You get out of school early to go on a field trip!
This trip was supposed to happen last week but was pre-empted by a sadistic snow storm. Today, a group of students and parents headed up to the world-famous Maple Canyon.
You may think I jest, because you know my sarcastic sense of humor by now, and you know how I love to make fun of the armpit in which I live. But I tell you this---Maple Canyon is indeed world-famous. Die-hard rock climbers from the world over will attest that it is a rock-climbing nirvana. Once I was in the grocery store in our little town of 3,000 or so souls, and heard the cashier chatting with some customers who sported classic German accents. The cashier asked them where they were from, to which they answered, predictably, "Germany."
When asked what brought them all the way from Germany, one of the group answered, "We came to go rock-climbing in Maple Canyon."
The school has a yearly trip to the canyon, during which the hardiest of students demonstrate their prowess by scaling a massive boulder strategically placed right in the middle of the path. The weakest among us, namely me and maybe one or two other people, say "To here I will go, but no farther."
Once the boulder is conquered, the party hikes on and is rewarded with a waterfall at the end of the path. I have never seen this waterfall, since I sit and wait by the obstacle in the road for everyone to come back down. There were many witnesses to the spectacle of my son climbing up the waterfall. Daughter Em claims it is well that I not make it past the boulder lest I have a heart attack watching Weston's gymnastics. She promises to send me a picture of the event. I am assured that after I see his monkey tricks I will never let him go to Maple Canyon again.
I was disappointed because my camera was having trouble adjusting to the light/dark contrast, so many of the pictures are hazy. Nevertheless, spending time surrounded by the beauty of God's world, never fails to bring me to a spiritual place of unspeakable joy.
Avatar snacking on some melon.
Weston, showing everyone how he can balance on his palms. Tricksy, eh?
Yeah, so someone's clothes apparently fell off and were hanging on the side of the canyon wall. Or maybe they're all that's left of some unfortunate climber.
How can you not have joy with a smiley face like that?
The path to the cave is steeper than it looks. The ascent proves your manhood, even if you are a woman.
Give a one-year-old a rock to hold and where does it go?
See the large boulder in the middle of the path? That is NOT the large boulder in the middle of the path referenced above. This one is simply a minor annoyance. You must either go under it or over it to keep going. I went under it going in, then over it going out. This is the "small" boulder and it is probably about twenty feet high. It is easier to go under, but very claustrophobic.
These walls sport dozens of carabiners left by previous hikers. Although hard to see, there is a silver one hanging directly above the "navel" in the rock and slightly to the right. There are more higher up to the left of the navel. The canyon is full of apparent dead-ends, until you get right to the "end" and see the path continues between the walls.
I really wanted to adopt this purple rock and give it a new home in my backyard, but this particular section of Maple Canyon is privately owned and taking it would be stealing.
Weston and one of his best buddies. Yeah. A best buddy who is beautiful, blond, shapely, and female. Should I be worried?
Entrance to the canyon. As you can see, it's not for the weak of sole.