This past Father’s Day weekend, we were visiting the always beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah so that we could take advantage of the many outdoor exploring adventures. One such adventure we planned was Calf Creek Falls just outside of Boulder, Garfield County, about an hour away from Bryce.
Both my husband and I had not only seen breathtaking photos of the waterfall cascading into a large, natural swimming pool, but we had also heard how awesome it was from trusted friends and family.
We were excited for our Father’s Day adventure that would take us on a nearly 3-mile (6 miles round trip) trek through the desert to a one-of-a-kind waterfall. And despite this being “another hike,” the kids were actually pretty happy and full of energy as we ventured out on the warm sand.
It wasn’t long, however, before the excitement began to dissipate along with the warm sand that was only getting hotter with the complete absence of any shade along the way. The promise of cool water to swim in seemed nothing more than wishful thinking as we continued on a speed that felt like we were standing still or, at times, going backward.
I began cursing my ambition as I wondered why I thought it was a good idea to do this the day after running a 50K in the same hot desert I had endured for several grueling hours. And as I held my wiggly 18-month-old, my plight only worsened.
I kept passing people on their way back from the waterfall, with each one looking just as dry and parched as I was, indicating loud and clear that we still had a long way to go. I asked a passerby how much longer, and was met with, “You’re about halfway, but it’s well worth the hike.”
If I had the energy to laugh or cry, I would have, because both would be appropriate responses. But all I could muster was a forced smile and a “thank you” that was spoken with no vocal cords, just air.
This hike that was to bring so much joy was never going to end, I was sure of it.
But it did, and the passerby was right.
A whopping one and a half hours and slightly under 3 miles later, we were met with the waterfall from heaven we had all been waiting for. The kids splashed and swam in the water, played in the mud and splashed in the water some more.
We ate lunch and met a man who was on a mission to spread random acts of kindness through the simple action of sharing. He reached into his bag and gave us some granola bars, and we reciprocated with some clementines, a banana and heartfelt smiles.
As I stood there watching my children play, I forgot about the long trek there, and the fact that we would need to cover the same amount of miles on the walk back. There was something about the fresh falling water that made everything OK in that moment and the moments to come.
The hike back was less strenuous. The kids complained less. Even the weight of my 18-month-old seemed lighter as I walked the 3 miles back to the car — all because of the unmistakable beauty and refreshing water in this one-of-a-kind place.
Calf Creek Falls was most definitely a challenging hike, but it was well worth it, and I look forward to doing it again.
Arianne Brown is a mother of seven young children who loves hearing and sharing stories. For more of her writings, search “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Twitter: A_Mothers_Write