it.  Maybe when these boys are a little older...

Because we still had eight hours of highway ahead of us, we decided to carry our kids all the way down the mountain to speed things up.  Camden straddled my back for a piggy back ride, and right when I thought my arms couldn't take it anymore, I felt his head bouncing on my back.  He'd fallen asleep!

This sweet, tuckered-out boy slept all the way to the car.  And I just prayed my arms didn't fall off.

Andrea, we are crazy.  But I'm glad.

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