We had a great time playing cards at night and chatting by the bonfire. It was great to see the girls reconnecting with their grand-parents. Six days went by pretty fast.
Since we only had one day of rock climbing in St. George this year (and since JF cannot lead because of his broken finger), we decided to come back to Green Valley Gap. We knew the place from last year and knew we could easily set up top ropes from the top of the canyon.
It was fun to have Ching and Jerud with us and we had a fun relaxing day hanging out at this beautiful crag. They even installed a zip line in the *gap* and we could see people sliding down it as we climbed. There is also a mountain bike trail right around the canyon - namely the Zen Trail (black) and the Barrel trails. Isa and Martin came to join us after they rode Bearclaw Poppy. There are so many trails and crags to explore in St. George. We will come back longer next time. There simply doesn't seem to be a good boondocking spot close enough with good signal. If you know one, leave a comment!
We chose Sand Hollow State Park because it was close to everything: the amazing network of mountain bike trails in Hurricane, the many rock climbling routes in St. George, Snow Canyon State Park and Zion National Park. Little did we know how beautiful this place was with it's turquoise reservoir water and orange cliffs located a mere 5 minute walk from our campsite.
Little did we know too that the "jumping rock" was a favorite spot of the college kids on Spring Break. As we were quietly exploring the cliffs one morning, they arrived en masse, with cheap beer, tiny bikinis and selfie sticks. They were loud as only self-rightous college kids can be and left piles of trash in their wake... We came back a few days later and filled 3 big black bags of water bottles, broken beer bottles, candy wrappers, sunblock bottles and fast food containers... I can only hope my girls feel a greater connexion to the land when they grow up and treat it with respect.
What we are learning is that the best way by far to find out where to go climbing is to visit the local rock climbing/outdoor store. We knew that St. George is the place in the United States where there is the biggest concentration of sport climbing routes, but even after hours of online research and looking through many physical guidebooks at the library, we could not find clear information on what we were looking for. A 30 minute visit at the Desert Rat store and we had found the perfect spot to set two ropes side by side, with a beautiful approach walk, and in a less crowded spot (it is Spring Break here...). While we were there, Mara decided to use her money to buy herself some (pink!) rock climbing shoes (we were all sharing mine)! She was flying up the wall!
We are already reaching the point where my girls are starting to be stronger (and more confident!) than I am in rock climbing and mountain biking... A great lesson in humility. Needless to say, I am very proud of them and amazed at what they can do!