Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Zion National Park

Earlier this month (last weekend to be exact) we headed back out to Zion National Park in Utah for a weekend of camping with my family as well as members of my extended family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I say "back out" because I think this was our 3rd time camping there and we've done a number of day trips there too, so we are getting pretty familiar with the park.

This vacation was much MUCH better than our last camping trip, remember this?!

But, for some reason neither Wes or I were really looking forward to going, not for any real reason, it is just a lot of preparation and work with 2 toddlers and the idea just seemed tedious. However, that first night we were laying on our very flat air mattress talking about how happy we were and how we were both glad to be there and our experiences from that day already made it worth it. All we really did that night was sit by the fire and watch the stars through the trees. And don't worry we drove the 45 minutes to the nearest Walmart to get a new air mattress the next day, so the following nights sleeping were much more pleasant. However, did I mention it was the worst Walmart trip EVER!? I had a super migraine, was PMSing, Jovie screamed bloody murder for no reason leaving me in tears in the aisle. Wes found me after a while (he and Peyton took a very long bathroom break, while I sought for the things we needed with demon baby) and he did take over as I tried to compose myself. And once I got my Excedrin migraine pills, and a soda life seemed a little better. Polar Pops make everything a little better, don't you agree?

The rest of our trip was spent playing in the river, taking a few fun walks, one strenuous hike... well at least for a cute 3.5 year old who walked it all herself, as well as ride the park bus around, Wes and I took a nice bike ride after my parents offered to stay at camp with my kids; both of whom had the time of their life becoming filthy in the sand and playing in the nearby ravine with cousins and 2nd cousins. And honestly, while camping with kids is hard and we can't do quite everything we would like, I absolutely love giving my kids these experiences, being outdoors with no worries or plans and they had nothing but fun the entire time we were there. To be fair I didn't even see Peyton the majority of the time as she was out of sight in the small trickle of water next to the campsite with the other kids.

Thanks Zion for making our trip so much fun.

On our way there. 
My kids did AWESOME. We drove there and back in the middle of the day and didn't have 1 tear the entire time. Movies help the elder, and snacks help the younger.
My brother was the official photographer. He took some awesome scenic photos, as well as captured camping with such a large group.
One Happy camper
This gem was captured by a nice lady from Fresno. This little girl had fallen asleep on our walk back from the narrows on Wes' shoulders. We got on the bus and she was the talk of everybody around us. I commented about how sad it was I didn't have a camera and the lady in front of me offered to take a photo and text it to me. I love how kind everyone is camping.
Heidi brought these cute glitter stamp things for all the kids. They loved it and were so careful not to ruin them.
We did our big hike one day called "Hidden Canyon". My uncle and cousins "the mountain men" said it was a pretty easy hike. We had a bunch of kids including 2- 4 year olds, 2- 3 year olds, and a few younger than that. It was not that easy... at least not easy enough to not have tears. I looked up the hike when I got home (link here) and laughed when I read it was strenuous and scary. Yes and yes. My 3 year old doesn't walk to the park on her own, wait, doesn't walk down the driveway on her own, she constantly likes to be held or in the stroller. So the fact she did the ENTIRE thing alone was nothing short of a miracle. I was so super proud. I was also proud of myself for not freaking out during the hike. There were moments when we would hold onto a chain with shear cliffs on the other side. I am such a frady cat of hikes, but did so very well on this day. Even when Peyton slipped at one point and her legs were going straight towards the cliff... I had a mama death grip on her arm so we were okay. Days later at home I have had nightmares about it and little panic attacks that we did it, but was so composed on the actual mountain.
I didn't dare take any photos during the hike, but other braver souls did. So while these photos are of others from our group (cousins, nephews, etc), I think you'll get the picture.... pun intended.
And really besides those "chain" moments the hike was pretty easy and fun, and had it not been for the little girls I would have loved it. See...
...look closely at our group on that ledge there
It led us to this free standing arch, which was pretty cool.
And just a few other fun photos from the rest of the weekend.
The river is always just a small walk away and while it's so cold, we were usually warm enough to enjoy it.
Fires and s'mores around camp.
Which led to "Mega-mallow"
Deers are seen everywhere.
Jovie-girl presiding over breakfast.
She was in heaven... dirt heaven.


Karla K said...

I love all the details and I'm glad I'm not the only one that is having flash backs. It was wonderful to see you all.

Sue Carter said...

Good story!!

Jill Duncan said...

That hike made my stomach do flips! Seriously, I'm going to have nightmares about it too- no joke! so glad you all survived. :)