After we finished rockhounding today in Vernon, Utah, we decided to return home by traveling along the the West side of Utah Lake. As we made our way around the lake, we noticed something very unusual. The lake was perfectly still, and had mirrored reflections of the mountains to the South and East of the Lake. I stopped along the way, and took several photos. We tried to get a better perspective, and drove for awhile along a road that paralleled some high-tension power lines in the area. We got back onto the highway, and continued driving North.
We saw a raised promontory a few hundred yards off the road, that was perhaps 300-400 feet above the surface of the lake. And fortunately for us (at least for me and the kids) there were 4 wheel drive roads you could take to the top of the hill! Fortunately, the soil here was not completely saturated, like it was in Vernon. We were able to ventur off road safely. We found a road that left the highway, and proceeded up the hill. We stopped just a couple of hundred feet from the summit. The road looked pretty steep and narrow those last few feet to the summit, and I didn't know if there would be room enough to turn around once we got up there. If there is one thing the Sour Note hates more than anything when we go 4-wheeling, it is to have to back down a steep hill. So I got out of the truck, camera in-hand, and hiked up to the top of the hill.
The view at the top was spectacular. I took several photos, and found a rock ledge there that provided some nice foreground to the photos. You can view more of the Utah Lake photos here. Everyone else waited in the truck, since their muddy shoes were still in the back of the truck from our rockhounding adventure.
As I came back down from the summint, I could see that there was more than one trail going up and down the hill. I saw an alternate route, from the one that we had previously ascended the hill on, that we could take to get down. It would require a minumum of backing up, and better yet, there was a large puddle of water at the bottom! I backed up, made a three-point turn, and proceeded going down the hill. All went well, and mama did OK, too. Then I turned toward the mud puddle at the bottom, a sly grin on my face, and gave the truck a little gas. -- SPLASH! -- We churned up a bunch of water on both sides of the truck, and Amy gave her nervous little laugh/scream that we came to love on our trip to Moab last year. I continued on down the road toward the highway hitting every mud puddle just about as fast I could find. The kids were having a great time. I wasn't too sure about mama though.
We hit one mud puddle at a pretty good clip, and then there was a slight rise in the road, so you couldn't see what was coming up next. As we crested the ridge, a wash bottom (the Sour Note calls it a Ravine!) was revealed right in front of us, and we were heading right into it -- too fast! I hit the brakes, and I could feel the anti-lock brake pulsations kick in on the slippery, muddy road. The heavy-duty shocks and suspension of our off-road outfitted truck were called upon for rare duty, and we made it through OK. --- Except for Mama, that is. Her eyes were as large as saucers, and her heart was stuck in her throat. She had had just a little too much excitement for her taste, as she exclaimed, "THIS IS NOT FUN!". The Sour Note rides again.
She really likes to always know just exactly what is coming ahead. Surprises while four wheeling are just not too good for her disposition. (I first learned of this trait when we went on our first 4-wheeling trip before we were married, on the original "Stripey-Tailed Monkey Trip." We were riding over some dunes in the San Raphael Desert. As you reach the crest of each dune there comes a certain instant in time, as you reach the top, when you can only see sky in front of you. You have to take it on faith that there is still a road before you! A moment later the vehicle crests the hill, and you tilt downward on the downhill slope of the dune, and you can once again see the road ahead of you. On the Stripey Monkey Trip, the Sour Note dug her fingernails into my leg each time we crested a hill -- and I still have the scars to prove it! -- Well, not really.) Fortunately, our new truck is wider than the old one, and she couldn't get her hands on me this time!
I put some calm, soothing music on the stereo. I pointed out things along the roadside as we passed by. (She had never been on this road before). It still took about 20 miles for her to get her feathers unruffled and smoothed down.
All along the way, the kids were teasing mama. They too, have come to know her 4-wheeling proclivities. At every possible chance, they would tell her such things as, "Mama, we're tipping!", or "Look mom, we can't see the road!" and "Mama, we're going backwards!" And after going through our little wash bottom experience, the kids wanted to do it again!
We eventually made it back to the highway, and made it back home in one piece -- that is, I made it home in one piece. The truck, of course, was never in doubt.