Friday, July 18, 2014

Catalina-Magnalina-Whoopenstiner-Wadembottle-Hogan-Logan-Bogen was hername!

April and I have a slight disagreement regarding just what that ol' gals name really was, but since I get to pick the song lyrics for the title of this guest post, I thought I would take advantage and get my version set in black and white. I’m a sneaky devil, I know! :)

Now settle on in, I’ve got quite a story to tell
About three lil wrangler’s named Sam, Neve, and El!
Most will be pictures, and just a word or three
‘bout these little wranglers and how they came to be

There’ll be pictures a'plenty about our Southern Utah adventure
Some might be shocking, so hold on to your dentures! 
First stop was Ice Cream at the red barn past Payson
Something yummy for the kiddies, cuz I knew what they’d be facin’

Just a nice cold scoop or two and all would be well
Til we got to Southern Utah where it’s hotter’n….a pistol! :)
Plain ol' vanilla for Neve, cookies and cream for Ella
For Sam mint-Oreo & for me Dark Chocolate Haben…WHAT THE HELLA??

So much for cooling my spicy tongue with ice cream
I was suddenly a fire-breathing dragon and I wanted to scream!
All this because good ol’ Brian “promised” himself,
His next recommendation’s being put on some top dusty shelf!


Ok, enough of the poems…I’m even annoying myself. The next stop was a favorite Mexican Food joint of Dave and Aprils in a Gas station of all places in Beaver Utah. Turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree with this one. These kids gobbled up these HUMONGOUS Burritos in no time. I've never seen Sam eat so much and that is no exaggeration.

Finally after hours in the car we arrived at my parents’ house in the thriving metropolis of Kanab, Utah. I gave the kids a quick tour of my childhood home. Ella really liked that we had a dumbwaiter (mini elevator for food) that went between our kitchen on the main floor and our banquet room downstairs. Sam really liked my mom’s bidet (Toilet that washes and dries your tooshy) and Neve liked the secret passageway between my dad’s office and the main part of our house which was hidden behind a bookcase that moves. We relaxed for a bit by swinging in the back yard. :)

After stretching our legs a bit, it was back into the car for one more hour drive on out to the Ranch.
Ella took this picture on our last stretch of HWY 89 before turning up the road to the Ranch.

**Just a funny commercial break here.*** When I was first asking April if Ella could come (I hate driving that long drive by myself. It’s so boring! And Ella has turned out to be a good little travel buddy. I have taken her to So. Utah before) Well as I was tossing the idea out there to April, little Neve overheard me talking about my “Ranch” and her little ears perked up. She came in making the best little pitch she could for including her in the adventure. “I really like salad…” she hinted. A little confused by this, April and I looked at each other before both busting up laughing. Ranch dressing was the only thing Neve was familiar enough with to associate with “Ranch” and that was enough for her, so she made her pitch. She wanted in! All it took for Sam was knowing 4 wheelers and horses were involved and he reluctantly gave up watching soccer to come have a Cowboy adventure.***End commercial break***

Deer Springs Ranch is an hour East of Kanab, half way between Kanab and Lake Powell. It sits on the south rim of Bryce Canyon, so the north end of the ranch has pink cliffs similar to Bryce Canyon. I spent most of my free time here working for my dad as a kid and actually hate going there with a passion…that is, unless you have three fun little balls of energy that come with you to spice up the trip. Then this old dusty cattle ranch takes on a whole new level of fun. :)

These kids had to “rough it” a little, but they really made the best of our accommodations and I had a BLAST! For example, we have 10 or 12 fully furnished cabins up there, but they were all full with all my extended family for this family reunion (~300 people attend my family reunions). So Ella, Sam, Neve and I got a cabin that didn’t have the lights or running water hooked up yet, since no one else wanted it. However, keep in mind this cabin sleeps 24 people and we had it all to ourselves—shucky darn! :) All we had to do was haul our own water to pour in the toilet and it was all hooked up to flush! For these kids, it was a piece of cake.
Instead of sleeping in the bedrooms, however we just pulled the mattresses off the beds into the front room and had a “sleep-out” every night. 

We ate meals at the “Pavilion” which consisted of two large red and white striped circus tents my dad put up for the family reunion on one of our vacant lots. To keep the dirt to a minimum around the eating area, he put down artificial turf from some football field so it was kind of funny eating on the 50 yard line. :) Oh, well—it worked! Here’s our first breakfast. Ella says she liked the food despite the look on her face. :)

 The family reunion was over the 4th of July weekend, so we of course celebrated with festivities. Here is Neve with all the kids getting their little flags. The other kids were jealous that she got two although she has no idea how one ended up stuck in her pony tail—I guess she was too busy doing her best patriotic pose like the Statue of Liberty to notice what had happened! :)

This is my niece Anika. She and Neve were like peas and carrots the whole reunion. 

My brother John (Anika’s dad) brought his razor and all the kids had a blast riding around in it. Here’s Sam, Anika, Neve and Anika’s little brother Troy. 

Anika’s older sister Kylie is who Ella pal’ed around with sitting in the front seat waiting for Ella to get in for this razor ride

No trip to the Ranch Dressing would be complete without some solid time in the saddle, right?

Here is Neve on Mary, Sam on Butterscotch, Ella on Sunny and Me on Ziggy.

 It was a GORGEOUS trail ride and the kids did awesome. I think they were a little nervous when the horses would kind of lope up the steep parts, but they all did great. We did see one rattler on the trail ride, but it was already dead. The trail boss had killed it a few hours earlier on the trail and it was still there!

The kids were a little saddle sore once they got off—meaning they walked funny, but it didn’t last too long.

 As part of the reunion, we divided up by age groups for different activities, but since the 5 year olds were dressing a goat in baby clothes for their activity, Neve and Anika decided to come sit in on the class of 8 to 18 year old girls learning about goal setting--SO EXCITING compared to the boys, ages 8 to 18 that had a boring gun safety and target shooting workshop. How boring that must have been compared to our class while at the freaking RANCH!! So unfair. Anywho, unfortunately I didn't get any pics of little Outlaw Josey Whales wielding his double barreled shot gun--boo. :(

Here is Pete and Repeat trying their darndest to sit still on those uncomfortable logs we had for chairs in our outdoor class room in a place called “the Grove”.

And, what’s a working cattle ranch without the cattle, right? The kids got a kick out of our Texas Longhorns.

I had to explain to these city slickers what a salt lick was…
and yes, little Nevey, baby Longhorns have horns too! :) She thought that was cute.

One morning after breakfast, my dad had everyone meet up at the north end of the ranch near a place called Red Reservoir where he had waiting 13 handcarts which were divided among three separate trails…one trail along the west side of the valley, one along the east side of the valley and one down the middle. Each handcart was assigned to a company of 20 people. Ella, Sam and Neve stayed with me in my company. One handcart per trail was sent out and then the second wave was sent 15 minutes or so later. The trails were far enough apart across the valley you couldn’t see each other. However, every quarter of a mile down through the valley we’d come upon a stake in the ground that stood about 4 feet high. Attached to the top was a sign naming a historic site on the Mormon Pioneer Trek such as “Hole in the Rock” or “Elephant Rock” or whatever. Then tacked to the sign post was a short story for someone in the company to read aloud to their company telling the story of what happened at that historic location and a hymn to sing.

I know it sounds very cheesey and trust you me, I did not think my dad could pull it off since not everyone in my family is LDS, let alone active—nor are they hymn singers…but I tell you what, out there in the middle of nowhere, in a small company of 20 people pulling a handcart in the blazing heat across the face of God’s creation, its amazing what stirs even the most hardened of heart. We had been provided copies of the hymns so everyone had the words and although we couldn’t see the other companies across the valley, we could hear them singing distantly. To be honest, reading some of the experiences the pioneers had at these posts and singing the hymns, I had a hard time fighting back the tears through most of this experience.

My company consisted of my brother John and his family, brother Barry and his family, brother James and his family, sister Natalie and her family and then me and my three stow-aways. Barry and John pulled the hand cart most of the way with Neve and the younger kids riding inside while the rest of us walked along side it. 
Sam was asked to be the trail scout which mean he had to run ahead and direct them where to pull the cart since there was no cut trail. You can’t tell from the pictures, but there were some really rough areas we had to get through along the way. We were the first handcart company to blaze our trail and there were swampy area’s and tall grass as well as washes, cracks and crevasses we had to navigate. Sam did a great job and actually performed a valuable service.
The kids were a little nervous to turn their backs on the cattle because the cows had just charged toward us because of the little dog Baxter we had in our company. Texas Longhorns HATE dogs for some reason and come after them fast and hard—its crazy! Luckily they are scared of adults so Barry charged right back at them and they decided to keep their distance, but the kids weren’t so sure if the cows considered them to be humans or dogs, so they were all hesitant to take pictures with the cows to their back. :)

One of the pioneer landmarks posted on our trail was “Sweet Water River” where we read the famed event of the young men carrying the members of the Willie Handcart company across the frozen Sweet Water River occurred. At the end of the story pinned to the post it told us we all had to cross the “Sweet Water River” so here is Sam doing it Sammy style. :)

As I mentioned, it was blazing hot. Neve also had a job. She wanted to do her part to help by passing out water to everyone to keep them hydrated. Here she’s handing water to my brother Barry.

I had warned the kids on the drive down that they would probably see wild life at the ranch. I told them stories of catching horny toads as a kid up here and to them my description of said horned toad sounded almost mythical. However, lo and behold on our trek several were caught and here you have one of the cute little guys hanging out on our shoulders. :)

Sam dared have it hang out—Ella…not so much, so I just got a pic with her and little toad in it. Can you see him? :) 

We decided to have all the primary kids do the final pull on in to camp as we sang the primary song “Pioneer Children”. They did such an awesome job! 

At the closing ceremonies of our Trek experience, each company leader chose one person from their company to award the “Pioneer Spirit” award too. Our company leader, Barry, chose “Little Sam the Scout”. Here is Sam with his award—pioneer soap, which Barry’s wife Pam really wanted, so Sam traded her for a bag of pioneer candy she received as the song leader for our company. Good trade Sammy!

As far as far the kids had riden horses, been up close and personal with Texas Longhorns, caught a horny toad and, well, of course played with Baxter the dog…but so far they had only seen one dead rattle stake on the horseback trail ride and a harmless water snake in the marshy part of the valley we trekked through. All of that changed when Sammy came across a live Rattler on a 4 wheeler ride with my nephew Sean. You’ll have to ask Sam for the details, but from what I heard, Sam wrestled the beast and chewed its head off with his bare teeth!
In any case, Sean skinned it up and BBQ’ed it for lunch. Surprisingly none of my tag-alongs wanted to try it. April said they were picky eaters, but SHEESH! I thought they would gobble this up for sure!! Picky picky picky!!

Sam wasn’t the only one fixated on dead animals though. I found Ella out playing with this Longhorn Skull that apparently stinks judging by Kylies face--who knew?? By this point I was beginning to think these little Hendrickson kids were a little demented and morbid...I mean, who in their right mind plays with dead animals??

Little Neve decided she’d stick to cute wild life like this squirrel she spotted when I took her out for a ride on one of the quads 

They sure loved the quads—even when they weren’t moving, these goofballs goofed around on them

Now it wasn’t ALL sunshine and roses. One afternoon the thunder rolled and the lightning struck so everyone went back to their cabins to take cover. Instead of us four going back to our cabin we headed to Cabindale…my parents cabin (Named after my dad, Dale) where all my siblings were congregating. 
The younger kids did what we all used to do as kids before cellphones and Atari…just kidding, I’m not THAT old! Sheesh!...What I mean is, all the younger kids sat on the kitchen floor and played a game they all made up which entailed putting their feet together to make a giant circle/star and then flinging tiny game piece tiles from a half-lost game across the floor at each other. I’m not sure of the rules, but you can ask Neve cuz she played it for about an hour.

Once the rain let up enough to where it was just sprinkling, these same tiny kids ventured out on the deck where they commenced in hiding under a pick nick table on the deck and telling ghost stories…Oooooh, scary!!
I’m not quite sure I’m allowed to tell you what the caption of this picture should be with Neve and my nephew Landon…Neve might beat me up! But I’ll let you make up your own. :)

During the rainy cabin time, while the little kids played games, Sam decided to whip up a card game in the center of the family room. It was funny cuz Sam didn’t hang out with kids his age…no, he decided the teenagers were more his style and as soon as he started talking, they all just flocked to him. It was funny to watch. Talk about charisma! Here he is wheelin’ and dealin’ telling them all how to play.
I think there must have been something in the that rain water cuz while Neve’s out side on the deck getting’ her groove on, what started out as an innocent card game for Sam soon turned into table top dancing…I mean, who’s kids ARE these anyways?? Ella kept asking if I had any poles and I had to tell her no!
Its surprising what is entertaining when you are hulled up in a cabin with a bunch of crazy people!

These three had really taken’ a liking to the Cowboy life style. You can see here, that Sam no longer cared for the wimpy soft cushion of a cheap ranch mattress…he liked the cold hard ground like a true cowpoke out on the open range of the prairie. 

Finally the day arrived when we had to pack up for home. Up until this time the kids had not dragged their feet to get up and moving once. On this last morning they were all up early, bright eyed and bushy tailed as usual, but getting them to put a single thing in their bags was a joke! 
Finally after I told them one of my favorite things was still ahead, they started packing up. Little Nevey even rolled her own bedroll:

Here Neve’s reminiscing about riding Mary while Ella helps Sam roll his bedroll up in the back:

Once Sam saw Neve…well, the “Horse” play started all over again!

....And before I knew it, all of them were riding bucking bronco bedrolls all over the front room bouncing from one mattress to the next to the next! Here is their reenactment of our trail ride. See Butterscotch sniffing Sunny’s butt?

Once the kids finally got packed up we headed up to the north end of the ranch where I put my SUV to the test and climbed up to Powell Point to show the kids a breathtaking view of the ranch from up on top of the pink cliffs.

In the back ground at the top of the pictures, the light green flat part is the valley we trekked through.

 Crazy Sam dancing in the back ground. He was so excited to be that high up!

Neve danced too. She wasn’t sure she wanted to go up to the pink cliffs when we were packing up. She didn’t want to leave the cabin. But then once we got up there, it was highly likely I wasn’t going to get her off the mountain and back down. She did not want to leave.

Here Ella figured out how we brush our hair Cowboy style…Step one: nestle up against a tree. Step two: walk away. Repeat: It must have worked cuz Ollie, the trail boss for the horses kept asking me how I got her hair so shiney and golden! Now my secret is out. :)

Once back in the car and on the way home to Northern Utah, here’s how quiet the car was:

The only time they stirred was when we would stop and I’d make them get out and earn their keep!
Child labor laws do not apply in outlaw country. :)

In  the words of the infamous Porky Pig....Ibity Ibity Ibity...That's all folks!
The End


Sarah Lee Cakes said...

once I read your poem, I was reeled in and you had me reading the whole thing in Jesse's voice from Toy Story!
Great pictures, I bet they had so much fun! And your commentary is perfect. I'm jealous of the horseback riding. I haven't been since I was a teen. I tried finding somewhere I could take Pheebs for her birthday, her love of horses and all, but everything I found you had to be 8 or older.

Aimee said...

I love this post! Good job, Carri Clarkston! What an awesome little adventure - one that April's three littles will remember forever! Emma was really jealous and after reading that post, I am too. Your parents are pretty cool folk to put on such a reunion! I'm so impressed!

Lisa said...

So freaking awesome. I want to go to there!

Best Song lyrics ever