Not All Who Wander

I once asked a friend what she did to get such great looking legs. (It was not as smarmy as it sounds now, although I may or may not have used the word “gams”.) She insisted that hiking was her only form of exercise, which surprised me. I always thought of hiking as something too enjoyable to be considered real exercise. Could it be true that I could get in shape by doing something I actually like? I decided to give it a try this week.

Although I live minutes away from many possible hiking trails, I’m embarrassed to say that I tend to stick with what I know and avoid any unfamiliar path where I could get lost or, even worse, encounter any deer. Every summer, I make big plans to take my kids on weekly hikes, but somehow it never happens. I decided to use this week to not only put some variety into my exercise plan, but also to try out some possible places to take the boys. A few of the hikes even had the added bonus of getting to spend time with my husband.

We started by “Hiking the Y”, my first time. I know it’s a rite of passage for BYU students, but since I wasn’t one, I haven’t particularly felt the urge to hike it until now. It’s pretty much straight up a mountain – we had to stop to catch our breath a few times. It only took about an hour, and the weather and view were lovely.

I appreciated the signs posted at each switchback urging us to keep going, like little cheerleaders. Our favorite part of the hike was right at the end as we passed a little boy, maybe four or five, and what I assume was his grandfather. They were reading the current elevation on the first sign when the boy said in the tiniest, cutest voice: “My pwediction was five feet off.”

The next evening, we took advantage of the fact that we were in Salt Lake and my husband introduced me to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail near Red Butte Garden. With only one hour until sunset, we weren’t the only ones trying to get a quick hike (or bike, or dog walk) in before dark. It was a busy place, but I can see why.

If the weather had been more cooperative, I would have tried more hikes closer to home. I did dare to try a longer one, close to my mother-in-law’s home near St. George, with just my son Grub. Our destination was “Elephant Arch,” in the beautiful Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.   When I’m out in the desert, I tend to worry about things like snakes, scorpions, and dehydration. Luckily, Grub is pretty much Dwight Schrute when it comes to knowledge of what to do in a disaster. I knew that if anyone in my family could help me survive a snake bite out in the wild, it would be Grub.


Our goal was to find Elephant Arch with a few vague instructions and the promise of signs along the way to guide us. We found our way to Bone Wash easily enough, then were told to follow the wash until the signs pointed us towards Elephant Arch. Sounded pretty simple.

We were lucky enough to hike not long after a rainstorm when the color of the sage was an unreal sort of green. The rain also made the sand a little less annoying to wade through. (I still had to stop half a dozen times to empty my shoes because they were filled to capacity.) The red rocks were amazing, and at certain points, I felt like I was in The Flintstones.


We kept walking until we reached a dead end – no way around or through or over. That’s when we realized we probably missed the sign for the turnoff.


I’m kind of glad we followed the whole wash, though, because we got to see lots of good stuff we would have otherwise missed.

Walking back, we looked to see where we went wrong. We saw a few possible spots it could have been, but none seemed right.


But then we found the spot. It was so obvious, I couldn’t believe we had missed it the first time around. Turns out we had been so distracted by our delicious snack from Trader Joe’s, we walked right past it. But can you blame us? They were really good.


Once we found the turnoff, it wasn’t long before we reached our destination. Somehow, even though Grub told me it was right behind me, I still couldn’t manage to see the arch. Duh.


Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t hike by myself. I would have been so lost without Grub.

During our three hours together, I realized that Grub is a good hiking buddy, not just because he’s willing and doesn’t whine. It’s also because he has so many things to talk about, from random trivia to deep thoughts, we never ran out of things to discuss. It really helped the time pass quickly. When we finally got back to cell range, my husband called to check on us. I told him about how we missed the turnoff because we were distracted by Scandinavian Swimmers and he was very confused.

I know you’re dying to know about my legs, so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Although I enjoyed each of my hikes very much, I did not see much progress in my weight loss goals this week. Back to the boring gym machines, I guess. The good news is, I can find my way up the stairs and to the elliptical machines without getting lost at all.


One thought on “Not All Who Wander

  1. I have been “hiking” around London for nearly a week and have encountered many differing varieties of humans- have barely heard any British accents- but most of the fascination has been historical

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