Unfortunately the lion hunt didn't happen - apparently they needed 4-6" of snow to track the lion and we only got 2-3".
So we tried to come up with some other fun things to do. We got all set to go explore the lava tubes - a 3/4 of a mile long underground tunnel formed from cooling lava. Unfortunately the forest service road was closed. Bummer...well bummer for Tom, Lyle and the kids. I was like, "Ah, shucks. We don't have to crawl down under the earth; walk in complete darkness,with only one way out. Yippeee!!! I mean, big bummer." Of course I did not verbalize any of this. I wanted to be a good sport for the kids, and look like a great adventurous wife for Tom and his good friend.
Then Tom and Lyle tried going caving in a different location, a "not-kid-friendly" cave, but also came upon closed roads (Flagstaff is so silly, closing down the forest during the winter). Bigger bummer.
Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, a good friend of ours told us of another "kid-friendly" cave that you didn't need to drive down a forest service road to get there. We headed East down I-40 to Diablo Canyon - sounds ominous doesn't it?
Out in the middle of nowhere, there's this crack in the earth:
We got the kids all geared up with jackets, gloves and headlights. With Jon on my back, I put a smile on my face and followed the happy explorers.
Thankfully, the cave ended in a big room with no way to continue on for us adults. "Ahh, rats. Too bad. Guess we'll have to turn around and get out of here."
I was very happy to be back on top of the earth, under the clear-blue sky...ahhhh...
The kids, and their fearless father, decided that one cave wasn't enough. They had to explore a literal hole in the ground. Tom backed the van up to the hole and tied one end of a rope to the ball-hitch and the other to himself. Down they went. Check out the huge smiles on the boys - it's as if they were being given a huge bowl of ice cream!
While they disappeared back into the ground, I occupied my mind with taking pictures of the scenery...every mom need a good distraction when her beloved husband and children are willingly crawling into a deep, dark pit, where who knows what kind of danger lurked just steps in front of them.
OK, so I'm exaggerating just a bit. It really wasn't dangerous. But still...my mind wanders and can be a bit melodramatic every now and then.