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Hiking Red Cliffs Recreation Area
Waterfalls in the Desert
Isn't there something mystical about waterfalls? They have always captivated me. Maybe it is just because I was an adult before I had the chance to see and hear and smell the falling water. I don't know, but I think they are amazing.
We were in St. George playing around-I was playing around, David and Aaron were working and discussing what trails to do for the rest of the day. My ears perked up when someone mentioned "waterfall" and my vote was quickly cast. David drove us to Red Cliffs Recreational Area - a park Aaron has fond memories of camping at. We parked and headed out for the trail to a waterfall. On our way we noticed campers sunbathing! How funny! At home stood several feet of snow but in here were sunbathers. It was great.
So we started on the hike. The path itself was easy to follow but the hike's location provided plenty of opportunity for fun detours. All four of us (including Katherine, the toddler) stood on stones in the middle of a little stream and admired a smaller waterfall in front of us. Just beyond us laid a fallen tree. Aaron took it a step further and climbed through a little arch to continue along the path. The rest of us hung out waiting for him to fall but he escaped without being soaked with freshly melted snow. David, Katherine and myself chose to return back the way we came and met up with Aaron a few feet away down the path. I did some climbing and exploring of my own along that hike. One nice thing about having more adults than children is that childcare responsibilities can be divided up, making way for more playtimes per adult.
The air itself felt great while we were in the sun but I found it a little too chilly in the shade. This proved to be an issue at the start due to the position of the sun casting shadows over the trail. Hiking this particular trail during a summer afternoon would have been heaven but I had to tuck my arms in my shirt. This was until I found out there was an even larger waterfall further on ahead. So on we continued past nature's artwork of red, green and white.
Along our path we met several people of all ages. There were babies in backpacks, rambunctious kids, young couples and older companions. I certainly understand the draw of the sights, but honestly; I thought the path was a little more advanced than your average stroll. This is only because at some points the trail becomes less of a trail and more of a climb-over-and-around-boulders-while-trying-to-not-slip-into-the-water challenge. Don't get me wrong; it was a ton of fun, just a little scary passing Katherine to her grandpa while hoping my footing would remain steady and we both wouldn't end up in ice-cold water! Come to think of it, I would be less scared and more hopeful of a slip in the summertime because when it is hot, that water would be welcomed! Be aware though, that there were several other ways around and other people chose to hike over the boulders instead of around them.
Just around a bend appeared a pool of water deep enough to swim in. Aaron said that as a child he did swim in it. Feeding that pool is a wide waterfall formed from a small stream that runs its course through a beautiful canyon filled with trees, plants and fun. Getting to this scenic point is almost enough but an adventurous soul has the option of going further and walking through the canyon. To do this, one must climb up the side of the waterfall (less than 10 feet). Holes (possibly carved by Native Americans) allow for good footing and a rope hangs down to also assist. Of course Aaron went first and then I climbed up after him. It was so cool. We ran and hopped and climbed in the canyon. Two younger children and their dog followed a few minutes later. The kids made it up with no problem but the dog required some assistance.
Going back down the side of the waterfall was a little more difficult because I had to face toward the rock when I wanted to face away from it. Holding the rope helped me feel a bit more secure and everyone made it with no problem.
Heading to the car on the return trip, I realized that I had very little idea of where we were. This trail was not as clearly defined at some points as other trails. However, there was enough foot traffic that if I had chosen to go out there alone, I think I would have been fine getting back, eventually. Going back, Katherine got a kick out of stopping to play with the ice that held tight along the banks of the stream. She walked down to the water's edge and crouched to get a closer look. I broke off some ice and let her handle the huge pieces. Aaron and I kept a hold of her in case she was to slip into the water's flow.
Lunch was next on the agenda and we needed some place that was going to be fast. The men were discussing various fast food places we could swing by, when they asked for my input, "Something with vegetables," I requested. It wasn't the easiest thing to accomplish, fast and healthy, but when on the road it's tough to eat well and a quick inventory of my previous day's diet had me thinking gas station food had reached its limit. David, who lived in St. George several decades ago, suggested a place named Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwich Shop. Sounded good to me. We were greeted with a large wall menu consisting of goofy named items. But regardless of how crazily they were titled, everything looked so good! David ordered a normal sub, Aaron ordered the kind with double meat and I requested their vegetarian on the multi-grain bread option. I like my meat but the sprouts, avocado spread and cucumbers were calling out to this veggie-starved soul! The sandwiches were compiled fast. I mean real fast. I wasn't done ordering before David's was done! We sat down at comfortable booths and took to reading all the funny signs, slogans and sayings on the wall. It reminded me of Moe's, if anyone knows what that is.
So the food was great (mine could have used more of the flavour-packed avocado spread but it was still fine). Aaron actually downed the entire 8 inches (in length but at least 3.5 in height!) of his sub and David finished his off as well. We were, after all, quite hungry. The food was yummy, fast and served in a pleasant atmosphere. The best part was the fact that the quality far outweighed Subway (let's face it, how else could I give you a reference point for sandwich comparison?) but the price was less than you will pay at the nation-wide chain. Overall, I was quite satisfied.
The morning adventures were fun and lunch was a nice conclusion to our hiking. Seeing waterfalls, especially in the desert, was spectacular and provided a lot of good memories. I am looking forward to returning in the summer when I can jump into the pool of chilly water.