Family Magazine

Adventure Saturday (and Still No Pictures but with Sunscreen This Time)

By Sherwoods
When I packed directed the packing for our hike this past Saturday, I made sure that two things were included: sunscreen and the camera.  I'm not a big picture taker (I'm still not quite sure how Instagram works) but the places we are hiking in are so stunningly beautiful that it's just wrong to not take a camera.  And there are lots of interesting, funny sights too.  Like lots and lots of donkeys.
So when I pulled out the camera to note that everyone was slathering on the sunscreen this time, I was very frustrated to realize that the battery was dead and I had known it and forgotten to charge the battery.  So still no pictures.  Which is an enormous shame because it's wildflower season now.  So you'll just have to imagine fields of bright red wild tulips that won't be around again until next year.  Sorry.
This week we decided to skip the driving adventures and hiked in the Siama River Valley, which was accessible directly from a nicely paved road.  The mouth of the valley was on the other side of the Varzob River, which we had driven up beside, so we had to cross the river before we could start hiking.
Anyone with some cash, a reasonably passing knowledge of welding, and some steel can throw a bridge across the river, but anyone who does that puts a gate on the bridge.  The only public bridges are to towns on the other side of the river - and there are no towns within miles of Siama.  There's also no way to cross at a public bridge and drive up to the trailhead because the only road is the one you drive on.  When I had looked at the proposed hike on Google maps, I did see a bridge, but it looked - judging by the shadow cast in the satellite image - like it had a gate on it.  Thankfully when we drove up, it was open and we were able to make our careful, clanking way across the one-car wide bridge over the Varzob river to begin hiking along the Siama river.
The Siama river is a glacial river, and so was very full of violently rushing crystal clear to deep blue snowmelt, and some of the snow was still around where we were hiking.  The peaks lining the valley were still cloaked in snow, making for lovely scenery.  We had to hike on the north (south-facing) side of the river because the south (north-facing) side trail was covered in several feet of snow up to the river in quite a few spots, including the trailhead.  So we I happily hiked along the north side, climbing over large granite boulders and slipping through snow fields while admiring wildflowers and a lizard as long as my arm.
Eventually we reached a snow field that tilted 75 degrees and ran 150 feet down straight into the very fast, very cold, very rocky river.  Brandon and I decided we had hiked far enough.  We might maybe have thought about braving the snow field if the other side had been promising, but the other side was a near-vertical scramble up a rocky cliff.  Joseph was happy for a picnic and I was too.
We hiked our way back, looking for a spot to stop and found a lovely little grove near the river.  It had willows for shade, grass for lounging, and a good spot to throw rocks from.  Because, as always, it isn't a hike without throwing rocks into a body of water.  The children held rock throwing contests for the largest rock, the loudest splash, the quietest splash, the furthest throw, and the biggest bounce.  Brandon almost got one rock across the river and almost herniated himself heaving a rock that was heavier than Sophia.  We found moss that magically turned green when water was poured on it and a perfect rock to sit on and dangle your feet in the rushing water.  Eleanor sampled the local sticks and small stones while Brandon and I made plans for roasting marshmallows and bringing friends up for picnics.
Eventually we had to head home, but not without plans to return.  Everyone was happy.  Joseph had eaten snacks.  Eleanor didn't spend five hours strapped to my back.  Edwin got to sit and watch and watch and watch rushing water.  Kathleen threw as many rocks as she liked.  Sophia didn't have to hike six miles.  Brandon wore lots and lots of sunscreen.  And I found a good picnic spot.
I'm looking forward to our next Adventure Saturday.

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