The Color Run= a Day of Fun!

Dubbed the “happiest 5K on the planet” we head to the Color Run in Slat Lake City. Having fun, getting dirty, dancing with the crazy crowd and, oh yeah, exercising too, join them as they party it up with 1000′s of their new friends.


Before the race startedIMG_0901

Once the run is over, the fun isn’t. The party is just getting started. The stage is ready for dancers, more chalk thrown, and good times for at least another hour.



After running, dancing and playing all morning, here’s proof  that it was a fun day!


What was I thinking? The pain & pleasure of our tubing adventure down the Provo River

In theory it sounded like a good idea. What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than to lazily float down the Provo river on a tube? I mean, we’d be in the great outdoors, enjoying the breathtaking mountain scenery, staying cool by the refreshing water, spending quality time with the family.  It sounded like a picture perfect holiday for our family. I booked our reservation, and off we went. Little did I know what I had signed us up for.

The drive through the Provo Canyon is beautiful, there’s even a sighting or two of waterfalls. The Provo River runs alongside the freeway, and the view just added to our excitement of floating down it soon.

Once we checked in and got on our life vests, we were ushered onto a bus that drove us about 6 miles up the road to our launch site.

It was such a hot day that I had intended on dunking myself in the water before getting in the tube so I’d be wet and cool as I was floating, but the current was so strong, and the drop off from the riverbank was too steep, so we had to just jump into our tubes and get going.

Initially it was smooth sailing. Hayden and I held hands so we could stay together. Dino and the girls formed a cluster. However, it didn’t take long to realize that trying to stay together while braving the rapids, or the assault of branches from the overhanging trees, was a navigation nightmare. Some of the currents would take us over towards the banks or sharp rocks, and I couldn’t paddle away with my hands and hold onto Hayden at the same time. We eventually had to let of each other and just try to stay near each other. Over time the differences in our size & weight, and the varying currents we each got caught in, created a wide gap between each of us. Tubing became a solo experience, except for the brief encounters with strangers who passed us by.

Floating solo wouldn’t have been so bad if it was a leisurely experience where I could bask in the sun and drink in the magnificent scenery that was passing me by. Instead, I found myself in a death match with the river. You see, there’s multiple currents in play at any given time. One minute you are effortlessly, joyfully, safely floating down the middle of the rive. Then the river bends, or the current shifts and you are now rapidly being flung towards the river’s edge and within moments you are entangled in shrubs or sharp rocks, even long sharp branches and logs that ominously project from the water. Your only defense is to try to duck ‘n dodge sharp objects, and then find something sturdy enough to push off with your feet and hope you can paddle with your hands and you’ll get back into the middle “lane” of the river. Sometimes that worked, but sometimes the force of the push and the paddling set me on course to repeat the same treachery on the other bank. It became a ping pong match, and I was the ball being tossed from side to side.

This didn’t happen just to me. Hayden fell victim to the same cycle, and so did many other innocent travelers beside us. It felt like a hybrid of those silly, cruel game show contests like “Wipeout” or “Fear Factor”, where you do something dangerous and people watch you and laugh when you fail. I didn’t sign up for this, and there was no prize waiting for me at the end, and I was beginning to think this was a mistake. Even in my frustration I couldn’t complain because this had been my idea- I had organized this day trip and sold my family on it! They were probably going to be giving me an earful as we drove home.

The only people who seemed to be enjoying themselves were people with paddles- the rafters, kayakers, and veteran tuber who brought their own oar to steer with. Oh what I wouldn’t have given for an oar! While they gracefully journeyed down the river, we poor saps were resigned to flailing around with what little bit of our arms that could reach the water. The water was so frigidly cold that we couldn’t keep our hands in for more than a few minutes of time as they turned numb and it was painful. For the most part, the water was shallow, so you can get out at any time, but the current is swift, so if you lose your grip on your tube, it’ll easily keep going down the river without you.

The strain on my neck from holding my head up to see where I was going, and the paddling with my arms in an attempt to stay on course was exhausting. I decided to surrender to the current and just relax for a moment. I rested my head on my lifejacket and silently soaked in the scenery. After an hour on the river, this was the first 5 minutes of tranquility I’d had all day. Of course, I was eventually thrown into another embankment, but it was a glorious 5 minutes!

Mercifully, Avery caught up with me and showed me her trick of sitting up in the tube and paddling/steering with her legs. It was a better method of navigating and my kamikaze occurrences were greatly diminished.

The most spectacular part of the day was when a local rancher guided 5 of his horses to traverse the river right in front of us. He was riding one, and holding a lead rope on another, but the other 3 were free of harnesses, and just followed along behind the others. They splashed through the water and up the other side. Hannah & Avery were so close that they could reach out and touch the foal that was following her mother. That moment was worth the previous agony we’d gone through.

After about 2 hours our journey came to an end, and we hopped off back at our starting point. Our legs were numb from the continuous exposure to the water, and our arms were weak from the paddling, but we managed to drag our tubes up the riverbank and deposit them at base camp.Once out of the water we realized that our arms had suffered sever chaffing along the inside of our elbows and forearms from the constant rubbing of wet skin on rubber when we paddled. The hot, dry air made them sting intensely, and all I could think about what how I now empathize more with babies when their bums get chapped. Where’s diaper rash cream when you need it?

Weary and ready to be done, we snapped a photo to mark the occasion, and we gratefully climbed into our dry, safe car.

Exhausted, we skipped the idea of going to a restaurant and just drove home. The allure of a shower, hydrocortisone cream  and vegging on the couch for the rest of the evening superseded our desire for dining out. Luckily we live in an area where we can stand outside and watch fireworks go off all over the valley, so there was no need to leave our neighborhood to complete our celebration of the 4th of July and our good fortune to have survived the tubing expedition.


After reading about my experience of tubing the Provo River you might be thinking, “No way, will I do that!” Or you might be thinking, “That would be so easy, Shannon is a wuss!”

After having some time to reflect, I can see how it could be more fun now that I know what to expect and can prepare better. In fact, as we were driving home, tired and in pain, I told Dino that we should do it again under these conditions: A) Have an oar to paddle while in the tube- OR- B) Go in a kayak or raft so we are sitting upright and have possession of an oar. His reaction clearly indicated that it won’t be happening anytime soon, but I’m sure he’ll come around eventually.

In the meantime, here’s my tips for how to make your trip more enjoyable:

  1. Make a reservation during weekends and holidays- Luckily I had called ahead the day before because when we arrived they were turning people away as they had rented out all of their tubes for the day.
  2. Bring an oar- Have something to paddle & steer with. It will help you avoid the pain we went through so you can actually focus on the fun of tubing.
  3. Go during heat of the day- The water is very cold! It wasn’t like other rafting trips I’ve been on where you can jump in and out of the boat and swim around in the water. It’s snow run off, and it’s frigid cold. Going during the heat of the day will make it tolerable, versus going early a.m. or late p.m. when the sun is behind the mountains.
  4. Wear water socks- The water is shallow and very rocky. Protect your feet when you get in and out of the water.
  5. Wear sunglasses-  Not only will this help with the blazing sun in your face for 2 hours, but it will be some protection against sharp projectiles should you find yourself headed towards the river banks or low hanging shrubbery that likes to snare unsuspecting tubers.
  6. Don’t attempt w/kids- The water adventure company we used clearly stated that kids under 14 and under 100lbs. should not tube alone. I would definitely adhere to the advice of “Teens & older” rule. If your kids are younger, rent a raft and have a ball- don’t use tubes.

As I wrap up this post, I’m curious to know what your tubing adventures have been like? Have you had similar experiences or is this an odd occurrence?

Do you have tips of how to make it a better experience? Perhaps you know of a river that we’d enjoy for our 2nd tubing attempt?

Please leave your comments below as I love water sports and would like to redeem myself from this experience!

See you at the next stop,


Watt Family Top Travel Adventures- Part 1: Moab Utah

Moab Utah- August 2011

In an effort to document our travels both before the trip, and during it, I’m going to be sharing a series of posts based on our family travels so far, and in no particular order.

Also, I’m testing out a new way to make short videos. {Click on the link and let me know what you think!}

Watts in the World- Moab

Summer break is in full swing starting this week, and I’m sure many of you are thinking about ways to spend your time. I’m scouring the internet myself, looking for adventures that we would like to take.

I have a suggestion for you: Do you want to do something really fun, family friendly, educational and involves being out in nature?

Go to Moab!

The Arches National Park, Zions National Park  and Canyonland are some of the most awe-inspiring places I’ve been.

The red rocks, the unique arch formations, winding canyons and warm weather made this a great weekend for us.

Dino is not a hug lover of camping, hiking, and all things outdoors, so he usually complies out of his abiding love for me and the kids. He’s such a good sport, and has earned many brownie points over the years!

Disclaimer: August is probably not the best month to go. The Utah desert gets very hot, and we had to limit our hiking to the early morning and evening times to avoid full blown melt down from the kids.

The sunsets are a-maz-ing, and if you’re even remotely good with a camera, you’ll get some beautiful photos of some of the prettiest landscape in the U.S.

Note to self: Don’t try to take photos of tired cranky kids in the few minutes you are waiting for the sun to set, or you’ll get caught up in bribing them to smile and miss the sunset entirely!

One way to chose to cool off in from the scorching weather was to go on a 1/2 day river rafting trip. I had been when I was a teenager, but the kids never had. They loved it! Fortunately they are all good swimmers, love the water, and weren’t afraid of the rapids.

 Another tip: If you want higher rapids and a more advanced course, go earlier in the summer or late spring. The water is colder, but the rapids are bigger and faster because of the spring snow melt off.

In August the rapids were lower and slower, but the water was warm enough that the kids could jump out and swim/float along with the boats in between the rapids.

If you have young ones, or are nervous in water, go later in the season.


 Besides the large rafts that had a professional guide and the group paddled together, we had the option to travel in a 2 man kayak as well. There were only a few of them, and you had to paddle power it yourself, but they were a fun alternative as well.

One of the best parts of traveling is watching my kids make friends and adapt quickly in just about any situation.

We were initially grouped in a boat with only adults and my 3 kids. The other boat had all the families with teenagers.
Did that stop my girls? No way.
Within 30 minutes of getting their bearings, they jumped out of our boat, swam over to the “kid boat”, introduced themselves and asked if they could climb aboard.
Soon the older teens were showing my girls how to jump off the edge of the boat, do a flip, and land in the water. They were ecstatic!  They jumped, flipped, swam over, climbed back  in, and did it again. They repeated this cycle for at least an hour. They were in heaven.

It was a proud mama moment- watching my kids be outgoing, social, and take the initiative to solve their own problems.

They spent the rest of the day creating an instantaneous friendship with the other family. When we pulled out of the water for a lunch break was pretty much the only time we spent as a whole family. And surprisingly, I was ok with our “family quality time” being hijacked by an organic display of independence. They seized the moment. Spread their wings. And I was giddy just watching it all unfold.

That’s what I love about traveling- exposing my kids to new people, new experiences, and opportunities to grow and stretch themselves.





  Our weekend was full of gorgeous natural wonders of the earth, and educational opportunities.
It was full of fun and exercise and family memory making.
 But for me, this trip will hold a place in my heart for a different reason.

For me as a mother, this was the peek of what’s ahead. The beginning of my girls becoming women- independent, strong, courageous ladies who will go out and take on the world. And win.