Weekend with Waterfalls

This weekend we decided to visit a nearby place called Sundance.  This is beautiful area on the slopes of Mt. Timpanogos.  You may have heard of this place… or maybe not.   It is the location of the Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Ski Resort and I think a lot of this area including the resort is owned by the actor Robert Redford.

We were going to drop by and say hi to Robert… but you know how actors can be… talk… talk… talk… and we had some serious hiking to do.  (I didn’t know this at the time. I was hoping for a lazy Saturday and thought we were just going to take the lift to the top of the mountain… oh the deception… Isabelle)

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My daughter Gwen was excited because she had been here with her friends and they hiked up to a waterfall… Stewart Falls.  Isabelle and the kids wanted to do the hike and I tried to convince them that we were already at the falls… (see the above picture…unfortunately none of them fell for it)

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We bought our  lift tickets and because we were more than 4 we got a family discount. (10%… how awesome…).   I hadn’t noticed that my camera lens had a smudge and almost all of my pictures on the ride up show this smudge on the bottom right side. (you can see the blurry spot on my son’s shirt in the picture above… Sam is my oldest son)   Luckily I saw this before we started hiking and cleaned it so only half the pictures suck. How annoying it would have been to have every picture blurry.

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When Ben got on the lift and we started the ascent I could sense his excitement mixed with fear. (youngest son… love the missing teeth… note that darn smudge)  He kept telling me that we could probably survive if the cable broke… we just needed to land on our feet.  He also said that dying would be much better than being killed.  I am still trying to figure that one out.    (Every good adventure must have a little bit of life threatening fear moments)

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Isabelle and Sam road in the chair in front of Gwen, Ben, and I.   Sam was laughing at his mother because she kept saying that it was much scarier than in France.   She told him in France there was a bar that came down and without the bar it didn’t feel as safe.   Well…  They have the same bars on these chairs but she didn’t see it nor pull it down.   All the while Sam knew about the bar was not going to tell her.  You can see the bar above their heads.

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You can put your mountain bike on the side of the chair and ride with it up to the top and then have an incredible descent on that bike to the bottom.   Ben noticed all of the many bikers and he continually yelled “Hello… Bikers!”.

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There were several places mid ride where you could get off and bike or hike around.   I don’t know if you have noticed the signs… but I wonder who this “Ray” is.

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With my penchant for “weird pictures” my kids are always on the look out.  They noticed this sign and Gwen said, “Dad here is one of your pictures”. So I took it.  I am not sure what is happening to that poor guy but I feel really bad for him.

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The lift didn’t just go up but it went up and over then down the other side.  Once at the bottom we caught a second lift to the top of the mountain you see in front of us.

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Here is a view from the chair almost at the top.   This is looking back at midway where our “bunker” is.   (Actually I call it our “bunker”… If you ask Isabelle it is our “Country Home”).   On our way up I kept hearing a high pitched buzz… like grinding metal and I puzzled about it’s origin.

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At the top I realized what I was hearing.   If you look in the picture above you will see two cables on the right (above that dang smudge).   These cables are zip lines… crazy ones.. in fact there is four zip lines in all.

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Doesn’t this look amazing… and I am sure they will survive the cable breaking if they manage to land on their feet.   I really wanted to do this but Ben was too young and well even he wasn’t I don’t think I could have convinced him or his mother into going.

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The view from the top from both directions is awe inspiring.   This is looking down the opposite way of the zip line… breathtaking isn’t it… even with the smudge.

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There are buildings on the top and one of the lift operators mentioned that we should try the nachos.   Ben is allergic to milk so nachos are out of the question… lucky for him Isabelle packed celery.   (I laughed feeling sorry for him but he said he loves it)  Isabelle wanted to hike down from there and we started whining.   In fact we whined so much that one of the workers at the top said if you want a great hike take the lift mid way down and from that point take the Stewart’s Fall trail.

SO…. THAT IS WHAT WE DID… what a fantastic and kind of dangerous hike!

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I say dangerous… and we were warned.   If you read the top sign above you will see that the trail is going to be a “real hike”.   The second sign below it states that the trail was “more difficult than normal” with water to cross, snow, fast moving runoff, and other obstacles.   (I was excited to see what other obstacles would be there)

I had to warn the kids that this is a hike they could not “play around” on.   I warned them that it was going to be very dangerous.   Ben responded with “don’t worry dad… danger is not my middle name”.

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This trail had its “hard” moments but it was often shaded, mostly down hill since we were starting from the top and it offered amazing views.   I was a tiny bit worried because I had no idea how far the trail was and wondered when Ben or the other kids would start to complain.

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The closer we got to the falls the more dense the plants became.   The kids pointed out the plant in the picture above stating that they think Dr. Seuss got his ideas for his trees from it.

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One section we had to cross a small water fall and the rocks were very slippery and the “down” side of the trail was very steep.  I didn’t take a picture of that and you unfortunately can’t tell from the pictures below… but it made me rethink our hike for a small moment.

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As I carried Ben across he looked less afraid than on the lift.  It warms my heart that he trusts me so much… but I wonder if I should teach him to be a bit more skeptical of my capabilities.

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We finally arrived at the waterfall and it was spectacular and also crowded.   Most people hiked up to the falls on another trail and we had no idea that there would be this many people.  Gwen and Ben decided that they “had” to walk under it.   I said go ahead and was going to just watch.  I then became weary and decided I had best go with them.  I don’t know what I was thinking… while it was very warm outside this water was ice cold.  After seeing me do this, Isabelle and Sam decided to avoid the “fun”.

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You can’t see me but I am holding Ben’s hand under the water while Gwen is watching us come out.   (She was suppose to go through with us but when she felt the icy water she immediately abandoned us and ran through to the other side)

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Here we are out of the falls soaking wet and freezing.   I didn’t think this through very well… especially when it came to the wet chaffing clothes that made the rest of the hike miserable.  It was already getting kind of late so we decided that it was time to get home.  I still didn’t know how long this would be and it turns out we had two miles to hike before we would arrive back at the resort.

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After arriving back at our starting point I was ready to get home and believe it or not still wet.   I am very proud of the children and how well they did on this hike.  Not once did I hear a complaint nor any fighting.   In fact they helped one another through the “hard” parts and were quick to offer each other encouragement.  (sometimes families rock)   Definitely a fantastic weekend!… and we didn’t have to worry about dying or being killed.

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