Don’t Rain On My Mermaid!
Jason’s mom Sue and his brother Jeremy were both born in July along with me and Jason. Yes, that means we go through enough birthday cake during the month to give a small country diabetes.
This year Jason’s parents decided that it would be fun to celebrate all our July birthdays by taking a trip down to Utah’s Dixie. They got us tickets to see the two shows playing at an outdoor theater in St. George called Tuacahn: The Little Mermaid and Grease. This gave us an excuse to take a break and spend the weekend in St. George together.
Jason’s parents, Sue and Keith, stayed with me and Jason at a condo we rented for the weekend. The condo was beautiful and allowed each couple to have their own bathroom and bedroom while still promoting family togetherness. We got plenty of chances to play board games and chat; it reminded me a lot of hanging out at the old Sabin cabin but with less dust.
Friday night Jason and I got down to St. George with little time to spare before the start of The Little Mermaid but we managed to make it. Not that our timeliness ended up mattering much. Do you remember the scene where Ariel rescues Prince Eric from the stormy seas? Lightning is flashing across the sky as thunder pounds the earth and a thrashing rain begins to fall. Well, right when that scene was being played out on stage real thunder began rumbling the sandstone plateaus around us and unforgiving water started pelting the ground. Jason and I had brought ponchos with us just in case but even with those on the wind whipped us so wet we ended up taking shelter in a covered area along with everyone else. After waiting half an hour for the rain to stop, which it didn’t, the show was canceled for the evening. There were a lot of little girls crying that night because of the unhappy ending to their fairytale magic.
Although it was sad that our Friday activities got halted, we didn’t waste time pouting. The next morning Jason, Sue, Keith, and I headed up to Snow Canyon State Park for some hiking and caving. Snow Canyon is a pretty area creased by pocked sandstone and surrounded by white and red cliffs. The colors of this region are shadowed by piles of black lava rock that an ancient volcano strew about. These dark stone outcroppings protrude the fiery landscape conspicuously but their most interesting feature lies beneath the park’s surface.
Snow Canyon’s hillsides, which are roughened by jagged igneous rock, are further scarred by holes of various sizes: lava tubes. Years ago my parents owned a condo in St. George and so Jason spent quite a bit of time with me in Snow Canyon. Every time he came across a lava cave he wanted to explore it but he somehow was always lacking a flashlight. This trip though he was determined to make up for his previous inadequacies…sort of. He remembered to grab a flashlight before we headed up to Snow Canyon but he insisting on hiking in flip-flops. (Don’t get me started!) We trekked the Butterfly Trail to the West Canyon Overlook and then detoured to find some caves. We came across three. The first was easy to access with high ceilings in two long chambers but it smelled a little too musty and peeish for us to hangout in there too long. The second cave was very narrow so only Jason journeyed a bit into its belly.
On our third discovery we hit the jackpot. This cave was fantastic! It’s opening to the surface was not terribly large and could have been easily missed if a couple of women hanging out on a narrow ledge a few feet down had not caught our attention. Access into this hole was tricky and required some scrambling and scooting and once inside we probably would have mistaken a big cavity at the bottom of the entrance shaft for the main attraction if some hikers had not exited out of a small unremarkable gap to one side of it as we were entering the tube. That little opening led to a winding slender passage that eventually widened into a large rock-scattered room. Awesome! Upon leaving that room the tube dived over a narrow little cliff; that drop-off looked tricky to navigate so this is where we decided to head back. But the moment we exited from this tunnel back into the main shaft Jason turned around and headed back in by himself. He had decided that he could shimmy down that cliff, flip-flops and all, and was determined to see where the tube led. It turned out that it went down another cramped twisting path to a second large cavern where it ended. After traversing the entire passageway he convinced me to go back in with him to the tunnel’s terminus. I am claustrophobic and therefore not a big fan of ducking through a little crack in the earth but in the end my curiosity got the best of me. I’m glad I braved it; it was a cool cave.
After hiking and crawling around all day we saw Grease that night at Tuacahn and, unlike The Little Mermaid, we actually saw it. It was a fun show that made me want to dance and sing and wear a poodle skirt.
We may have had a few watery glitches in our fabulous weekend plan but it still turned out to be a great getaway with plenty of fam time and some surprising adventures.