Life took us up into the canyon, into the fall leaves, to make mandalas on her birthday and perform a very short play.
We drove out to Simpson Springs today to look for wild horses and visit an old pony express station at Simpson Springs.
The drive was long and warm but beautiful with many flowers along the side of the road.
We lucked out, spotting the horses crossing the road not far in front of us. We stopped, took out the camera and binoculars and watched as several groups of horses crossed the road and made their way up the hills to a really big group quite a distance away.
They were close enough that we could hear their hooves as they crossed and some whinnies. We saw a few playing, running and chasing, and there were several young ones which was really fun to see.
It brings me so much joy to know there are big numbers of wild horses in the world, not far from us at all, and to actually watch them was amazing!
The pony express station was fascinating, with an old cabin, lots of information about the service and some old foundations from a long time ago. Pony Express was a mail service between Missouri and California which used lone riders, riding 10-11 days, stopping for water, food and fresh horses along the trail. Each rider would change mounts every 10-15 miles and handed their mailbag off to a new rider every 75 to 100 miles. It was more than twice as fast as the alternatives: stagecoach and ship. It was a fairly extreme and dangerous journey and lasted only 19 months in 1860-1861 before the transcontinental telegraph made it obsolete. 35,000 pieces of mail were delivered by riders before the service ended. History is endlessly captivating!
Down the hill from the pony express cabin there’s a watering hole. We ventured down and saw lots of birds and then an antelope who stopped when it saw us. We stopped and waited as quietly and still as we could manage and after a minute it made its way back toward us and the water for a drink.
We didn’t make it further this time, out to the geode digging beds, but soon we will go again.
I hope the horses will be around when we do.
Lilah has been practicing aerial silks, hammocks and sometimes even the lyra for about a year now. She’s spent a whole bunch of time in the last month getting ready for a performance with her class. She was so excited to do her princess drop and to dance with the other girls as a tiki bird, complete with feather in her hair.
Here’s an edited video, with her climb and drop, set with her choice of music.
Here she is waiting to go up
and going up
and getting ready for her drop
and waiting while pretending to be a sleeping bird
She is already looking forward to the next performance in a few months. I am too!
We adventured out toward the Great Salt Lake with friends. We stopped at Golden Spike Historic Site, where the transcontinental railroad completed it’s route across the western U.S. They brought out the two engine cars and we got to see (and hear) them driving along the tracks.
Spiral Jetty is not too far from there, out on a dirt road. It’s a land art piece that is at the edge of the lake, except with current drought conditions it’s about a half mile from the water line. The kids enjoyed walking the spiral path and looking for lizards who love to sun themselves on the dark volcanic rocks there.
The Great Salt Lake is very salty indeed there, so much so that the bottom of the lake is huge, hard crystals of salt that are tough on feet. It’s pink from the halophilic (salt loving) bacteria and very beautiful and strange looking. The pink waves and white land is so striking! I dug out a few crystals while I was walking around.
They make for sharp stepping and cuts and scrapes.
In a few places there was foam from the waves which was also sparkly with super high salt concentrations. Fascinating!
The kids enjoyed it until the salt began bothering their scrapes and cuts and stinging.
We even spotted some more wild horses!
Afterward we stopped at Willard Bay on the way home which is another part of the lake but is very much less salty so better for swimming. We washed off the salt and the kids played games in the water until it was undeniably late and we headed home.
We took a drive up to the Uintah mountains to paddle on a lake.
We carried our gear about a quarter mile and paddled around a small lake where we were visited by some wandering cattle. It was so calm and scenic and the water was very still for the most part so we could see the bottom in most of the lake. We spotted some fish and many lilies. Gavin opted to read and watch us from a sunny blanket and the rest of us paddled around.
We’ve been playing so many games (here the kids are playing with Legos and making up stories together)
and going for nature walks by ourselves and with friends (and smelling flowers and finding feathers)
and eating grapes and other veggies from our garden.
We’ve been spotting birds and dragonflies and lizards and snakes in our yard
and squirrels who lounge right outside the window
We’ve been staying indoors because of polluted air which makes me feel stuck and unhappy but doing our best to get some indoor exercise and go out when the air is a little better.
We’ve been hiking
and inventing games
and reading, reading, reading wherever we go.
Gavin won a drawing at the city library for all his summer reading and got a gift card and book bag and twinkling lights. I bought Lilah a soft animal pillow and a lava lamp because she’s a winner in reading too.
For my birthday we went up in the local mountains and stayed in a yurt and went paddleboarding and kayaking on the reservoir. My parents and sister came up for the afternoon to be with us. I am so grateful for my family and getting time regularly to spend with my parents and sister is such a huge gift! One afternoon we were up there, we paddled around a bend and discovered a small private beach with a swing set someone has made. We decided to land and try it out!
We’ve been painting and drawing and writing
and playing market together. Here Lilah is shopkeeper, with wares such as unicorns, pompoms, gems, and corks for sale.
and making each other laugh.
Gavin had a birthday party with friends where they played Dungeons & Dragons with Chris’ help and then had a nerf battle and they laughed and laughed and laughed. I am so grateful he has good friends who enjoy spending time together.
Here are the potions that were served to the enduring battle heroes.
We took a walk under the full moon which we are hoping to make a tradition. This time we were lucky enough to be up in the mountains and it was so beautiful.
We took a drive to Denver for a few days so Chris could go to a conference and we could explore. We did a lot of paddle boarding, visited the science museum and some parks. Since we were there for Gavin’s birthday by his request we got vegan donuts and went to an amusement park in the city. It was fun though it is always good to come home too.
Newly thirteen years old!