One of my favorite things about making sandals is that I get to go out on adventures to test them in a variety of conditions. There is always something I learn while out and about.
Last week was spring break here and since I didn’t have class or teaching responsibilities we decided to head south for some adventures. At first our intention was just to spend a day outside hiking but my sister (who lives in sunny St. George) called and said they wanted to go camping with us. We were a little bit unsure about it since we have a new baby but eventually decided that as long as we were car camping we could abandon ship if we needed to and head home. We wanted to camp near water and we didn’t want to be in an official campground but there are not very many places that meet that description unless you are backpacking.
We ended up going to a little place called Babylon. It was once a small mining community on the Virgin River. It didn’t last long until one of the Virgin’s notorious floods wiped out the community and everyone left. Now it is in the middle of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve area. This is where we went last year also but we backpacked upstream to a place we thought would be perfect. It turned out that there was a crazy sand storm of the likes I had never before seen other than in the movies! We woke up in the morning with about an inch of sand over us inside of the tent (which is water tight)! So as you can imagine we were nervous about going back this year with a baby! The weather reports were good until the day before. Then there was wind in the forecast. We decided to try anyway.
Luckily the wind was nothing but a small breeze and we found a more strategic place to pitch our tents with some mesquite bushes and a bit of grass around to keep sand from blowing so much. Our 11 week old son did great and we had a successful trip.
We decided that we needed a larger tent if we are going to be camping with more than just the two of us.
Of course we had our inflatable kayak in the trunk and ready to do some season warm-up paddling on the river. The water was a bit cold but it didn’t stop us from running a couple bends in the river. I was pleased to find that the modifications that I made to the Unshoes design (which were made quite a while ago but didn’t apply to my own pair until last week) created more stability in flowing water. I love going barefoot in the sand but out in places like this there are thorns everywhere! Just about every plant that grows has some kind of sharp surface on it. Even the grass in unpleasant! Here are a few more pictures of the paddling: