I escorted him to the car (already packed with clothes and food for the weekend) and said he could take off the blindfold when he guessed where we were going . . . or when we got there. With some time to contemplate while we drove on the freeway and some hints, Alvin finally pinpointed our destination. His surprise was my best reward for all that careful planning. "Whoah. That's big," he said. Then for the finishing touch: "What about Primary on Sunday?" he asked. "I got you a sub," I told him, as nonchalant as I could manage. (In the past Alvin has taken days to decide who to call and make the phone call to get a substitute for his Valiant 10 class).
We stopped in Kolob Canyon, which is actually the northern section of Zion National Park, to hike up a slot canyon. The yellow-green fall leaves were a striking contrast to the glowing red-rock walls towering above us. And the canyon was deliciously cool.
Next on the itinerary: Les Miserables at Tuacahn, the outdoor ampitheater near St. George. The story of Jean Valjean is laced with themes of forgiveness, frustrated hopes, sacrifice, and redemption. The music and story were so emotional and moving. Great set, too, because they incorporated the rocky outdoor landscape into the battle scenes. If that wasn't enough, you could glance upward and feast your eyes on the magnificent Milky Way. Alvin enjoyed feasting on our licorice: Red Vines and Twizzlers. When I gawked at him chomping on 5 pieces at once, he said that was routine.
The only glitch in our trip was the campground. We got there at 11 pm after the musical ended, only to find that the campground gate closed at 10 pm. Ehh. We hopped the gate with our tents and sleeping bags and found our spot in the dark.
Sunday we went to church in what was probably a characteristically "St. George" ward: a lot of seniors who were very tan. Before starting the 5 hour drive home, we took a stroll in Snow Canyon and saw a baby owl! On the way home we stopped in Provo for dinner with my parents. Thanks, Mom, for the taco soup.
What a fun weekend. Short, but a great mid-autumn getaway. Thanks for being born in October, Alvin.