Well we've all had them; those times when even your best laid plans go awry. Well that was about what this trip was like. It's not that everything we planned failed, but everything (including the menu) got a bit mixed up and didn't go quite as planned. Take for instance the camping spot. We had planned to stay in the campground (I kinda like the convenience of having a toilet rather than a hole in the ground) and checked the campsite on the internet a couple of times. We figured that by getting there on a Wednesday we would be able to have a site and it looked like it would happen each time we checked the web (it was not full), but you know what they say about the "best laid plans". To start with we planned to be out of Santaquin by 2:30 pm. The kids had an early out day, we had them pack their stuff the night before, Kerry took the day off work, all that stuff. So Kerry was supposed to pack the trailer. What ended up happening was that he decided that in order to pack he first needed to clean the garage. . .well you can see where this probably led. Needless to say we didn't make it out of town when we planned on leaving. Now, I have to be fair to my wonderful husband by saying that he was not the only on who was not ready at 2:30. I ended up with enough stuff I had to do to get ready (because I had school and Relief Society stuff on Mon and Tues) that I was not able to get ready ahead of time, which meant that I had to do it all on Wednesday. I even changed the menu some because I was not going to be able to pre-make all the things I would normally pre-make. So we left town at around 5pm. Which still is not really too bad considering how things go on trips, right?! The trip to Goblin Valley is around 2 1/2 hours (the way my husband drives, at 80mph) except if you drive normally it would be longer. Because we got out later than we wanted to it was dark by the time we arrived, but boy did we get to see a beautiful sunset!! So anyway, by the time we arrived the "campground full" sign was posted and we had to change our plans. For those of you who have been there before you are aware that there is plenty of primitive camping out on the BLM land that surrounds Goblin Valley. That is not too bad either as it is really beautiful and there are alot of rock formations to enjoy, so we headed out. The spot we thought we would try, we had been to before. It was just dark and we missed the turn off. We realized this when we reached the spot in the road where you have to cross a dry riverbed. At this point Kerry decided that it was a good place to turn around in. I didn't think so and said "No honey, I don't think it's a good idea". You must keep in mind that my husband is a "big kid" at heart and what do kids do in a sand box? They play with cars!! This night I could see that gleam in my husbands eye and knew he wanted to play. So he turns out onto the sand. We hadn't gone far when I knew we were in trouble. It was getting harder and harder to drive and the car was going slower and slower. Pretty soon he was resorting to the "back up and try to drive forward" trick. Well to make a long story short, we ended up stuck up to our axles in the sand. Apparently the 4 wheel drive was not engaging and so for those of you with "regular" cars, "don't try this at home". So about this time Kerry hops out of the car to see what the situation is, and so does everyone else. Holly of course was freaking out and got sent to the car to calm down, the boys were laughing, Megan was offering all kinds of advice and I am not sure what Anni was thinking (she is so quiet) and I was reminding myself that we have all kinds of situations in our life where the Lord just waits to see how we will react, and trying not to get upset with my husband. Well turns out a couple of us were silently saying our prayers for some help to get unstuck, because we had also just found out that Kerry had forgotten his shovel,which is a standard camping tool for us! So what do you do when you don't have a shovel and the Lord helps those who help themselves? You put on gloves and go to work. Kerry, Taylor and Parker put on their gloves and went to work shoveling the sand from around the tires and out from under the car. Megan decided to hike up to the road and wait in hopes of a car coming our way. I personally didn't think there would be many passing because it was fully dark and most sensible campers would be all tucked into their sleeping bags by now, or enjoying their fires at least. But wait she did. Eventually a car did come down the road towing a camper behind. Megan waved them down and they agreed to stop at the rangers and let them know of our predicament. The ranger finally made it and asked what she could do to help. Turns out she was not legally allowed to give us a tow, because we were not in the park, and so she offered to bring us some shovels, which we accepted. When she made it back we had 3 shovels at our disposal and Kerry and the boys went to work. After awhile, while the boys were still digging, I noticed that I was really hungry!! It was way past dinner time after all, and some of the kids had started to ask what we were going to eat for dinner. I decided that I might as well fix dinner if I could get Kerry to dig out the stuff I needed to make it. He agreed and we set up the stove in the back of the trailer and I made dinner. About the time it was almost done, Kerry got the Excursion unstuck and drove it around his giant sandbox (making sure he was unstuck I guess) before parking it so we could eat. We ate and loaded up the trailer and headed out. Once we made it to the campsite (the one we picked out was just waiting for us, boy were we glad) we set up a couple tents. One tent for Taylor and Parker, one tent for me, Kerry and Holly and we decided to let Megan and Anni sleep in the car for the night. Once that was done, everyone went to sleep pretty quick. The next morning we were awakened, long before we were ready to be awake, by some annoying large black birds known as crows!! I must say they are worse than a neighbors roosters!! But we were up, and after a short period of wishing we weren't we got out of bed. We set up camp and had breakfast. By the time we were done with that and on the road to Arches national park it was around noon. We thought the drive over there was around an hour, but it turns out it's a little more than 2. So we spent the day there (hiking and climbing(yes even up the arches))and made it back to camp after dark (again) and had to make dinner. We stopped to eat linner (lunch/dinner), tide over or what ever you want to call it, at a place called Devils garden. It is really a pretty place. There are trees and green things growing all over. This is Kerry in a "hold it honey, let me get a picture before you get down from there" pose. :)We had planned for taco's, but I was tired and didn't want to put that much effort into dinner (it was after 8pm) so we opted for grilled cheese sandwiched and leftovers from the night before. It was delicious!! It's amazing how yummy food is when you are camping!! We decided to have taco's for lunch the next day. (which actually worked out quite well) It should also be noted at this point in time that we had invited everyone (my brothers and sisters, my folks and Kerry's folks) to come and join us for this campout. The only ones who were able to make it were Kerry's folks and his niece Meirah (who brought her boyfriend) and they had made it to camp while we were gone to Arches for the day. It was really nice to have company and they sure had a good laugh as Kerry recounted our adventures thus far. So the next day we decided to go to little wild horse canyon (a slot canyon not to far from camp, maybe 5 miles up the road) and hike. So I stayed at camp to enjoy the quiet and my book (and watching the lizards) while Kerry headed out with the kids to go and hike. They had lots of fun and no mishaps, so I for one, was happy with the outcome. Saturday came and the plan was to go and see the goblins. Kerry woke up in a bad mood because he wanted to be able to stay for one more day (hence he would miss church) and the plan was to leave early evening (ish) so we could be back to unpack and clean up and go to church the next day. So we had breakfast, cleaned up and headed to the goblins. We all went on this outing. I sat at the top and sketched for awhile, watched thru the binoculars for awhile and read my book for awhile. Grampa Toby is not really in the shape for all that climbing and hiking so he stayed put and read his book. Holly decided to join us and she stuck around and chased the lizards and pet peoples dogs and read her book, and pestered mommy. It was a beautiful day and perfect weather for hiking. I couldn't believe how many people were there!! I have never seen that many there before. We had a hard time finding a parking spot, and managed to squeeze into a "parking" spot in front of a truck alongside the actual parking. But we had a wonderful time. Kerry and the kids hiked clear to the top of one of the high peaks. I am not sure I would be able to handle it up there as it makes me nervous. I am not really "afraid" of heights, just uncomfortable when I am there. I guess it's the mom in me because that is when I first noticed the problem, when the little kids started to explore too. This is pretty much what I was able to see thru the binoculars, except my view was not this close. Parker was all hot and sweaty after he got back, and we discovered that he could do really cool things with his hair. We all had a good laugh!! After we were done there we went back to our camping spot and celebrated Anni's birthday!! She turned 17, and it was fun to be able to celebrate with her. Going to Arches, and Goblin Valley has been a dream for her for a long time. It was nice to be able to help make that come true for her. Anyhow, when we were done with the presents we had hamburgers (which were supposed to have been dinner the night before) and birthday cake. We split the hamburger patties and made smaller hamburgers because Grama and Grampa forgot their burger. But all in all lunch turned out great. Then we finished packing and headed for home around 7 pm. There you have a short version of our campout. We missed all of you guys who didn't get to come! It should also be noted that "golem" also known as Jake didn't make this trip as he was otherwise occupied by going to Disneyland with his friends. The weather cooperated the whole time, you couldn't have asked for better. Hope you can enjoy our adventure thru our pictures!!