Friday, July 11, 2008
Paris Ice Caves
Matt and I took the kids on a 4-wheeling trip yesterday to see the Ice Caves up in Idaho. We drove up to Cub River where we unloaded the wheelers. Christopher invited two of his friends to come along, Tyler and Buff Bus (his name is also Tyler, but everyone calls him by his nickname). My sweet little niece, Madison came with us too. The big kids were all on their own machines and were excited to be going on such a long ride. Matt and I have been on this trail many times and we knew that there were a couple of challenging spots. So we took those sections slowly and the kids did really well.
The older boys got tired of waiting for the slow pokes so we met them up at the German Dugway turnoff (except they missed seeing the BIG SIGN that was posted and I had to go find them because they went the wrong way). We all met up again at the top of the mountain and took a break together. Once everyone took their helmets off we all started laughing! Every one's faces where COVERED in dirt! Matt thought that my eyelashes looked cool - lightly dusted! I tried to get a photo of everyone so we could see who had the dirtiest face! After a brief rest we headed out again. We were now on top of the mountain between Preston and Paris and it was gorgeous! Ellie was riding with me and we kept a count of how many different colors of flowers we could see. She spotted: dark purple, light purple, light blue, two different types of yellow flowers, white, and red/orange flowers. When we reached Paris flats and the turn off to go to Bloomington lake, we saw a beautiful meadow full of these flowers! It was sooooo neat!
I don't know about anyone else, but Ellie and I had several near collisions with some monarch butterflies not to mention the direct "hits" from the many, many bugs and flies along the way. It took us about two hours of riding before we finally reached the ice caves (about 20 miles). The boys were out exploring and the girls could hardly wait long enough to get their helmets off. The caves have ice in them year round. As you come to the opening to walk into the first cave you can feel the temperature drop as you get closer and closer. There is still a big snow drift at the opening that you have to climb over to enter the caves. Once inside, it gets even colder. The entire floor of the cave is thick ice. As you work your way through the first cave, it opens up to a grotto where we found a scout group learning how to repel. That was fun to watch!
The kids explored and climbed and got wet as they slipped on the snow and ice. But soon the hunger pains took over, so we found a nice shady spot and ate our lunch. After we ate the kids did a little more exploring and then it was time to go. But we hit a snag. Tyler couldn't find the key to his dirt bike. Where did you put it? In your pocket?? (I cringed as I looked at the many, MANY holes in his jeans.) Did you put it in your pack?? The contents were dumped on the ground and every inch searched. Nothing. We looked and looked but still no key. What do you do when you are 20 miles up in the mountains?? Well, here were some of the boy's suggestions:
"Hey, let's find a stick and see if we poke it in there it will start."
"Maybe you can just tow the bike back."
"Let's leave it here and we can come back for it later."
"How about if we strap it to the back of the 4-wheeler?"
All really, really good suggestions (be sure to cast your vote for your favorite). Fortunately Matt was there to save the day. He is always prepared for the worst and was able to uh, re-wire the bike to get it to start. Whew, what a relief!
We took it easy on the ride back. I was a little worried about how Shannon would do coming down the rocky section - but she did great! When we got down to the bottom she had this huge smile on her face that said, "I did it!". Matt and I were so proud of all the kids - it really was a long, hard ride. We logged at least 40 miles and tons of experience. It was a really fun trip!!
Oh and I have to tell this cute little story about Ellie. She and I were talking as we were riding on our way back to the truck. She would ask me something and I would answer and she couldn't hear me, so she would say, "What?". I would repeat my answer louder, and she would say, "what?" again. I repeated my answer again and she finally said, "Oh!". She then giggled and said, "Guess how I turned my ears up louder." How? I asked. "I yawned!". I thought that was just the cutest thing!