Over the River and Through the Woods

Author: Haleigh Clemens

In a world full of demanding phone notifications and endless streams of social media, sometimes it can be nice to simply leave the world behind for a weekend. Over Labor Day weekend I decided to do just that with my boyfriend Scotty at my grandparent’s cabin in Zion Panorama, a small cabin community within Kolob.

The cabin was built in 1994 by my parents and grandparents with some help from family friends. My grandparents actually paid my dad to dig the holes the support beams would go into, and he used the money to buy my mom her engagement ring. My first time at the cabin was when I was just two weeks old. Huge kudos to my mom for going to a cabin two weeks after giving birth for the first time.

Growing up, the cabin was a place we went every summer. There’s plenty of space to run around and explore as the cabin sits on ten acres of land. The adults would give us pirate’s treasure maps that they had “found” for us to follow and dig up, and we would exhaust ourselves catching lizards and hunting down snipes. One of my favorite parts about the cabin has always been the swarm of hummingbirds all around the feeders on the deck. If you sit very still with your hand out you can get some of them to land on you and eat.

Even into my college years I would find a week during the summer to spend with my grandparents at the Clemens Hideaway. That’s why this year with my papa’s health starting to turn, I knew I had to bring my boyfriend along to this place that was so important to me growing up.

My boyfriend is absolutely not an outdoorsy kind of guy. He seriously does not enjoy bugs or spiders, and he’s not exactly keen on being anywhere that a cougar or rattle snake could exist simultaneously. Getting him to walk out to my favorite spots around the property was difficult, but we managed it.

The first place we went to was a tree that fell down when I was young, forever covering up one of my Barbies. I don’t know why, but I had a thing for burying my Barbies and recovering them at a later date when I was younger. Maybe I was a squirrel in a past life. I had buried a Barbie one summer expecting to retrieve it the next, but this dumb tree fell on top of the spot. Luckily the tree is pretty fun to climb, so it almost makes up for the loss of the Barbie. We couldn’t climb the tree this time around because I thought I heard a deer “or something” moving in the bushes which to Scotty meant we needed to book it back to the cabin because something was going to eat us.

After a near run-in with Schrodinger’s mountain cat, Scotty wasn’t really up for going somewhere else. But I managed to convince him after getting a snake gun from Grandma and promising that where we were going wasn’t far. After getting turned around a few times and avoiding spider webs we finally made it to what I refer to as the Lighting Tree.

The “Lightning Tree” on the Clemens property. Photo courtesy of Haleigh Clemens

The Lightning Tree is named as such because it’s literally been hit by lighting an insane amount of times. I don’t know why, but storms just decided to pick on that one tree in particular. At this point it’s not much more than a large stick of charcoal stuck into the ground. Besides the tree itself is what the lighting digs up around the tree. There are piles and piles of fossils everywhere, so you can basically go sea-shell hunting in the middle of the forest.

I believe the most fun we had was spent zooming around on my old quad. Nothing beats driving to the top of the mountain and looking out over Zion. It makes me wish that I had the ability to spend more time at the cabin just enjoying the outdoors, away from all the craziness that comes with living in the city.

It was definitely a very memorable Labor Day weekend, and I absolutely recommend getting out of cell phone service for a couple days to those who can. Since if you’re like me, when you get back to civilization your phone blows up with 78 notifications, and real life begins again.