We recently spent the night in Grand Junction, Colorado on our way to Utah. We arrived early enough to get in a little family adventure at the Colorado National Monument. This part of Colorado is so beautiful, and completely different than the Rocky Mountains, where we have spent most of our time. The best way I can describe this national park is that it’s like pictures I’ve seen of the Grand Canyon.

We drove up to the visitors center and decided to do a short hike on the Canyon Rim Trail. The whole hike would end up being about 1.6 miles. The hike starts with a beautiful overlook area that is fenced, thankfully, so you don’t accidentally fall 400 feet to your death at the canyon floor. As we walk up to it I talk to the kids about not climbing the fence and not falling to their deaths. Everyone agrees to stay alive. 

  

  
There we are, staring off into this gorgeous expanse of red rock, but I can’t really be taken by this moment because my two little earthly treasures are leaning on the chain link fence that separates them from sudden demise. I just can’t relax under these circumstances! I look down just in time to see Josh put his little moccasin-covered foot through the chain link. It’s like he just WANTS to step off the cliff. 

As soon as I ask him to remove his foot, he does… then, quick as lightening, the moccasin slips off his little foot and tumbles down, down, down the cliff. Great. We haven’t even started the hike yet and Josh has already lost a shoe. It totally reminds me of the time he hiked the alpine tundra with only one sock on. 

  
Of course, watching the shoe tumble down the canyon only further freaks me out about my children dying. I am trying to remain calm. I don’t want to be scare-dee-mom. So we start hiking down the trail, everyone is walking, but Josh seems intent to roam. At some places the trail is just 10 feet from the canyon edge and at this point I am on full momma-bear-adrenaline edge. I tell Caleb that we have to put Josh in the pack because I’m about to lose my mind. 

Once we secure Josh, the hike becomes so much more enjoyable. Caleb taught Abby how to recognize cairns and other markers along the trail and she began leading the way. We saw tons of lizards, a few hawks and one giant hare. The hike was really easy, other than watching out for the cliff edge, and the views were amazing. 

  
Abby hiked the whole way by herself, over a mile-and-half, which is a record for her. Toward the end she was getting tired and we talked about pushing through, like Daddy does in his races. As we neared the trailhead I told her to finish strong, we were near the finish line. She got excited and started running. We took this picture of her victory. I’m so proud of this little girl!

  

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